Dance Connects Cultures- Interview with Masanori Fujita

Masa8Where did you learn to dance? And which style of dance did you start with?

I started breakdancing nine years ago in Osaka, Japan.  From the first time that I saw the amazing technique put in the dance, I was totally hooked.  So, the next day, I went to a dance school to learn and I also practised on the street.

After I came to Canada, I just practised breakdancing first.  I didn’t know Hustle at that time. But at some of the events, some of the dancers were doing hustle. I saw it and thought I really wanted to learn to dance it. Everyone looked like they were really enjoying it. So that’s what made me start dancing Hustle.

Masa4What is your favorite part about dancing?

When I am dancing, I forget any stress.  I don’t think about the time, or how much money I should earn.  I just feel free, moving to the music and just dancing. I feel happy that I have the time I can to focus so deeply on something.

Can you describe what the difference might be between what you experienced in the Vancouver dance scene compared to what you have in Japan for dance?

Both the Vancouver and Japan dance scenes are great.  Japan’s scene is bigger in that it has lots of places for practise, lots of studios, and a large number of dancers. But of course, Vancouver’s dance scene also has a fantastic culture as well.

In Vancouver, I like that people can dance and share information for so many dances in an open area out at Robson Square.  There are many kinds of dances you can see there- breaking, locking, popping, waacking and so on. So, we can get lots of ideas and absorb the skills from other kinds of dances that we’ve never tried before. I think that might be why Vancouver dancers seem so free and fun. They can see and learn from other dance styles in the same space.

masa1.JPGWhat did you learn from dancing in Vancouver?

Before I came to Vancity, I was mostly focusing on learning and practicing the stereotypical toprock or power moves with breakbeats. And I also thought that only good dancers can teach dance or share their technique.

But then I realized that that is not true. It doesn’t just have to be one style and that you have to stay with.  B-boys can use locking steps in their dance moves. Hustle dancers can mix bboy steps in their breakdancing moves. And also, people who want to share their skills about dance can teach their dance to people at any level. And that’s how we can learn more from each other and get better.

In short, I learned people in Vancouver are honest and true to their feelings about dance.

Who are some of your favorite dancers- people you look up to as role models?

These days I am crazy about Hustle. So, everyday I watch Hustle videos on social media. I especially have so much respect and appreciation for my Hustle teachers Boris Khramtsov, Victor Tran, and Samuelle Auclair.  Not only did they teach me so much about Hustle, but they also introduced me to all the fun dancing at Robson Square in Vancouver. Watching their moves inspired me to practise more.

Through Victor and Sam, I learned about their teacher, Alex Kim and I wanted to meet him.  I got to take lessons with Alex Kim twice in Vancouver.  If I can meet him again, I’d love to learn more from him and talk to him to get some more specific tips for myself.

Masa7Dance Me Free is about the power of Dance to connect, free and heal. I see a lot of freedom in your dancing. What is it about dance that gives you this freedom? What appeals to you about dance?

When I am dancing, I always feel like I am talking with people, but sometimes, without words. When my partner and I are face to face, smiling at each other, our moves can be nice, more connected. If I feel nervous, my partner might catch my feelings and our performance may not be as good because of that.  Communication with each other is important in dancing.

Dance is a kind of communication and you don’t even have to speak the same language as your partner.  My first language is Japanese, but I was dancing with a lot of people who spoke mainly English in Vancouver. And we were able to connect and communicate through dance. It was great.  I hope I connect more people with Hustle in the future too, not just in Japan but in Vancouver as well.  I would love to connect dancers in Japan with those in Vancouver.

Well, we were so lucky to have you in Vancouver. Thanks for being so friendly and open as a dancer and as a person.  I am glad that because of dance, I got to meet you too.




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