Dancing as a lifestyle


Yessica Andersson in the photo above is a dancer and choreographer. I met her the first time last summer when she one day came to the office where I was working. A little while ago she invited me to a dance competition that was held yesterday evening at the Amphi theatre in Pildammsparken/The Willow Pond Park in southern Malmoe. Last Saturday I arranged an interview with Yessica at a café one week before the competition, and this text will be about her career so far and about the fantastic dance performances yesterday.  Yessica has a Swedish father and a Polish mother. She grew up here in Malmoe and began dancing at the age of six. Until the age of 15 she combined the marshall arts of judo with dancing. Her mother wanted Yessica to train mainly classical ballet, but Yessica who was something of a Tom boy, rather tough and with a will of her own felt that the hip hop field, street dancing was more her style. She then used to train judo four times a week and dancing once a week. At the age of 14 or 15 dancing became her main thing. Her first dance crew was called Taste of Skills. They used to dance in street corners with tapes in the background, but very soon Yessica took the step to become a more and more professional dancer. In her early teens she began at Rydberg’s Dance Academy here in Malmoe and she also began leading youth groups of her own.

The next group she was training had the name Steady Fuzz. They consisted of six dancers who were between 14 and 30 years old. They had shows and became increasingly better. In 2009 Yessica went at the age of 17 for three days to Thessaloniki, Greece to work as an assistant for a more advanced dancer at the Asters International Dance Studio. After her graduation from Upper Secondary School she went to New York for a month to learn more dancing. This young woman has continued to learn more, and get material and training from international dance professionals. Back home in Malmoe at Rydberg’s Dance Academy Yessica continued to drill her dance  pupils. They have to train hard and Yessica is tough and demanding, but also very dedicated and affectionate.

Yessica Andersson is teaching street dance – new school. In the 1970’s and 1980’s break dance was called street dance. Breaking belongs to the four elements of hip hop: rap, dj-ing, grafitti and breaking. The other hip hop-styles are referred to with the collective phrase “hip hop-foundations” containing locking, popping, house, waacking and voguing (after Madonna’s video “Vogue”),  which is a combination of disco, house and hip hop. In the late 1990’s and early 21st century new styles were invented in Los Angeles, Hollywood – The dance world’s “Mecca” . The different best dancers go there to pick up inspiration and moves, but the new school is more free than the old one. Each dancer and each dance teacher in the new school has more freedome to invent and develop his or her own style. Yessica is teaching new school.

Yessica Andersson is not only teaching groups at Rydberg’s Dance Academy, but is an appreciated project leader, dance master and choreographer in several places here in Skåne. In 2006 she was choreographer of and background dancer in the video “Blågula Färger” with Advance Patrol, and in 2012 she made the moves to the artists in Dirty Discofreak and their video “Rock the sexy”. She’s also been working for and with artists like Arash and Haddaway. When I asked Yessica if she’s planning her moves and her choreography she just laughed, tapped a yellow fingernail on her temple and said: “No. It’s all in here”. I laughed too and said that I recognize the feeling as one creative soul to another, even though I’m no dancer. She gets her inspiration when she’s out walking, from something she sees and events happening in society. In the dance room hall she needs the dancers present, and she simply “thinks out” how they should be placed and giving them suggestions of how to move and co-ordinate their dancing. Yessica is having dance classes at schools in Malmoe, Eslöv and Landskrona. Since 2013 she’s hired in the summers by Landskronafestivalen as co-ordinator of dance events, also this year. Creandia AB who runs the festival in Landskrona had googled and found out that it was Yessica who had started Run 040 and wanted something similar.

Yessica’s latest group formed at Rydbergs Dance Academy in 2011 is called Cupcake Crew. Ten girls have been chosen via auditions and formed a good team. They train hard and have different skills where they have shaped a fine group feeling. Cupcake Crew performed also yesterday, and in one of the pictures below you see Yessica dancing in a blue cap. They train three times a week and also have to train back home to perfect their performances. In 2013 Cupcake Crew won the Streetstar Dance School Challenge in Stockholm. They are trained in classical ballet, jazz and hip hop. New auditions will be held for Cupcake Crew, but Yessica also intends to form a group for kids in the age 9 -12 called Cookie Cutters. As a dancer Yessica has been performing at the Malmoe and Landskrona festivals respectivally, during the Eurovision Song Contest events 2013, at student graduation proms and opening of malls and bigger events, NRJ in the park, and also for the Royal family. In September 2012 she started Yessick Productions, but her web page http://www.yessica.se is for the moment totally black because it’s being upgraded. Her home page will be re-opened though in August or September. She might be reached at info@yessica.se. This summer of 2013 Yessica will be dancing in the production “The Emperors” by the French choreographer and film director Romain Rios. For the dance battle yesterday evening Yessica was the co-ordinator and project leader together with RGRA (The Voice and Face of the Street) and Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan/The Study Association the Adult School.

The hip hop culture and the street dance movement was originally in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s a way of coping with social injustices, racism and the violence in society. Instead of gangs fighting each other with guns, dance battles were arranged with groups and individuals competing with each other. The event yesterday in southern Malmoe, called Run 040, held in Pildammsparken for the third year in a row was a great example of the best entertainment imaginable in that spirit. The audience was mixed with people in all ages: from lots of small kids to elderly people, even though the majority probably were between 20 and 45. There was also a wonderful ethnic mix and the crews which performed were in absolute top class. These people really knew how to dance and combine that with athletics, co-ordination and rhythm. Another wonderful thing was the loving and accepting atmosphere, also between the competing crews. They simply had great fun and the attitude was filled with high-quality performance and acceptance for each other’s skills. The best thing imaginable.

Seven crews competed, from Malmoe, Lund, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Örebro and Copenhagen. Each crew danced for three minutes combining funk, house and hip hop. Then they were taken to semifinal and battled each other two crews at a time for a minute. The winners would get the title “All Style Crew 2013” and get a reward of 10 000 Kronor. The judges were the professional dancers Francis “Switch” Brako, Johanna “Skywalker” Helewa Chrona and Melinda “Messimel” Jacobsson.  DJ’s were Rob Love from Sweden and KCL from Denmark. Presenting the numbers was no less than Behrang Miri who was excelling in his role. His daughter Donya was playing a little with her father and followed him around a bit, and Behrang Miri often interviewed the small kids infront of the stage. Dance battles in street dance is often a “guys’ thing”, but yesterday it was more gender mixed. I got the feeling that the mix of men and women on stage was ca 50/50. Most competitors were between 15 and 30, but also some small kids and a father and his two sons in one of the crews. All the same it developed into ladies’ night. The winning crew was a team of four young women from Stockholm called Swedish Family. It’s them you see below, first from their three-minute performance and then from the battle at the end. Between the battles there were performances by the Malmoe groups Cupcake Crew led by Yessica Andersson and some breakdancing master guys called De La Kingz.

If a similar event will be held next year, don’t hesitate to see it.

Anders Moberg, June 29th 2013






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