MASERU – Hip hop dance, like many other types of dances, is a form of creative expression that people have been practicing for a long time.
It is a style of dance that has emerged out of hip hop culture and is usually danced to hip hop or rap music. Founder of a hip hop dance crew called ‘Vain Glorious’, Joseph ’Mabathoane, popularly known by his stage name Piddy says there is more to hip hop dance than just being a form of entertainment.
He says the dance has the ability to portray a message or tell a story because it has the elements of drama and action.
Vain Glorious,(VG) was established in September 2009 so in September this year the dance crew will mark its 10th year anniversary.
Piddy indicates that the establishment of the crew was inspired by his love for martial arts which he recognised have a lot in common with hip hop dance, especially krump.
He says he would then watch underdog dancers such as Chris Brown and Michael Jackson who further pumped his love for the dance.
The crew started out with just three members: Lebina ‘Black Verser’ Ts’osane, Nthabeleng ‘Tinnky’ Makhakhe and Matsoso ‘Rizzo Reece’ Molahli.
As time elapsed, the crew recruited 10 other members namely: Realeboha ‘Reey Kingston’ Letlala, Nkalimeng ‘Arcadino’ Rathulo, Rethabile ‘Innocent Emjay’ Mojakisane, Reatile ‘Griselda’ Pheko, Lefa ‘Young Jouck’ Makhetha, Nyalleng ‘Vicky’ Monaheng, Teboho ‘Razzer’ Monaleli, Relebohile ‘Truffle’ Manare, Mohlomi ‘Niblo’ Masilo, Rorisang ‘Queen Twerk’ Molleloa and Dlamini ‘Ckhanndy Boi’ Nkoe making it a total of 13 members today, five females and eight males.
The crew basically focuses on hip hop street dance composed of krump, pop lock, break dance, tatting and popping; all inspired by role models: Krump Kingz, Michael Jackson, Usher, Popping John, Beast Camp Battles, Chris Brown, World of Dance Competitions and others.
Piddy further says he wants people to do away with the mentality that hip hop, be it dance or music is for bad-minded people or those with a bad behaviour or attitudes. He says that might have been the case back in the days.
“Back then hip hop was a battle, basically the survival of the fittest. It was about who is better than who, and who is selling better than you. For example, back then a dancer would stab another for merely doing a dance move better. I can assure people that that is no longer the case. Today if I see a fellow dancer perfecting a dance move I struggle to perfect, I just approach him for lessons so I could be better at it also and without shaming me, he would agree to help,” Piddy says.
One other thing, according to Piddy that most people do not know about hip hop dance is that it has the capacity to generate income instead of just being a youth entertainment dance that most people make it out to be. He explains that one common way that the dance is able to generate money is through dance competitions.
According to Piddy, there is nothing more capable of destroying a crew than internal affairs.
He therefore says a group that cannot solve its internal matters is as good as dead as chances are those that are external will destroy them.
He points out that hip hop is a modern dance therefore making it familiar to certain Basotho individuals is a bit of a struggle and that itself poses a big challenge as far as its growth is concerned.
Piddy indicates other entetainement genres have so many individual dancers and groups that it is hard to keep track of any.
Fortunately, he says, that is not the case with hip hop dance noting therefore there is still a lot of work to be done.
One of the crew’s aim is therefore to popularise it as they believe there are many African or Basotho elements that they can incorporate in the dance that many Basotho can relate to.
One of the ‘biggest’ projects that the crew pushes is the Full In whose main aim is to promote the crew while also advocating for issues affecting Basotho.
The crew’s founder says the Full In project that they are currently working on is called “Basotho Liberation” inspired by the resent youth-led march dubbed ‘Bacha shutdown’.
What they do is they shoot a dance video, upload it on various social media platforms or sell it for the world to see.
The crew is also working on releasing a video that features only three of its ladies called Hurricane Space Bound and will be produced by Carbon Casca.
The crew has had the privilege of being approached by artiste Lerumo la Koebo to feature him in his music video.
Piddy says although that never materialised due to technical errors, they are proud that the approach was made as that can only mean their hard work does not go unnoticed.
They have also performed at shows such as Miss Limkokwing, and Lesotho Fashion Week.
They have entered competitions like the Vodacom Super Star 2012 and managed to be in the Top 10.
The crew also won a gold medal at a SADC competition that was called Born to Move in 2012 with competititors from countries Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho.
The crew is also proud that it is the only dance crew that managed to register for the upcoming Lesotho Hip hop festival whose aim is to unite all hip hop fanatics in the country.
Their vision is to have a foundation whose purpose will be to help the less privileged in Lesotho.
Their dream is to own a dance studio.