Students at Silver Creek and Boston schools were treated to breakdancing lessons by an instructor who will be back in town at spring break for a week-long dance camp, organized by the Silver-Hope Dance Academy.
Manny Christjansen currently resides in Salmon Arm but his path to dance started in distant locales.
“I was born in Haiti, then I moved to Calgary, then to Australia for grade 3 to 11, then to Kelowna,” said Christjansen, also known as ‘Bboy Congo.’
“I got started in breakdance with my grade 8 math teacher, Ryan Murphy,” recalled Christjansen. “Whenever we hounded him enough to teach us, he’d show us after class or at lunch. He was my teacher for three years and he worked with my friend and me.
“When I moved to Kelowna, my neighbour, Frisco, was a breakdancer and he taught me more. He runs a dance school in Kelowna and West Kelowna, called SoulSikk School of Breaking and I dance with him now, in the same group.”
Christjansen was working solo in the schools last week but he’ll be teaming up with his friend, Savio Suen, a.k.a. ‘Bboy Puzzles’ for the spring break camp, which runs from March 25 to 29 at the United Church Hall.
“We’ll be covering top rock, or standing moves, and footwork and moves on the ground,” said Christjansen. “And we’ll have a beginner power lesson and more acrobatic moves.”
Christjansen and Suen will each take the lead on half of their sessions while the other assists — and Christjansen is hoping the class fills to the maximum of 30, as they have much to offer students aged 8 to 15. “Bboy Puzzles is one of the best breakers in the world!” he enthused.
And breakdancing is only half of the camp, said Silver-Hope Dance Academy co-owner, Michelle Richardson. “We’ll have Academy instructor, Bella Alton — and up to three more of our instructors here to teach Hip Hop skills.” Sessions include waacking, popping, locking, grooves and isolations — and putting it all together.
The camp runs from 9:30 to 4:30 each day, with a short performance for the parents at 4:15 on Thursday and Friday.
“Kids don’t need prior experience, to attend,” stressed Richardson, “but they are learning a progression of skills through the week, which is why you can’t just come in for one day.
“It’s $300 for the week, until Friday, March 1,” said Richardson. “After that, it’s $350. We’re bringing in instructors from all over, so I want people to commit.”
The Academy is also hosting a gymnastics and acro week, March 18-22, for kids aged six to 12, with the same cost structure. As well, they have branched out to adult dance, self-defence and kick boxing classes.
To learn more or reach Richardson, please phone at 604-869-3422, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Academy’s Facebook page.