I’m sure everyone has seen this Balmain x H&M ad featuring Kendall Jenner and a group of dancers “battle” it out on a subway for the campaign. You know, I can’t be happier that there are more and more fashion x street dance collaborations over the years *woohoo* and it’s times like this I hope the public have become more open to see and learn about the different dance styles- instead of just generalising everything as “Hip Hop”. I’ll assure you that there is no popping, locking, nor breakdancing (correct term: breaking) in the video. In fact, the dance styles you’ve seen in the video are mainly (1) Flexing and (2) Voguing
“Also called Bone Breaking, is a style of street dance from Brooklyn, New York that is characterized by rhythmic contortionist movement combined with waving, tutting, and gliding. Flexing is primarily performed to hip-hop music but it did not come from hip-hop dance or hip-hop culture. It evolved from a Jamaican style of street dance called bruk-up which is performed to dancehall and reggae music.”
Yeap, flexing is a legit dance genre, not just an act of contorting stunts. It’s a relatively young dance style but had gain much public exposure in the recent years because of the media. Flexors had joined shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew and America Got Talent to showcase their style. Check out the vid below to see 2 of Brooklyn’s renown flexors
As you can tell from the name, this dance style was inspired by the poses models do in VOGUE magazines- characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear, and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. It arose from the early 1960s from Harlem Ballrooms of the African American. Over time voguing developed and evolved as an established dance form that is practiced in the gay ballroom scene and clubs in major cities throughout the United States—mainly New York City. Note- not to be confused with Waacking.
If you’re still confused, here’s a performance by the Legandary House Of Ninja- with Benny Ninja and Javier Ninja. Yes, in case if you’re wondering why Benny Ninja sounded so familiar, he was invited to be a posing coach on American’s Next Top Model
My thoughts on the campaign? I think it’s a bummer that nobody is actually interested to know who the dancers were. Because if you search “Dancers in Balmain x H&M campaign”, all the search results focus on “Kendall Jenner shows of impressive dance moves”.
Sorry guys, but Kendall can’t dance to save her life in there. It’s the truth! I mean she’s a great model and I do adore her for that but she wasn’t dancing in that video (cancel out all the editing. Really, you have to give credit to the dancers because they fed the energy of the whole concept of the video. But I do appreciate that the AD credited the dancers at the start but they’re really underground because you can’t seem to find them on youtube o.O!
Moving on, I do hope that the Singapore fashion scene and music scene will have more opportunities to work collaboratively with the local dance scene. Music, dance and fashion have been influencing each other through the eras! For all you know, with the right dance and music, it could elevate the show quality of the runway show.
(Btw, MelissaLCL is one of the amazing photographers in the dance scene that I really love. Click on the images and check out the rest of her work on her page)
With that said, I hope the right dancers will be sought for appropriately. There are some commercial dance agencies in Singapore but honestly speaking, if you want dancers from specialised street styles- hiphop, bboy, popping, locking, waacking, voguing, you have to look to the streets.
Well maybe agency dancers COULD do the genres, but they will never be as good as the street dancers who understand the true essence of the dance. (some people are gonna hate me for saying this but even you have to admit it’s true).
The problem with contacting street dancers is, you don’t know where to find us, right? We could be anywhere. So if you ever need contacts, check out Dancemeets.com .
They are not a dance company or anything commercialised. But a humble group of dancers with the passion to push the streetdance scene in Singapore. So basically, they know almost everybody in the scene (or at least who to contact) and they’re more likely to give you a better recommendation for dancers than anywhere else.
But honestly, what do you think about fashion and dance coming together?