Stage performances, music videos, dance battles, and other art forms are just a visible part of the creative process iceberg. There’s a long journey of passion and challenges that stands behind every artist, which we invite you to explore through Breakreate’s video series: Creativ’Careerz.
Creativ’Careerz is a video series produced by Breakreate that aims at building stronger bridges between talented Hip-Hop artists and their audiences. Creativ’Careerz interviews will take you on a journey to dive deep into artists’ long paths that are filled with passion, growth, and challenges.
On this second episode, we met Ilyes Triki aka Triki Boy, a Tunisian Bboy, representing Urban Kids Crew. Ilyes did not only grab our attention as a talented dancer but also as a storyteller; making us look at dance from his own and unique perspective.
TRIKI BOY: “It was unplanned and it has started through my love for Hip-Hop music. The beats were what triggered me the most. Not only this but also my neighborhood’s friends who were Bboys and members of the Urban Bboys Crew. As I spotted them practicing, I knew that I wanted to join them, and I did.”
“At that time, my only concern was about becoming a better dancer every passing month; I have never thought that I would make my professional career centered on dance.”
TRIKI BOY: “The Urban Bboys Crew has then invited me to their practice session in Beb Bhar’s cultural center in Sfax. Since then, I’ve never stopped dancing. It is important to highlight that, at that time, my only concern was about becoming a better dancer every passing month; I have never thought that I would make my professional career centered on dance.”
FROM MECHANICS TO DANCE
“The moment I stepped on Hammamet Festival’s stage is the same moment I decided to pursue a professional dance career.”
TRIKI BOY: “After the completion of my undergrad studies, I started working in a company in the field of mechanical engineering. I still prioritized practicing and chilling with my crew after an eight-hour shift. One day, Tarek Bouzid, a professional contemporary choreographer based in Sfax, has joined our crew’s practice session and by the end of it, he had asked me to join his theater show titled Marionette as a replacement. Upon agreeing on his proposition, I went through four days of rehearsals that led to my career shift moment. And that’s the same moment I stepped on Hammamet Festival’s stage; that’s when I decided to pursue a professional dance career. First, I had to quit my job after a long and confusing decision making process. After that show, my life has changed. Despite having little to no knowledge of the contemporary dance scene in Tunisia, I had to trust and follow the whispers of my intuition, telling me that the stage is where I belonged.”
PASSION FIRST, HARD WORK MUST FOLLOW
“I kept on practicing every day, knowing that one day it will pay off.”
TRIKI BOY: “I was jobless for some time but owned a heart filled with passion, which was not sufficient! So, I kept on practicing every day, knowing that one day it will pay off. Hearing stories of other contemporary dancers has inspired me a lot as I was looking for a ray of hope to keep me moving forward. Tarek Bouzid and Imed Jemaa, are among those who have pushed me to believe in that long process and that I could actually create something out of my passion. Four months later, the Ballet de l’Opéra has launched their first dance auditions to select dancers to train and create theater shows with. Upon a long process of courses, delivered by international choreographers, and the actual auditions, I was selected as a full time dancer; which marked my first step into my professional dance career.”
DANCE PATH INSIGHTS: AUTHETICITY AND MECHANICS
“Dance is dance!”
TRIKI BOY: “As I started my professional career as a full time dancer, I have experienced some confusion when trying to balance between my two versions of a Bboy and contemporary dancer. This very confusing time has led me to strengthen my identity as a dancer; and instead of switching roles each time I hopped on stage or went to practice with my crew, I strived to find a link between both dances. And I came to the conclusion that dance is dance. No matter what style or approach you embrace, it is still dance and what only differs is your attitude. This has allowed me to explore authenticity in what I do: I might go on stage with baskets or practice barefoot with my crew.”
“Dance is mechanics!”
TRIKI BOY: “Quitting my job did in no way affect my passion for mechanics. In fact, I believe that dance itself is mechanics. Actually, mechanics has helped me a lot in dance: I got to better understand how my body does function, which is very similar to how machines do.”
MY BALLET DE L’OPERA JOURNEY
TRIKI BOY: “We are 16 dancers in total who form the Ballet de l’Opéra. We work full time on daily practice workshops and theater shows. It is important to highlight that this is a full time paid work, which makes it more interesting as it allows you to make a living out of dance. Besides my work on the Ballet de l’Opéra projects, I am also a part of other theater shows nationally and internationally. Stay by Wael Merghni, Les 4 Saisons, and Isola, by an Italian dance company based in France, are among my latest dance experiences, which results in an average performances’ number of 2 to 3 shows per month.”
DANCE PURPOSE AND EDUCATION
“The main purpose behind dance should be about enhancing audiences’ critical thinking.”
TRIKI BOY: “I believe that the main purpose behind dance should be about enhancing audiences’ critical thinking. I do even believe that it’s about teaching a whole nation how to analyze, explain things around them, and develop their own way of thinking. Dance shows should trigger their audiences’ curiosity and make them process their environment in different ways and see them from different perspectives. Now, me as a dancer, my main purpose behind dance is to actually do things with purpose, not just feed my ego.”
TRIKI BOY:” Teaching is a great tool to inspire new generation. But the key rule about teaching is that one should learn enough to be able to give back. I currently give some courses, but I can’t wait to learn even more and be able to give more. A Tunisia-based dance company would be a great step in educating through dance. Launching one, or being part of a dance company is one of my goals, which I think requires a diverse experience in dance, project management, a large network, and most importantly, a deep belief in one’s abilities.
THEY INPIRE ME
TRIKI BOY: “As I previously discussed it, Imed Jemaa is my main inspiration as a contemporary dancer; he has literally revolutionized the contemporary dance scene. Amine Miladi, aka South Eagle, is also one of my inspirations, I still remember him saying “It’s not about how much you have; it’s about what you do with what you have!” Finally, my greatest source of inspiration is my crew and the Urban Bboys generation; for they taught me a lot about sharing the same values and walking the same path while preserving our crew members’ different identities and remaining authentic.
TRIKI BOY: “The main challenges I have encountered go from my own body, to what family, dancers, and people thought of me. I had to overcome my own body’s challenges related to flexibility, since I decided to start a contemporary dance career at the age of 21 years old. In addition to my family’s first reactions regarding my career switch decisions. Their reactions were so pressuring that it has led me to leave home for some time. Not to forget the very first challenges I have encountered as I tried to balance between my studies and practicing with my crew.”
DEAR HIP-HOP COMMUNITY,
“Don’t be afraid of failure, failing does also mean trying!”
TRIKI BOY: “Four years ago, I have never thought that I am going to be where I am today as a full time dancer. All I knew is that I had to work hard every day and to invest in the now as I aimed to build my future version. What I recommend for the Tunisian Hip-Hop community, especially its new generation, is to know and trust their own selves first, and set a plan second. This can’t be possible until we learn how to actively listen to others who are more experienced than us. One more important advice would be to cultivate a solution-oriented mindset to solve the daily challenges encountered by Hip-Hop artists. Finally, I recommend seeking knowledge about the culture on each step of their path, while accepting how diverse it actually is.”