#INMYDDs X Ahmed Zada
When did you start dancing?
12 years ago, I saw a couple of guys dance battling in my hometown and I was completely taken by their ability to express themselves through movement. I was hooked! There wasn't really a dance scene back at home, so I started to teach myself by watching Youtube videos online. This was challenging as there were no classes for me to go to to learn the ‘right’ way of dancing, but I it gave me the freedom to build my own style. After moving to the UK, I got involved in the dance scene. I later became the dance director of FUZE, England's largest student- run art show. I was also part of Jam, a Bristol based street collective! This provided me an opportunity to train and learn from some of the best dancers in the world, as well as performing with them in Breakin' Convention- a Sadler's Wells production- I was shared the stage with dance legends I used to watch on youtube while in Benghazi!
I started dancing in my teenage years so it was more about doing ‘cool’ moves and impressing others. The more I danced the more this perception started to shift and dancing becoming something I'm passionate about and an integral part of my life and who I am. What I love most about dancing is the ability it gives me to express myself, to share experiences and exchange stories with others. It’s a beautiful art form that allows me to translate music into movement with my own style and experiences. I find dancing therapeutic as it provides me with a means to escape into my own limitless world.
Who's your muse?
The legendary Michael Jackson was one of my first inspirations. His ability to perform and entertain was impeccable. However, I’d say my gateway to street dance and in particular popping was through a French/Algerian dancer called Salah. I used to follow him online and watch all of his performances and battles. Like MJ, he was more than just a dancer but rather a performer and entertainer. A unique skill that I try to incorporate in my own dancing.
What inspires you?
I believe that a big part of dancing is merely a replication of a dancer’s everyday surroundings. Yes, I am inspired a lot by dancers I watch but other things influence my dancing. For example I learn from the fluidity of water when it comes to flow and ‘wavey’, movement. I'm also inspired by watching animals like snakes and marvel at how smooth, dynamic as well as surprising they can be in their movement. Other things such as geometry and shapes also inspire me a great deal. Last but not least, my biggest inspiration is simply and purely music.
What is one of your best stories about dancing?
There are so many but one would be when I performed at my school’s graduation. I did a piece called ‘Dream within a Dream’. The concept behind it was losing the ability to move and go into a dream where I was dancing only to wake up and find that I am still unable to move. It's a bit of a sad one but the motive behind it was to raise awareness and send a message on being grateful for the blessings you have. The reaction was very positive from teachers, students and parents. Many came to express their appreciation and it was at that point that I discovered the power dancing possesses, telling stories and sending a message the audience can relate to.
How do you decide what to wear for a routine/dance shoot?
It really depends on what the dance is for. A lot of the times I am simply freestyling to some music and so I’d wear everyday clothes that I am comfortable in. However if it was for a performance or a dance shoot/video I am creating then I pick my outfit such that it reflects the dance concept or story I am portraying as well as the feel and the mood that I would like to create. For instance if I am going for a calm and smooth vibe then I would pick an outfit that radiates warmth and simplicity. Colours are very important in creating the right mood but also depending on the lighting some colours can show movement and lines better than others. Material and fit of the clothes are other things to consider as ‘wavey’ movement for example can look nicer in a baggy silk shirt, while shapes and lines might look better in a clean tighter fit.