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VIDEO: How Break Dancing And Hip Hop Saved My Life

Krubel Amare shows off a head spin in the KUOW studio.
KUOW Photo / Sanda Htyte
Krubel Amare shows off a head spin in the KUOW studio.

When I’m break dancing, I feel free. That is the best feeling, when you don’t care what others think. You don’t care what you even think at that moment in time.

People think of hip hop as music, but it's much more than that. It's a culture and a lifestyle. Hip hop is a form of self-expression, a way of putting out a positive message for others. It is a beautiful craft that emerged in the South Bronx in the mid-1970s. The four elements that define hip-hop are graffiti, b-boying, MCing, DJing, along with the knowledge and wisdom that create motivation for others to pursue this art form.   

My form of self-expression is breaking, also known as “b-boying.”

When I was younger it was hard finding something I wanted to put my time and effort into and actually commit. I hated going to school. I had a lot of trouble at home. Breaking was my way to escape that and elevate.

Watch Krubel Amare perform with Sammy Tekle and Niko Serpanos at the RadioActive community listening party

I was first introduced to breaking through an after-school program that was held at my middle school. These programs were free, so I used that time to explore, and I found breaking as something that interested me.
[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "The hip hop mentality is 'each one teach one.'", "style": "inset"}]]Breaking has helped me to get creative, and has introduced me to a community of people that I thought I would never meet in my entire life.

It showed me that not only can you build off of yourself, but you can build off of others as well. In b-boying, you are a student of the game but a teacher to the classroom. The hip hop mentality is “each one teach one.”

Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has something that they can take back with them mentally and spiritually. It opened my eyes and showed me that hip hop culture is about peace, love, unity and community.  

This culture is a never-ending cycle of inspiration and growth, and I can only hope that it exceeds its full potential throughout the years.  

Hip hop all around saved my life. If I wasn’t doing what I was doing then, I don’t know where I’d be now.

I want to give a shout out to everyone in the 206 hip hop community doing they thang right now. Inspirations of mine are Universal Zulu Nation and Massive Monkeys Crew. One love. Peace.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. This story was produced in RadioActive’s Spring Workshop. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.