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"Bboy Thug" Gives Us A Glimpse Into The World Of Break Dancing In Saudi Arabia (English)

Ali Yasser Salah El Deen AKA "Bboy Thug" is a Saudi Arabian Break Dancer and Hip Hop Connoisseur born in Jeddah and Living In Riyadh. He is a member of the (CID) (International Dance Council) and a member of the dance crew "One Heart". He started dancing in 2003, his nickname in the break dancing scene is "Thug" . He traveled to many different places to preform and spread the word about the movement of break dance and hip hop that is taking place in Saudi Arabia. He was also rapping from 2006 to 2010, even though he stopped, him and his crew that was founded 2005 continue to compete on the nation and world wide stage.





What Made Get Into Break Dancing?


The many movies I watched as a kid and underground gatherings happening in the neighborhoods, attracted me to it and made me want to be a part of it.


How Did Saudi Society React To You, Did They Support Or Hinder You?


In the beginning, unfortunately, society wasn't supportive, and criticized us a lot. Support was there but it was very little. After 2010 however, as break dance culture got more popular in the country, more and more support started coming and the light on the culture became less negative and more positive. However, we do not receive the kind of support that we want and need, all dancers are supporting themselves financially and setting up events and competitions themselves. But we are thankful, because it is going in the direction that we want. Demand is going up and our hopes are high, Hip Hop will be the number 1 art form in Saudi Arabia!





Tell Us About Break Dance In Saudi Arabia


Break Dance entered Saudi Arabia during the 90's, it was the first element of Hip Hop to reach Saudi. It started in the neighborhoods of Jeddah, then it spread to Makkah, Medina, Riyadh and Dammam. Gatherings and competitions started taking place every weekend in these cities, after 2010, the gatherings became much less and many dancers stopped dancing,however the culture is becoming strong again as it is starting to get more popular and more commercial.



Give Us Detail About Those First Gatherings And Events That Took Place


Before 2006, there were many events, however the culture wasn't very strong and dancers weren't very aware of the culture. Meaning, many dancer were just dancing without knowing the steps, basis and names of the dances which is normal because at that time, we did not have social media to be able to learn from professional dancers overseas. There were many names in the scene, some left and some are still here, however they all left a stamp in the scene (Wont mention the names in order to make sure i don't leave anybody out). The first official Break Dance championship happened in 2007 in partnership with Red Bull. 5 years later with the support of Red Bull, Saudi Arabia participated in The Middle East Break Dance Championship, "Bboy Lazy' represented us and won the championship.




Where Do You See Yourself In 5-10 Years?


I see myself participating and winning international competitions. Have a lot of media coverage, and have my name marked in Break Dance and Hip Hop history. I also see myself doing many workshops on break dancing and spread and strengthen the culture. I already started doing such things. I did a booth in collaboration with The Saudi Arabian Sports Authority, to raise awareness about Hip Hop and Break Dancing, to make sure people really understand what the culture is about and leave the stereotypes they have. Many people attended and supported, Graffiti artists, famous rappers, singers and government officials as well. I plan to make a lot more event like this in the future, that is how we will push our culture forward.





In Your Opinion, What Are The Required Steps That Need To Be Taken In Order To Push Hip Hop forward in Saudi Arabia?


Hip Hop or any other "alternative culture" for that matter, wont move forward and evolve in the country until us, members of the culture and movement evolve and push our selves forward. We must work to spread awareness about our movement with all of it's elements (Graffiti,DJ,MC,Rapping,etc...). We must correct our mistakes and eliminate the negative stereotypes that the masses associate with hip hop because of mainstream media. There are many ways to do that, me and my crew started doing that by organizing live shows all across the country. The booth that I mentioned earlier had good results and we need more of it. There also has to be a lot of collaborations, all dancers,rappers,Dj's and Graffiti artists must come together and create content that will go viral and spread the culture.





Being The People That Are Pushing Hip Hop Culture In Saudi Arabia, Are You Mixing Elements From Saudi Culture With Hip Hop?


Hip Hop is definitely a culture that you can mix and mash up with other cultures and we have done so. We would dance to Arabic an Saudi songs, as well as incorporate Arabic instruments such as Oud and Arabic Drums to the hip hop songs we normally dance to. We have many more ideas coming to incorporate Saudi culture with break dance and hip hop





Who Are 5 Artists/Dancers You Would like to work with?


-Bboy Storm from Germany

-Saudi Rapper Qusai

-Boogaloo Storm

-Mr Wiggles

-Popinpete


Bboy's Advice For You:


If you want to make your dreams come true, you must challenge yourself first, lock your ears away from negative talk and feedback, no matter how many times you fall, you will find a path to get back up. Do not rely on luck or other people and depend on yourself.