Clubs on Campus: Kickin' it with KinetiQ

Anyone will tell you that hip hop’s more than a dance genre – it’s filled with a distinct and infectious style and culture.

I would spend hours on end watching YouTube videos of west coast choreographers, where hip hop dancers like Ellen Kim and Kyle Hanagami formed one of my first impactful and inspiring memories of dance.

Through personal encounters with student dancers on campus, we can gain a larger appreciation of the surrounding culture of dance.

I spoke with Jacob Paik, ArtSci ’15, one of the co-presidents of the Queen’s breakdancing crew, KinetiQ, to learn about the importance of hip hop as a movement and art form:

If you could tell a group of strangers about dance and dance culture, what would you say?

Dance culture is the best way to create and build relationships between people. You could meet someone at a party, not know their language, but dance all night with them.

What is a common misperception others have of hip hop and breaking culture?

People easily confuse hip hop and breaking as two separate things- but breaking is actually the first element of hip hop. The media often distorts hip hop, where it is seen to be connected with gangs, money and violence; while, on the contrary, it’s about peace, love, unity and having fun. People also believe breaking is about flips and spinning on your hands and feet, but it is a cultural dance with its own philosophies and principles.

What experiences at Queen’s or elsewhere has shaped your perspective on dance?

The most influential and powerful experiences were the jams, where people come together and dance. Jams motivate me to get better and allow me to meet people from all over the world. There can be battles, cyphers, shows and workshops and I have never left a jam without feeling blessed, thankful and motivated.

As a self-taught street dancer, what challenges did you encounter and how did you improve?

The biggest challenge when it came to learning was figuring out how to do a certain move; YouTube was my mentor. I used to replay clips over and over to replicate what I saw. I would stand in front of the mirror and practice arm waves until I couldn’t lift my arms anymore. I would practice in class, lunch, on the bus, at work- whenever I had the chance.

How has dance influenced other parts of your life?

Dance challenges me to be a better leader and allows me to be humble by experiencing struggles and successes. Dance also allows me to meet new people and open my mind and perspective and ... dance molds me into a better person and I am extremely thankful and blessed to be a dancer.

How does KinetiQ fit in with the rest of the dance scene? How is KinetiQ working to provide a distinct dance experience from other clubs?

KinetiQ aims to integrate hip hop from a cultural aspect, reminding people it’s not only about the dance, but the reason behind dance. We want to create an atmosphere where people experience hip hop as a positive influence so that they experience it and evolve as people.

What can students anticipate to see with KinetiQ events this year?

We offer alternative classes for those who feel they cannot meet the physical requirements for breaking. It is most definitely not a watered-down class, but something completely different and fresh for those who don’t want to get their hands dirty [with floor work]. We also plan on making [our 4th annual event] Forgotten Styles bigger and better with people coming from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and the States.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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