Few countries have taken to street dance quite like Japan. Almost everywhere you go there are hip-hoppers practicing their moves in front of any reflective surface they can find, breaking crews doing fast-spinning performances to entranced crowds at shopping malls and even TV shows and magazines aimed specifically at the dance community.
Following Japan’s success at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina — which, for the first time, awarded medals in competitive breaking to Saitama’s Ramu “Bgirl Ram” Kawai (Gold) and Osaka’s Shigeyuki “Shigekix” Nakarai (Bronze) — the scene looks set to explode. Unfortunately for visitors to Japan, even with this success it can be notoriously difficult to access for people that don’t speak the language.
Even though websites like DanceDeets) are doing their best to make the activity more accessible, events are often posted on private forums or found via flyers handed out only to those in the know. For new dancers — and even experienced non-pros — the most accessible way to learn about this fascinating subculture is by taking a class at a studio.
While he is not such a big name internationally, model and dancer Sam (yes, he’s cool enough to be mononymous) is one of the biggest names in the Japanese street dance scene. As part of his mission to bring dance to these isles, he has studios all over Japan. His studio, Soul and Motion, has branches in Tokyo, central Osaka and Yao. It’s the place to go for dance kids with dreams of stardom in their eyes as there are auditions to join various pop bands as backup dancers held at the studio.
The same company’s ballroom dancing equivalent is Arthur Murray studios. This is mostly for partner dancing with an emphasis on the classic forms such as foxtrot, swing and the Latin dances. The studio has branches in most major cities.
Kids shouldn’t feel left out either as Avex Dance Master (Japanese) is a chain of studios designed to get little feet and heads moving. There are branches in Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.
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