Most art forms were created not knowing if they were going to pass the time test, it relied on one stubborn person who believed and was willing to keep pushing no matter what.Michelle, founder of Singapore Krumping community, Roar City Grounds.
Krumping traces its roots back to 1992 when Thomas Johnson formed a group of dancers who engaged in a style of ‘clowning dance’. Krumping was then an evolution of clowning by two dancers: Ceasare “Tight Eyez” Willis, and Jo’Artis “Big Mijo” Ratti during the early 2000s and was a means for the African-American community to escape gang life and express raw emotions in a powerful but non-violent way.
What started as a subculture and style of dance in California quickly became a cultural zeitgeist of the 2000s and a global community today. We had a chat with Michelle on the Krumping scene in Singapore and what can be done to publicise more niche forms of art to local audiences.
Popspoken: What are the challenges behind introducing and growing a niche art form like Krumping?
Michelle: A lot of my students only started really liking the art form when they stayed and hung around this art form for a longer period of time (more than 1 year.) My challenge is always getting them to stay after they realise how different krump is. Most students are afraid to start krump because of its aggressive nature but upon realising that not all power equates to violence and aggression, many remain afraid to stay or tap into their power, thinking they are not powerful enough or are not “power” driven.
Michelle shares that the process of introducing subcultures and niche art forms is through three steps: awareness of existence, building understanding and appreciation and expanding to the masses and retention of practitioners. To further educate Singaporeans, she proposes creating more opportunities for conversations and interactions, education in schools and community spaces as well as tapping on offline and online opportunities for cross collaborations.
Popspoken: What more do you think can be done to educate locals on niche genres of art?
Michelle: It is important to teach Singapore to understand that art is not just about looking or feeling cool. Art is a big umbrella and it is not restricted to just dancing. Every art form has a process, an intention and meaning. When you can transform these into something beautiful it becomes an “Art”.
Popspoken: What are some life lessons you have learnt from Krumping?
Michelle: The greatest life lesson I’ve learnt is having self-belief, knowing and believing in the amount of power and strength I possess as an individual. Once you know and believe how much you have and can be, it doesn’t matter if you lost a battle today or tomorrow, because with that self-belief, no one is going to stop you.
Popspoken: How do you think Singapore can create a culture where unique new forms of arts can be cultivated in our society?
Michelle: We need to learn how to explore, embrace mistakes and not view “time wasted” as something bad. We also need to build more resilience in our minds and create stronger self belief. We must have the courage to stop doing what people want and start doing what we want, even if it doesn’t make sense in the short run.
Here are some tips from Michelle for dancers interested in trying out krumping or dance:
- Don’t be shy to approach or talk to people
- Don’t let being alone scare you
The Krumping community is a small but growing community in Singapore. Whilst the dance genre is known for its energy, sharp movements, expressive character and aggressive presentation, it can still be misunderstood.
Interested in trying Krumping? Join Roar City Grounds at comma, as part of a dance interest groups showcase organised by *SCAPE.
From 16 December 2022 to 15 January 2023, join free exhibitions and workshops. Other dance interest groups involved include Lion City Lockers and K-Pop Dance Off who will have a dance performance showcase ‘K-Pop All In 2022: Reunion’ on 17 December 2022 (Saturday) from 2pm-10pm at *SCAPE Atrium.
Details of all dance interest groups showcase can be found here.
This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with *SCAPE and reflects my personal opinion on the information provided.