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A Different Approach

The finale saw 16 dancers leave everything out on the floor until only two were left. office got the chance to interview both finalists, runner-up Angyil and winner Shinshan to discuss how culture, self expression and style all come into play when one dances their heart out.



Angyil, America (Favorite battle: Mel vs Angyil)


When did you start dancing?


I’d say I've been dancing all my life, since it started with my culture, but professionally probably around 16 years old. I got into an agency and started dancing professionally then.


How's the Kansas City, Missouri dance scene?


Pretty much non-existent, but I danced a lot by myself and I went to a performing arts school. So I danced there, but as far as street there isn't much of it left. But I moved to NY and it was different there. I had a lot of friends in the scene there who supported me and have each others backs and we practised together all the time. 


So tell me about your specific style of dance and what that means to you?


My dance style is a combination of different styles because I started out with ballet, jazz and modern, starting out at that performing arts school and then being hip hops apart of my culture. So I just mix different things depending on the music, I'd definitely describe my style as a mixture of different things.


Tell me about fashion and style relative to dance? Are there any specific pieces of clothing items you prefer to dance in?


Honestly I love to dance in dresses and pants—at the same time. I grew up doing it, people would say, “why do you have a dress on and pants, that does not match, that doesn't go.” But like that's something that I’ve always been doing and have liked doing. I also like to tie things around my waist, I don't know why that's just what I am comfortable. I kept doing that because it made me feel comfortable, I can't even explain it. It definitely has become apart of my style and I’ve played around with it when it comes to dance. Using certain things as props but I would definitely describe my dance style as a dress with some sweatpants. Some nice sweatpants though, not like the cotton ones you wear to sleep. 


Going to this event now how do you feel about dancing competitively against people who are all from around the world


I was doing it before, so I don't feel much different. But I do feel more motivated as time goes by, you get exposed to certain things and inspiration.


Dancing is incredibly individual and self expressive. But I wanna know, if you’re looking at a dancer from Russia or somewhere can you pick up that style relative to their region?


Absolutely, absolutely. I definitely can pick up peoples styles or the way they interpret certain things. Not to say that everyone dances the same, but when you go to a certain part of the world people tend to have this one idea that “this is the way that it should be done” and everyone follows suit. So I definitely can tell where someone is from based off their dance style, and maybe they have their own individual moves within that. But typically the bulk of their style is based off where they're from.


Outside of America, is there another part of the world that you look at for inspiration?


Traditional dances. Places like Hawaii. Shabad, which is a really beautiful Sangeles dance. Bellydancing. Those are all from different places in the world that aren't really hip hop that I use throughout my dancing.



Shinshan, Netherlands (Favorite battle: Angyil vs Shinshan)


So how long have you been dancing?


Around eight to nine years. Maybe 10.


And you're from the Netherlands, how's the dance scene there? 


Its nice, funny too, the Dutch dance scene is small. It's kind of crazy 'cause were such a small country but we still manage to compete against the bigger countries. When someone says the Netherlands, you wouldn't expect such a big dance community, but if you have a look around, the underground scene is crazy crazy. The deeper you go the crazier the dancers get.


Why do you think that is? Are people not like, dancing on the street there or something?


There aren't many dancing studios, and the ones that are there are mostly ballet. I don't know why it grew so much, it grew so fast. I think its because the Netherlands are looking up to America, looking up to France. Big time you know? Maybe that's why we started to grow too. 


Tell me about your approach.


It's based on Capoeira. Mixed with my roots of being half Cuban. Being this young but having an understanding of the freedom over my body benefits me. I'm still learning of the freedom I have though.


Outside of dance what inspires you?


The big artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and some other artists like Miles Davis. They have all this urge to be unique and out there, they have their big shit and their unreleased shit. They inspire me so much because they always stuck to what they were doing. Chet Baker also.


Oh wild. What styles of music do you typically dance to?


Jazz of course! I feel that improvisation of jazz. If I don't know what the music is going to do, then I don't know what im going to do, and I have to follow that with my body. Creating continuously, how new the music is. Sometimes music can get so systematic, so boring. But jazz can be so new, listening to one jazz song just once isn't enough for me. I have to listen so many more times to know what I have to do. If I listen to something just once and I already know exactly what should come im not into it. I want to be all over the place, be fucked up here [points to his head].


Check out the full action from the World Final below. 

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