Local street dancers break a leg with international stars

B-boys Lilou and Pelezinho teach Isloo-ites how to groove.

B-boys Lilou and Pelezinho teach Isloo-ites how to groove. DESIGN: ABEERA KHAN / FAHAD NAVEED


Balancing on his head while twisting his body ruthlessly, was Ali Ramdani aka Lilou and a couple of steps away, was Alex José Gomes Eduardo aka Pelezinho, pulling off some other electrifying moves. Their energetic performances left their fans completely mesmerised at an event held by Redbull at the Kuch Khaas hall in Islamabad on June 26. There were around 25 B-boys — hip-hop, street dancers — who showed off their dance skills in front of two of the world’s best B-boys, Lilou and Pelezinho.

Lilou and Pelezinho, who have been part of the Red Bull BC One — the world’s most important one-on-one B-boy battle — are here to explore the local B-boying scene and share their knowledge about dance and hip-hop culture. From hardcore power moves to intricate footwork, together they showcased the art of B-boying.

“I could not sleep the whole night in excitement that I will not only see Lilou, but I will also get trained by him,” said 19-year-old Tayyab Iqbal Malik, who likes to be called by his B-Boy name Tim. “The first video that I ever watched on YouTube was of Lilou; and it’s unbelievable that today, he is in front of me. This is a dream come true for many young dancers in Pakistan. His experience as a dancer is as old as I am.”

Twenty-one-year-old Awais Shahid, who is training to become a pilot, said that although the style of dancing clashes with his profession, he is willing to take the risk of breaking a leg or two for his passion.

With no professional trainers available or dance classes being offered anywhere in Islamabad, like Shahid many other young inspiring dancers turned up at the workshop. They said that they had learnt B-boying from the internet.

Lilou said that the kids in Islamabad had great potential, if trained well by professionals. “We pushed them at times, we were rude to them too, but that’s only because we know they have the skill — a push is all they need,” said Lilou, adding that they still needed to learn the basics and practice more on footwork and power moves.

The three and a half hour long workshop was good enough for the newbies to understand the particular art of dancing better. Shahid said that the basics taught were extremely useful. “We need such things in Islamabad. It is a slow growing trend and it will take a few years of practice for it to develop fully,” he said.

Lilou, with his Algerian roots, strives to be a well-rounded B-boy, mixing everything together and creating his own personal moves. His signature move is a variation of the air-chair. He is known for his classic footwork and power moves but is famous for ‘threading’ where he creates the illusion of weaving his limbs through other limbs.

With a black belt in Kung Fu, that he earned at the age of 16, Lilou said when it comes to battle strategies — it’s like a war. “It’s a battle between two different schools of dance, like in Kung Fu movies.”

Among the many items that Lilou wears to express his individuality when battling, he sometimes wears a t-shirt that says “I’m Muslim, Don’t Panic” written on it. He also likes to wear a keffiyeh to express solidarity with his brothers and sisters who are facing great adversity. Lilou recognises that there are wars around the world for territory and money, but his battles are on the dance floor.

“I was very excited to come to Pakistan, irrespective of how the media portrays the country,” said Lilou. “It is one of the most original countries I have visited in my life.”

Alex José Gomes Eduardo also known as Pelezinho or Pele from Brazil is the master of acrobatics, powerful moves and flips. His style includes elements of capoeira and samba. He shows the Brazilian “ginga” — an almost indefinable, mystical quality of movement and attitude possessed only by Brazilians through a creative and powerful style. It’s the way they walk, talk, dance and approach everything in their lives. His style has a big variety of moves and he tries to stay unpredictable. He surprises the audience with great combinations and suicidal moves.

“My friends in Brazil raised their eyebrows when I said I was going to Pakistan, but I cannot wait to go back and share our experience with them,” said Pelezinho.

Lilou and Pelezinho are headed to Lahore on June 28 and Karachi on June 30.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.

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Thor | 10 years ago | Reply

ET stop discrimination

Naseer Muhammad | 10 years ago | Reply

Welcome to Pakistan, God bless you

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