I’m so proud of my boyfriend, JJ! He has a sparkling wit and heart of diamonds (I say diamonds because its more valuable than gold and is indestructible). JJ ran a Breakdance Workshop for kids from lower income areas for the City of Melbourne as part of their Australia Day celebrations last weekend. The City of Melbourne set up a series of 3-day workshop activities: Graffiti, Poetry, Animation, Robotics, Music, Dance, Hiphop, Modern, Poppin’ N Lockin’, and of course Breakdancing! The kids that participate are all from lower-income areas and mostly new migrants or have refugee backgrounds. Some of the kids in JJ’s workshop were from the Congo and Burma. The City of Melbourne finds that these kids are generally quite difficult to engage and the areas they live in place them at higher risk of drugs and crime. The expectation is that the success of workshops like these are hard to achieve because many of the kids don’t return after the first day. I’m glad to say that JJ’s group of rowdy boys came back every day for 3 days straight and then back for the final performance over the weekend! Some of the boys have a bit of a rep among volunteers for being a bit too high-energy with a bit of attitude, so it seems that breakdancing was the perfect mode of expression! JJ was also really engaging and managed to build good relationships with the boys, which is why they kept coming back. The first day they did 3 hours of breaking moves, the second day they learned how to break battle and the final day they did a paint project where the kids wore big jumpsuits, splashed themselves with paint and started breaking on a blank canvas on the floor to make a huge art piece! On Australia Day the kids from all workshops performed in a concert which concluded with fireworks on the Yarra River! They all looked like they were having so much fun and the kids were just so talented. A big shout out to SIGNAL who operate under the City of Melbourne who helped to source people like JJ!
Check out JJ’s upcoming Hiphop Expressions Project for East Timorese Youth!
JJ would get along well with boys who are “a bit too high energy!” I am so glad that the workshop was a success. Dance is the universal language; it’s great that the City of Melbourne is using it (via JJ) to reach out to newcomers.