By McKenzie Vogt
Special to Ames247
For some, dancing is a hobby, for others a job. For the 61Syx Teknique Breakdancing Crew it’s a lifestyle.
“It affects all of us in different ways, but the effect is gigantic on all of us,” said Keegan Loye, booking manager and active dancer. “I learn more about myself through dancing than anything I have ever done before.”
61Syx Teknique Breakdancing Crew, based out of Grand Rapids, Mich., was started by a group of friends that attended North View High School in 2004 . These four students started performing at local talent shows and were later joined by another dancer from a different high school. Since then the group has been linking up with other aspiring dancers.
In 2005, the crew began attending the annual Blues on the Mall festival in downtown Grand Rapids, setting up shop on a corner to dance. This event introduced the group to about five or six of its current members.
“It’s a big festival so random people just stroll around, and that is how I met the crew,” Loye said. “I have been dancing before, but coming across someone else that actually does the same thing is a big eye opener.”
The traveling five will perform Saturday, April 16 as part of the VEISHEA celebration.
There are 16 members in their current family. The traveling five are those who can commit 15 to 20 hours a week rehearsing, four come as often as they can, compete and perform in local shows and the other seven are considered non-active because they have other priorities before dancing.
School is a big priority for the crew, making that part of the reason why those other five do not travel to shows outside of the area.
It is not necessarily an audition process that helps the 61Syx Crew pick its next members but more about three general requirements — friendship, commitment and improvement.
“Generally speaking, if someone comes around to our area and starts practicing with us, first and foremost we have to develop a relationship with that person,” said Loye. “The family aspect is very important to us.”
The traveling five are extremely close. They spend almost every day with one another — some even live together.
Raze1, one of the traveling five, owns the 61Syx Teknique Street Dance Academy.
“The reason we have the name Street Dance Academy is to teach a style of dance that did not originate in a dance studio,” said Loye. “The only style of dance we teach is the one that blew up on the streets.”
The two styles that are taught there are house dancing, which originated in Chicago, and breaking. The Street Dance Academy is the only studio in the midwestern part of the United States that is both owned and operated by b-boys — or break boys, which includes breakdancers because they’re focused on the big tricks and power moves.
“It’s like comparing an underground artist who is doing it for the love in comparison to a mainstream artist who is doing it to make money,” Loye said.
The traveling five — Seoul, Raze1, K2Roc, Goblin and Vertichu — all come from different backgrounds.
“If you see our crew, you are going to think ‘diversity’ for two reasons,” Loye said. “First off, we bring a Dutch, an Italian, an African American, a Puerto Rican and a Korean, but we also dance very different.”
The crew makes sure that the audience will be able to see a little bit of everybody in the routines, making it possible to even decide who created what part. The crew is also able to imitate each other’s styles pretty well because they spend so much time together.
The normal performance by the 61Syx group is not all dancing. They will incorporate a battle and a game of jeopardy, where people can guess the name of moves the crewmembers will portray in order to win a prize.
“The performance itself is like a timeline based off of hip-hop, so when it started in the ’70s to the ’80s through the ’90s,” said Loye.
After the performance, the crew will be available for questions.
“When it comes down to it all of our passion is dancing,” said Loye. “This lifestyle that we chose is the biggest blessing out of any lifestyle you could choose. I hope that it shows, and I hope people can relate to it even if it is in a small way.”