International Dance Day With Bello Dance
Today, April 29th, 2022 is International Dance Day! Oh, yes! It’s time to get your dancing shoes on and let your body move and groove…!
Here at BELLO, we paired up with Red Bull Dance Your Style and had the amazing opportunity to feature two amazing dancers, Halima and Tyler D Creator. Red Bull Dance Your Style is a premiere, global street dance competition that brings together the best in hip-hop, krumping, house, locking, popping, jookin, turfin, tuttin, bone breakin and so much more. Both of them have had their time in the competition and keep practicing their passion, their true calling every day! Keep reading on and discover more about Halima and Tyler D Creator!
Do you remember the first time you ever danced? Describe the moment, the feeling.
I remember the first time I danced on a stage. I was young, about 5 years old so I don’t remember details. It was my first dance recital and I played the role of ensemble kitten in our imitation of CATS. I don’t remember the steps, but to kindergarten Halima, dancing like a cat in full fury costume was the coolest thing. There’s a scene where the cats crawl out of trash cans and join in one big dance number. I took my role a little too seriously—crawling with stealth, meowing at the air, and licking my “paws”—even scratching my faux whiskers. For whatever reason, lil’ me loved it. To become a character beyond myself, felt like a good day at Disney World. That feeling of play, freedom and unabashed expression is the kind of way I always want dance to feel.
Growing up, what was your family dynamic like? What role did music play in it?
Growing up my family loved music. It was all about the oldies for us. Hot 105, rhythm and blues, soul, golden oldies, and after dark—“The Quiet Storm.” My dad was a huge fan of disco-funk jams. Rumor has it he used to breakdance and ride a motorcycle during his bad-boy days in Nigeria. And we heard plenty of live drums and strings at every Nigerian function. On my mom’s side, reggae, and Jamaican oldies from the 70s-90s were non-negotiable. When the 2000s hit, Shaggy, Beenie Man, and Sean Paul had indefinite replays.
Looking back, what is a pivotal moment in your childhood?
I think a really pivotal moment for me took place in High School. I joined a theater club and choreographed numbers for our version of High School Musical. I lead rehearsals and performed with people I had just met that year. I was a pretty shy and introverted kid and teenager. Dancing with this group was the first time I let myself be seen as a dancer outside of the studio I grew up in.
Tell us more about your dancing styles. Do you have a favorite? Why?
I started out doing ballet, jazz, and tap. My studio was predominantly Latin American so I also did flamenco. Growing up, that was a favorite of mine because I loved the footwork and the elegance of the power in the style. When I got to college, I joined a few hip-hop teams. The movies made it look like any bunhead could do it. But my transition into hip hop was not at all graceful. I was super stiff and very uncool. I became obsessed with old-school hip-hop and I spent years making my body get the basic groove. If I could bounce and rock forever, I probably would.
Some of the other styles I was introduced to as an adult include whacking and locking. I connected well with the movement because 70s and 80s hits are what I grew up listening to. Eventually, I found house and fell in love with the style as well. The rhythms remind me so much of tap, jazz, and even flamenco. I also wanted to be closer to my heritage and fell in love with dancehall and afro beats. I still feel like I have so much to learn. Recently, I have music from the 2000s on loop. It’s basically the genre I danced to at middle and high school parties. And these days, my favorite style watch and learn is popping. To be honest I’m really not so great at it. But I love the way poppers bring music to life!
How was your experience throughout the Red Bull Dance Your Style competition? What did you learn about yourself?
I had the most terrifyingly amazing experience. Participating in this competition was a giant leap out of my comfort zone. I love dance. I love performing. I love to connect with others through movement. But I’ve never had a competitive spirit. My background as a dancer is also very different from a lot of the dancers who came from crews or had been in tons of battles prior. I really had to dig deep to see past the layers of my insecurities. I learned to let the dance carry me—not the expectation of what dance should be, but the feeling of movement itself.
What does Passion Dance Intensive mean to you? What is its purpose?
Passion Dance Intensive is a safe space for genuine growth and connection. I saw that post-Covid, dance was hyper-saturated online, hyper-tuned to views, trends, and the pressure for cult following or commercial validation. That’s why I created this intensive. I wanted to give movers an opportunity to be encouraged in an environment focused on education, community-building, and healthy mindsets. Passion Dance Intensive is meant to recharge dance artists who want to get back to their why and to help them nurture their unique passion for dance.
If you had to pick a dance style that best defines you, what would it be and why?
It is incredibly difficult to tie myself to one style. Every style feels like a separate language or a specific set of vocabulary and phrases. Each one lets me express different ideas, energies, and emotions when I dance.
Do you believe you have found your purpose? Explain.
I’ve always believed in a singular purpose: that God created me to bring light into this world. As a dancer, that purpose transcends movement. I find purpose in the way a person can feel seen, heard, inspired, energized, and also meet healing or freedom of self in dance.
Any advice for emerging dancers out there?
Know your why and embrace it fully.
What is THE song that always gets you on your feet whenever and wherever it plays?
This is a hard question because I really just love music. Although, if I had to drop it down to 3, they’d be Dance tonight by Lucy Pearl, I like it by Debarge, and I wanna be where you are by Michael Jackson. Doesn’t matter if I’m in the mood or not. These songs will get me on my feet to start my day and then I dive into different tracks throughout the day for different reasons.
Tell us about a time you overcame an obstacle through dance.
During Middle/High school I lost a lot of family & friends due to several reasons, whether it be through passing, abuse, and or being locked up. And as a kid, you already have so many emotions you have to deal with on the daily, but I found at an early age the power/healing of dance. I could be mid cry or breakdown and I’d turn on some music and it’d be like nothing ever happened to me.
A: Why not dancing? There’s so many things to get into in this world, but something I love about dance is that because it’s the first language of the world, there’s no barriers you can’t knock down. I’ve never had any prejudice against anyone I’ve met through dancing no matter what walks of life they come from and because of the culture of specific dance styles It’s helped lead me to doing the extra work to want to understand the different spectrums of people I’ve met over the years. So I’m never not looking passed the differences of people, but seeing them for those differences and choosing to love them anyway. Dance did that for me.
During your time participating in the Red Bull Dance Your Style competition, what were some top favorite moments and why?
A: Seeing people I normally see going for blood in other competitions and cyphers, have so much fun during this comp. So often I feel like my community takes things too seriously, which is valid because of the many reasons to take dance seriously, but to witness people enjoy dance at it’s base form of joy & happiness really helps me enjoy what we do. The inner child in me smiles hard during Red Bull events.
How do you go about putting a choreography together?
It’s always a tad bit different every time I do it, but currently when making choreography I’ve been taking time to sit down and listen to the music and all unique sounds that make a track. Then I’ll get up and move a little, probably dislike the way I moved and then sit down again. I repeat this process till I find the groove of the song and ride that creative wave till I run out of ideas…and then sit down & listen again haha.
In another timeline, what career do you think you would have picked?
In another timeline, I think it would be an author of sorts. Either that, or an actor, scientist or some kind of musician. I love the act of studying no matter the subject and these kinda fall in that feeling for me. I feel like my main goal starting out with choosing dance as a career was that I get to see the world and experience all it has to offer. I feel like those other professions get to do that too while also gaining bigger understandings of life and what it means to be human. And they seem really cool. Who knows, maybe I won’t wait another lifetime.
Share with us what it is like dancing with different crews. What have you learned about yourself over time?
You know, more & more I realize the regular meaning behind what a dance crew is changes, especially in these current times we are in. You don’t see too many crews now really working and gaining things as a unit than you do individuals or a “collective” of individuals. If you do, they are REALLY tight together, besides the crews that were already established during the big crew era. To me, dancing with a crew means dancing with an extension of family, not just people who you are cool with or people who are amazing at what they do. Likeminded individuals that, despite the different paths they follow, have a common goal in mind for themselves. People you can open up to and grow with, but most of all, they are people you choose to do life with. No different from family, friends, or a loved one. That’s what I’ve learned.
Something most people do not know about you.
Something most people don’t know about me?
It’s hard to answer this question because I like my privacy, but if I had to give something helpful, it’d be the massive amount of anxiety I have and deal with daily. When people ask me how I feel before something like battles, I always tell them super anxious. Sometimes to the point to where it can mentally cripple me or prevent me from doing what’s best for myself. I have to remind myself that I’m not the only one living life and that someone somewhere is feeling how I’m feeling and figured out how to continue living, and that lets me know I’m not alone. I also really hate ice cream.
Have you found your purpose? Explain.
Yes and no, I know my purpose isn’t completely all dancing. It’s a tool/art form I use to fuel that purpose. My purpose right now is to help others with my energy & presence. When I dance, I’m helping someone find light in their day through my light. Although, as people, we are multifaceted by nature so eventually that purpose is going to evolve again and maybe so will the tool I use to push that purpose.
Production @maisonpriveepr_la x @bellomediagroup x @alexbonnetwrites