Wednesday, 30 May 2012

True Blue Market at Urban Connection Festival, Dansens Hus

Our posting has been too lazy lately, but we gonna catch up!

We performed True Blue Market got a chance to perform at Urban Connection Festival at Dansens Hus, Stockholm 10th of May. And at the big stage, thats something! For those who don't know, True Blue Market is our contemporary dance mixed with street dance piece that we worked on for two and half weeks last summer with choreographers Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang. And performed it at the Kiasma URB Festival last August. Here's the trailer:

We arrived to Stockholm on Tuesday, we had a taxi driver waiting for us at the arrivals hall (something that I hadn't experienced before!) and he drove us to Stockholm to our hotel. Btw hotel accommodation is nice for a change.

We had Tuesday and Wednesday to warm up the piece and do some corrections. We worked intensively and got everything fixed. At the evening I was dead tired! Did some stretching and had a bath at the hotel, some luxury but it really wastes water! I shared the room with lovely Karoliina and had some nice conversations. When I woke up in the morning, my body felt like I had been hit by 4 trucks. Thanks to Sebastiens light warm ups (need a warm up for those warm ups LOL) and the extra terrible allergy season. We ate so much sushi with Karoliina during those 3 days. YUMMY!!

On Thursday I did some shopping a before the evenings performance at Beyond Retro, a second hand / vintage store. You can imagine how I flipped out when I got inside the store. I managed to stay calm, and only bought one navajo pattern shirt and a multi color scarf + a t-shirt as a souvenir.

I was so excited and a bit nervous before the performance. We only performed the show twice before at Helsinki, and that was 9 months ago. And I still feel quite naked on stage barefoot in a contemporary dance costume. But thats all part of the excitement and freedom of getting out of the box. The show went great and I felt that the five of us were there together. After the show our light master Jani-Matti came to me in a hype. He felt that he was really connected with us during the performance, that the lights found their places almost like themselves. I got a lot of good feedback after the show. Was so nice to Martha's comment right after the show. Felt so good to hear that I had inspired her with my dance and presence. Also Niki's, Yared's, Fredrick's and many others feedback warmed my heart even more. So nice to hear such good feedback from dancers that I highly respect and admire, and who have gave me so much inspiration. And we got to make our mark on the wall of the backs stage at Dancens Hus!

 “Then after the show is the afterparty and after the party is the hotel lobby” So after the show we had some vine, chatting and salsa dance at the Dances Hus cantinen. The artistic director of the Urban Connection, Virve Sutinen, gave a small speech and shed light on her own history within these scenes. Did you know that she is the founder of Kiasma URB festival.

So I “learned” to dance salsa. Ahh it’s such a fun dance, and extra fun when the guy is really leading. Anniina, Karoliina and Jani-Matti headed to the hotel. Me and Aksinja were supposed to as well, but somehow we didn’t and went to continue with Party-Ima and a few Swedish bboys. We went to the club called.. Can't remember but it started with an S.. Whoa what an Onnela, with loads of different rooms and Onnela folks. But in this one room they just happened to play my favorite music, all the great hip hop and R’n’B hits from the right era. R.Kelly - Ignition, Brandy, SWV, etc etc. And when Wiz Chalifas Black and Yellow came, Ima and I were just pointing on each other the whole chorus, and all the choruses. Don’t remember when I had been in a club for the last time, but I had a crazy good time.

After the club we hit the nearest McDonalds, after that took a nice early morning stroll to the hotel to back our bags and straight to the hotel buffet breakfast before the taxi picked us to the air port. Yep, so no sleep for me. Nice flight back to Helsinki and buss 615 back to reality. When I got home the day had felt like I had been wake for 3 days, so many nice memories and different locations. I took a few hour nap and then headed to Ben Wicherts hip hop workshop at Saiffa. Huh and the day just kept going on and on. Finally when I got to bed at 11 pm I was so dead tired to even fall asleep. So I was still wake like 2am..

Smiling with Honji & Sebastien!

Thanks Karoliina, Aksinja, Ima, Anniina, Honji, Sebastien, Dirk and Jamppa for the great experience and lovely company! Till next time!

Azealia Banks - Van Vogue

This girl is hot!

The World Battle Switzerland, Oh wait, there was no event..

Day 1

We headed to Switzerland, Lausanne after 2 hours of sleep still really excited on taking part of The World Battle as the Finland team. The flight went well, and the staff picked us from the airport. We came with the same ride with Bionic Man who was really nice. The car trip got us really excited, incredible landscape with the mountains, sea, the warm air, sun and the scent of Europe. The staff personnel seemed really helpful and nice to us. We drove to Vevey (a smaller town near Lausanne) and dropped Bionic Man to his hotel and met Mona, who was organizing the event with popper Sally Sly. Mona who gave us a warm welcome. In Vevey we run into Poland team and a young staff guy was supposed to take us to our hostel that was 5min walk from the Vevey station.

We followed the young guy down to a bomb shelter. As we were getting deeper and deeper we thought we're going to pick a car from there or something.. Then we got into this waiting hall where we met a dancer from Hong Kong sitting in cold with a big blanket. We found out that this bunker is our sleeping place, our "hostel". We thought it was a joke. We (and all the other teams) were supposed to sleep in the bunk beds in 14 degrees. And like everyone squeezed in 2 rooms. There was water on the floor, water from the shower was yellow, no windows, no oxygen. Doors were open all day and night so there was no feeling of security. We talked with the Hong Kong dancer who said they have slept there for one night already. We took blankets and he recommended us to take 2 blankets each, cause it gets cold as hell at night!

Poland team was as confused as us and they called to organizer Sally Sly and Mona and presented the case really politely and asked Sally Sly to come at the bunker and fix the situation. Sally promised to be there at 6pm (after 4 hours). The thing is, no one was expecting for a 5 star hotel or anything luxurious. But if they talk about a hostel, we are expecting one. Didn't see the word bunker in any of those e-mails.. It would have been ok if they had beforehand said that the accommodation is a classroom etc. So we would have been prepared and had the choice to come up with something else.. But anyways we decided to enjoy our lives and the beautiful weather while waiting for him and headed to the sunny beach.

At 6pm us, Poland team and Hong Kong team waited outside the bunker with our luggage but no-one came. We waited 1,5 hours and then K got idea to call his cousin, who lives in Lausanne, if we could stay there. We managed to get his Swiss number and called him. Unfortunately he was in Namibia and we had no key to the apartment, but he promised to help us anyway. We decided to try our luck and took a train to Lausanne and then a taxi to the address K's cousin gave us.

We knocked the neighbors door who was caretaker of the house. The woman who opened the door spoke "only" Spanish, Portuguese and French, so we were kinda in trouble since no-one of us spoke a word of those. K called to his cousin to Namibia again and gave the phone to the caretaker lady. The woman sounded really angry and we started to feel desperate about the sleeping place. Finally the lady understood the situation and let us into the apartment. HUH,  WE WERE SO HAPPY AND FELT REALLY LUCKY! But at the same time we were concerned about the other dancers who we left to Vevey.

So we made our selves like home, went for a nice evening stroll at the beautiful streets of Lausanne and grabbed some Indian food.

Day 2

We were told that the event starts at 1pm so we were downstairs at 12pm waiting for someone to pick us up like we had agreed. We called to Mona and asked what's up? She told that they were building the event now and the event will start at 3pm. At 3.15 two nice staff girls came to pick us to the venue. It was really nice place, a skate park, sun was shining and lot of dancers were at the spot. Schedule was REALLY late and we started to hang out with other dancers and discuss about the bad organization of the event with Germany, British dancers etc. Along with the "hostel" we were promised to have breakfast and lunch = bread. Others got some pasta with sausage, but K don't eat meat so she had to eat just bread.

Judges came at 5pm and all the time the staff was saying the event will start soon with house and popping qualifications, but nothing was happening, except some krump started. The host spoke only French so we really didn't understand a thing. Suddenly they informed that battles will start NOW with Female Hip Hop. M was at the toilet when she heard her name, and she was the first one to dance, K was second. So it was like run and dance situation cause we thought hiphop was supposed to be the last category. After hip hop we waited more and more and no-one knew what category is next and what time it will start. We took some sun, hang out and tried to dance a bit. But no-one really seemed to be in a mood for cyphering.

They eventually got house preselection started and it was really confusing as well cause no one spoke english, just French. Linda was first to attend. Jeniwai entered popping. The day ended with popping at 11pm and we couldn't get any food cause stores were closed so we went to sleep feeling hungry. Lucky that we got the apartment, because after the event rest of the dancers, judges and guests just stood there waiting for a sleeping solution, food, ride to somewhere..

Day 3

They told the jam will start at 11am at the Vevey but we already knew that it will start late so we didn't hurry. We bought breakfast and took our time to get to Vevey enjoying the sun. We arrived 1.30 pm to the event venue where nothing was happening. Over 100 dancers were just chilling outside and wondering what will happen. We found a small spot at the park outside and conquered it for sunbathing. We were chilling while other dancers started to feel more and more restless.

After 3 hours of waiting judges arrived and dancers (especially French dancers, who kept a vote with Kanon) considered seriously to boycott the event and not dance. Some dancers had slept outside at the park, some at the bunker. I even heard that some dancers were booked a hostel in Germany, so at 4am the were droven to Germany, slept 2 hours and then drove back. Step by step dancers and judges found out also that there was no prize money for winners, no money for judges. And all this time of waiting where was Sally Sly!?!

Almost every team decide to boycott the event and wait for Sally. The situation didn't changed to anywhere so we girls decided to get cold ciders from the store to cheer up the atmosphere. When we came back we waited again for hour or two and after that Kite, Gucchon, Slim Boogie etc. made a small popping cypher inside the venue place (It was open cypher for all the poppers). The cypher battle Kite vs Slim Boogie was just something I hadn't seen in a while! That was the most inspiring moment at the whole "event". Suddenly some dancer/assistant took microphone and announced that the event (which never even started) is over. Thank you!

So sad, I had looked forward for seeing especially the Female Hip Hop battle dancers like Comfort and Ladia Yates from USA. And of course for the the crew battle. Also felt sorry for the audience who had paid the entrance fee. During the "event" Naim (House dancer from France) said it well. When the hosts did their best to keep the "event" going, meaning even something happening, they tried to get the dancers on the floor. And motivate the dancers by remembering that it wasn't the audience to pay for all this.. Then Naim (House dancer from France) took the mic and said it well: "I speak on behalf of the dancers I dance with the heart, and I'm really sorry, but we can not dance with the heart with what happened "

Little by little dancers left the building and noticed that Sally Sly was standing outside. In a minute a HUGE NUMBER of dancers gathered around him wanting an explanation. Of course in French so we didn't understand a word! Sally headed inside to talk in the mic and everyone went back inside hear what he had to say. But he barely got time to speak cause everybody was really mad. Especially the French people harass him into a corner, even the other countries have been treated really unfairly as well. Everybody wanted their money back. While French people and Sally were arguing in French other dancers where waiting their turn which never came. In one word: Sally said " I have no money so beat me up" and so it nearly happened.

Later I heard that Sally had tried to put some blame on the French (Ghetto Style), that they also were part of the organizers. Because they had organized a buss ride from France. LOL. Guess that's why the french people were so mad. I also heard that one of the USA dancers had her flight back to the states on 28th of June, in stead of 28th of may. So 1 extra month of Switzerland for her I guess. Also Yugson, Bruce Ykanji etc. were supposed to be at the event, but guess Sally didn't have credit when he booked those tickets. Also one member of the USA team wasn't there for the same reason, and he/she had specially flown to L.A from Philadelphia for this. Mr. Wiggles was in Switzerland for the whole weekend but apparently too pissed out, coz didn't see him at the venue at all. And this goes on and on...

Sally Sly in the middle part 1.

Sally Sly in the middle part 2.

Suddenly police came and dancers moved outside again to wait more. After a while we started to get tired and hungry and decided to leave and go eat. We ate with the Hong Kong dancers and just chilled there a while.

Day 4

our flight back home was on the evening so we had a few hours to Chase The Sun at Geneva. Check the gipsy campground.

The flight attendant (male) commented on our clothes. "Lovely that you are so colorful, like from Brazil!"

Then we got happily back home to Finland +14 degrees and rain. After all we had a great trip, yeah we gonna laugh to all this next year, and our grand children can read the story from our blog. Love you Linda and Jeniwai!!! Thanks for laughing my ass of, and all those fertile conversations and all those dozen sun bathing moments. Also thanks to team Poland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Germany, UK, USA! Was a pleasure to meet you all. Next time!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

bElles Tour 2012 Porvoo

bElles Tour Porvoo was organized together with Taidetehtaan Tanssikoulu. The venue was a big hall in Taidetehdas. It was nice to come there, cause we felt that they had put a lot of effort into it and had organized things really nice. The lights, sound was really good in Taidetehdas. Only minus was that the floor was really dusty and the hall was little too big, but it didn't matter cause the atmosphere was great! Dancers put a cypher on from the first minute and danced all the breaks as well. Especially the sets in the cypher were dope! It's nice to see that people have understood the idea of the freestyling. If they keep up the good work, we will hear a lot from these dancers in the future.

We had 16 participants in hiphop 1vs1 category which was really nice! Battles were good and the final was Sandra against Vilma. Congrats to Vilma for winning! Everybody did really great and it was nice also to see the girls Pauliina and Rosa who came from Helsinki to support the event!

Video from the final and more photos coming soon...

Semifinal: Vilma vs. Laura

Semifinal: Sandra vs. Heidi

Watch the preselections and all the other battles from:

In showcase category we had seven very different performances. Winner was the group called P-Ink aka Sandra, Heidi, Vilma, Rebecka, Sara. They did waacking performance with the pink panther theme. They had made the choreography themselves, really love how they put emotion on it!

Watch all the performances:

Hiphop winner Vilma

Showcase winner crew P-Ink

Thank you SADE ry Antti for great hosting (once again), Jenny, bElles team, Clap Dance dj's Kimbo Man and Nick K, Kai Kuusisto, Taidetehtaan Tanssikoulu, Marleena and all the dancers and audience who came to support! Until next time!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Gracias x JTT - Night Shift

Beautiful song, beautiful video!

Babypink Blazers

K's brand new Nike blazers, from bElles of course!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

bElles Tour 2012 Tampere 21.4.2012

bElles Tour Tampere took place at Tanssistudio Razzmatazz. We are originally from Tampere so we've been waiting for this event a lot! It was quite a challenge to keep on track if there would be people joining the hiphop battle and showcases, cause we don't know how the scene is there nowadays. But the event worked out very well. Razzmatazz Dance Studios has their cozy premises at Siperia, in the center of Tampere. The studio was a comfortable event venue, and with some spotlights gave more jamming feeling. The atmosphere was really warm and intimate.

We organized a short hiphop/party dance workshop in the beginning. Was nice to do the workshop while our tour dj's Nick K and Kimbo Man played hot tunes, so we didn't have to play with our iPods. A real party dance vibe. Was a good idea to keep the class in the beginning, to break the ice and get everyone on the dance mood. Was so nice to see how the students kept the dance vibe continuing after the workshop. Everyone was jamming and a few had to courage to hit the cypher as well.

We had to convince dancers a bit at first but we got 15 people to join the hip hop battle. That's more than enough! Congrats to Emma for the battle won. Was nice to see her dancing after a break. Hopefully this and the final spot at the Belles Tour Finals at Lasipalatsi will give her some practice inspiration!

The students from Razzmatazz Studio entertained us with some showcases. Twin sisters Heini and Jenni did their well trained hip hop duo. I really enjoyed to see their enthusiasm through the jam. I felt that they really enjoyed themselves and dancing. They both have a really good attitude towards things, was nice to see how they over did themselves, entered the battle and one of them (sorry but don't know her name, because they look so alike) even went to the cypher by her own will and took her sister with her. Meaning that none of us had to force her.

Razzmatazz dance studios disco students performed their disco small group routine. That was well trained as well. I almost got out of breath while watching that high tempo moving! Sisters Niina and Aino had prepared a bgirl showcase. So nice that they are into bgirling, not too many bgirls in this country. I find them both so genuine. They are comfortable in their own as they are, what they are doing and where their skills are at this point. And that is enough. I hope that they keep on going, because with that mentality they will go far.

Check out also Viveka's blogpost and pictures about the event:
Thank you Viveka for coming to support and photographing! Nice blog!

Thanks to our wonderful crew Mc Antti, Jeniwai, Sumakindi, Katariina, Nicholas and Kimi. Thanks for all the beautiful dancers who came to share and enjoy! And thanks to Dance Studio Razzmatazz for the help and that we could use your studio. Hopefully see you guys at the finals at Lasipalatsi 9th of June 2012.

Here's the hip hop battle final. Check out all the videos from the event:

M & K's judge showcase

Sumi, Jeniwai, hiphop winner Emma, M and K

Showcase winners Aino & Niina

We have to point out one thing that we were very disappointed about. Our friend had hip hop and house classes at Hip Hop House dance studios the same day that we had the Belles Tour in Tampere. She had suggested to Hip Hop House studio, If she could go could together with the students to the bElles Tour Jam after her workshops. But they strictly said NO, that it's NOT OK, that it was prohibited to inform the Hip Hop House Studios students about the event. Apparently because the event took place at Dance Studio Razzmatazz premises, which is a rival studio for them. Our friend tried to explain, that the event was organized by ladies sneaker store bElles, not by the rival dance studio. It just happens to be organized in their premises. We were so shocked to hear that this stuff is still really going on!

It would have been more than convenient to hit a jam after the workshop, so that the students would have got a chance to try the material in "real life" and experience the cultural and communal aspect of street dance. Why dance schools and teachers are banning their students from learning, experiencing, evolving and meeting new people? We really hope that students wouldn't hang on too much with what their teachers say but start to question things more. And that applies to everything, even if a pioneer or anybody said anything, keep your mind open and common sense alert.

Our meaning is not to badmouth one school but to bring this common problem out because I have heard that that this stuff happens in other cities too. For example i have heard that some teachers have said to their students not to take other teachers classes. Just wonder how the teachers are going to prevent their students of seeing any other dancers, choreographers, performances for example at the Street SM 2012?!

We are so sad that this is still going on in Tampere, we would have thought that something had changed since we moved out. And we're not sad for us and the event, because it was really successful, but so for the students. When we got the opportunity arrange the tour, Tampere was first on our minds. We wanted to throw a jam, something that we missed when living there. And knowing that there are a few schools that have a lot of street dance classes and students, we thought that the time would finally be right. But people have to really WAKE UP!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

True Blue Market at Dansens Hus

M is performing True Blue Market tomorrow at Urban Connection festival at Dansens Hus, Stockholm. Exciting! Check the trailer of our piece.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

bElles Tour 2012 Järvenpää videos

Here are some of the videos from bElles Tour Järvenpää. Check all the preselections, judge showcases, other showcases from bElles youtube account:

Hiphop 1vs1 final Anna vs. Ninni (winner)
Showcase winner: Scratch hiphop
 Hiphop 1vs1 semifinal Aurora vs. Ninni (winner)
 Hiphop 1vs1 semifinal Emma vs. Anna (winner)
Hiphop 1vs1 quarterfinal Aurora (winner) vs. Prisca
Hiphop 1vs1 quarterfinal Anna (winner) vs. Ellen
 Hiphop 1vs1 quarterfinal Aurelia vs. Emma (winner)
 Hiphop 1vs1 quarterfinal Rosalia vs. Ninni (winner)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

May Day

We had a celebration with some sweet treats. Jeniwai did a lot of donuts. M was the sugar master.