Break dancing not just a sport, but a survival tool 

It was 6:52 p.m. on just another Saturday night, and Tha Ha'Stylez Crew was holding one of its regular break dance sessions at Legion Park in El Reno.

"This is called El Reno, but they call it El Ghetto," James Sleeper. "Out there, you're good at sports or good at school or you fight. Some people know how to play basketball real good. But we found out how to break."

For Tha Ha'Stylez Crew, performances are more than an art form. Break dancing is a therapeutic act of aggression " a way to empower themselves and inspire other American Indians who feel typecast, trivialized and marginalized.

It "is freedom in a world that otherwise would tell them they are not free," said Melanie Bratcher, an assistant professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Oklahoma. "It's a release. It's an expression of who they are instead of what they do."

ORIGINS
Whether by sporting traditional war paint to battling at competitions and performing at elementary schools, Tha Ha'Stylez Crew has managed to leave a mark on the metro hip-hop scene " and its own community.

The Ha'Stylez's story seems to have begun in the mid-Eighties, when Kendrix Sleeper, now 29, and brother James, now 26, were still "little kids" in El Reno trying to emulate the styles of their cooler, older cousins.

"We used to do shows for our grandparents and moms and stuff," James said. "Our cousins bought Run-D.M.C. and Beastie Boys records, and we used to pop and do little backspins and swipes." "Calvin Son

 

Pin It
Favorite

About The Author

Calvin Son

Latest in Music Features

Readers also liked…

The Adam Larson Quartet @ UCO Jazz Lab

View all of today's events »

© 2022 Oklahoma Gazette / Tierra Media Inc. All rights reserved.
REPRODUCTION OF CONTENT IN ANY MANNER WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
TO OBTAIN PERMISSION, CONTACT US

Powered by Foundation