This evening, Red Bull dance your style returns with its Miami qualifier representing dancers from all corners of the country. The US program will culminate with the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Finals taking place next weekend in Washington DC. National Final Style. With no jury, no planned choreography, and no pre-chosen music, it’s all about embracing the moment, impressing the crowd, and moving to the beat..
We had the opportunity to interview Miami dance legend, tigga jones, ahead of tonight’s event. Check out our interview below:
Miami is your home. What sets it apart from what you can expect from the competition? You have to understand Miami. It’s a very lavish life, but it’s also a great energy. If you think about Miami culture back in the day, it’s very rhythmic, you know like Miami bass; and what makes it exclusive and different is the different type of rhythm, the different energetic and electric movements that differ from the average person who has learned a certain style elsewhere. We grew up with different dance styles and cultures, and remember it’s a very fast paced environment. Honestly, I feel like we’re setting the bar, even though you have cities like LA, for example, that define the ground floor when it comes to particular dances. And with Red Bull shining more light on us, you have a chance for some people who maybe don’t travel as much to have a chance to be seen and have their talents shine, like me. I don’t travel much, but in my city I’m actually a legend. But in the professional atmosphere, I’m still a baby. I am still a student. I’ve been dancing for about 15 years and you never know when it’s your turn. So while you still have the dog and the bark, you know, why not take it? It’s unlimited!
Given that you’re a legend in your city and the tourism that Miami brings with such an infusion of different cultures, how important is it that you adapt to your dance style? This is very important, because in dance culture, you have to know how to adapt to any style. It’s really the only way to advance your craft, when you learn multiple styles. Because if you stick to one dance style, you kind of limit yourself, but if you can branch off and accept the culture of not just hip hop, not just salsa, not just reggae, but if you combine all this, you can develop your own unique style. It does a beautiful thing.
Without saying too much, how do you approach an event of this magnitude where you have the potential to compete globally? So, without giving too much away, I feel like I have an advantage. My perception doesn’t give off the particular dance criteria that some people might be looking for, but when I practice my art, it’s amazing for people because they don’t see it coming. So I just try to keep staying humble. I’m not trying to copy anyone else, just keep perfecting my craft and make sure everyone has a good time. There will be a lot of oohs and ahs because of my perception of myself and the things I can do with control of my body. The crowd will certainly be surprised and the wait will certainly be worth it. That’s why I love Dance Your Style. The crowd determines who is playing and you have no control over the music. But any good dancer should be able to listen to any song in the first fifteen seconds and break it down to what it might be doing and how it moves. It really shows how talented you are. Can you adapt to any type of rhythm that comes your way? You know they won’t see it coming. I was born in the 80s, so I’m used to 90s hip hop, and old school, and 40s tops, so mentally I’ll be prepared for that. I just do calisthenics to make sure I have enough stamina to keep going and meet every trick, you know. I have thousands of movements. Working on conditioning is the main key. Once you hit 100% conditioning, your movements can be limitless, and as you go, you know, it just comes out.
This generation of 80s babies is also my generation [laughs]. How long have you been dancing? So I’ve been dancing since 1993. I look at my history. My father danced and all my brothers danced. So it’s kinda in my blood. At the time, we had our own “Showtime at the Apollo”. We also had a thing called the multicultural show, and we had our state fair or our town fair, where we had talent shows there. So it was always a show every year. We have the local dance area which would be at our local rink. Back then it was the Gold Coast ice rink, and they used to skate all night. You would be there from 7:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m., and what you would do is just fight different neighborhoods that wanted to prove themselves. Like who is the best of different neighborhoods? And we have our own style which is called “city boy” or “cutting up”. The definition of this is simply that you know you are doing what you are doing! And there is a particular stream, but no one anywhere else could really access it. We didn’t know the definition of certain types of poppin’ styles or where it really came from. We just know what we grew up, passed down from our parents, and what was instilled in us. You just started adapting the movements, practicing and recording yourself in the mirror, okay, what does that look like? You know you’re just taking your time and adapting to move it forward.
Alright, my last question. With the importance of what the generation before you received from your father and what was passed on to you, what are you passing on to the generation that will follow you? Never give up. The reason I say that is because I’m a guy with weight. Some people are discouraged by their weight and obesity. Sometimes their self-esteem is low. I want to set the bar high to show that if you feel obese or overweight and want to get in shape, that’s no excuse, you can do it! As long as you stay consistent, you can perfect your craft. If you feel like your weight is holding you back, or that no one is going to accept you, or you feel down, I want to tell them as long as they keep going and keep their ambition, they will get there.
The Red Bull Dance Your Style USA National Finals will span a full weekend providing a platform for artists to come together through a curated lineup of dance events, performances, workshops, panels and more so led by some of the most notable names on the street. Dance. Thanks to Tigga Jones for taking the time to talk to us ahead of tonight’s event. Be sure to watch the Red Bull Dance Your Style Miami Qualifier tonight via Caffeine direct.
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