30/10-5/11 2023 MALMÖ SWEDEN

Portrait #2 2024

January 23, 2024


I met Prince or Martin De'Wayne the first time last year at Hip Hop Weekend. This years he's back and seems to have the same, strong, positive and contagious energy as last time. I have managed to catch him an hour before he has to leave for workshops, panel discussion and battles. I ask him if he can tell me a little bit about his first meeting with the street dance culture.

I was around 17 or 18, sraight out of high school, and then I went to college for a little bit but I kinda dropped out, slash got kicked out, because I really didn't want to do it. Then my mom was like “you got to figure something out”. My family are very artistic and since I liked music, body movement and art I was like, you know what I´m just going to try dancing so I did. One of my friends also told me about this place called YA at the same time. It's like a small place where all the street dancers get together every week and battle on Thursdays. It was so exciting because you had to sign up online on facebook and they only had a limited amount of spots, so you would be sitting waiting all day infront of your computer after you get off work. When they posted it the registration would fill up in like 5 minutes. So that almost made it even more exciting for you to go. That was my first encounter with street dance, and then it kind of went from there.

Do you have a purpose with your dance, and if so - what's that purpose and have it changed over the years?

I used to be very depressed but dance helped me out of my depression, it was like my escape from those feelings. Later it transferred from wanting to escape something to more wanting to win every battle, because I was super competitive.

Then it turned into me wanting to connect and explore with people and travel. Now it's more about sharing the information I learned. So its basically going in phases and I don't know what the next phase is and that's what's exciting about it. But if you have a purpose all of the time then you forget to enjoy it, and if you only are enjoying it all of the time and you have no purpose it's kinda like, what are you doing it for in a way? Some dancers practice so much that when they going to parties, they even practice at the party and the party setting is not for that. It's for having fun. Because then, when you get into a battle, you can have fun but you have to have some sort of mindset that makes you not worried about loosing as well. I feel like you have to be able, in any artform, to balance it out. So it can still be an expression but at the same time useful.

When you don't feel inspired, where do you most often look for inspiration?
I would say music but mainly I find inspiration in nature. I like being outside. There's literally a field by my house, whenever I don't feel inspired or I'm going through something crazy I just go over to that field and dance barefoot in the dirt. That kind of grounds me and pushes everything out. Also when I don't feel inspired I try to tell myself it's okay, you don't always have to be inspired. A lot of artists or dancers feel like they have to dance every single day in order to be an artist. But there's stillness too, you have to be able to be still in order to understand what you are doing. If you're always looking for inspiration or always moving you will never give yourself time to process what's actually going on, what you're actually creating or doing. So I think that's the biggest way I ground myself other than just being still sometimes. So if I'm not inspired today or i don't feel like dancing I simly not dance.

To share with other people can be hard, especially in times when you may not be in a good head space. What are the challenges that comes with creativity for you? And do you have tools to overcome them?

u always be like, it's not good enough.

Hip Hop turns 50 years this year, a lot has happened since then. Whats your thoughts on the state of the culture today?

ack more. It dosent even have to be dance, just connecting as human beings,  I feel like thats what it was created for. Off expression, off what you have been trough and life. Thats why its important to understand when its battle time and when its having fun time, because having fun time is when you connecting with people. I had a big problem with that when i first started battling. I would go places and if i didn't win, for the rest of the night i would be at the back being like grumpy and mad. And then i missed out on the connection part.

interlocutor & photo: mattis & david

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