PAULO NUNES (010 BBOYZ / NETHERLANDS)
Interview done by Tyrone (010BBoyz)
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The number of breakers who have experienced the beginning of the dance is decreasing. In almost every European country there are still some oldies left. Most of them have already passed the age of 30 but they are still dancing. Everybody who was around in the early eighties will remember that small Dutch breaker with one leg shorter then the other. For a lot of the older dancers BBoy Paulo is one of the legends of the eighties. “Although he had a short leg, Paulo had the most speed and combinations of them all”.
When was the first time you heard of Breakdance, and how did you get involved?
It was somewhere in the early 80s when I first saw Breakdance on television. I must say I wasn’t interested from the start but then later I saw video material of the Rock Steady Crew and suddenly a lot of my friends started to dance too. Their was this one kid, Edson who had picked up the dance really quickly and he was the first to master some of the moves that we had seen on television. Edson introduced me to the dance and from that moment I have been dancing ever since.
Can you tell us something about the Dutch Breakdance scene in the early eighties?
At the end of the 70s we were all dancing to James Brown, but after the first television recordings of New York breakdance everybody wanted to dance like the Americans. Back in the days it was all totally different. I think a lot of the older breakers will recognise the following. It was very hard to learn how to dance because nobody had any idea how to build up certain moves and communication back then was very very slow. Once in a while you saw some video material from the US and then you knew what was going on. The ones that had videotapes were lucky and most of the time they kept it for themselves and showed all the new moves in a battle. Basically it all came down to your own imagination and creativity. Rotterdam was the number one breaking spot in Holland and soon we had a lot of crews with a lot of competition. In Rotterdam it was normal that you danced with kids from your own neighbourhood. And after that you formed a crew to dance against crews from other parts of the city. We danced almost everywhere and most of the times the older bboys only let you dance if you had enough skills. Battles against a crew from another city were most important and often very tense. Sometimes battles ended in serious fights because the breakers and the audience were afraid to loose face in a city battle.
In the mid eighties the first steps towards a European scene were formed because the bigger events started to invite breakers from different countries. You yourself were invited to contests all over Europe what was that like?
One of the first big jams we were invited was a sort of European crew battle in Munich or Stuttgart (I can’t remember where). It was a really big jam with a lot of price money for that time and the first time I met so many breakers from different countries. I was in the crew Dynamic Rockers and unfortunately we reached second place. After that I was invited a lot in Germany but especially in Switzerland were they had a good breakdance scene.
Can you tell us about the big jams that were organised in Italy?
At a certain time Italy was the place to be for breakers and they had this massive Jam in a place I think it was called Santa Catherini or something like that. But anyway this Jam was a sort of World Championship. (A lot of breakers do not know this but around that time Europe had the best breakers in the world). So at this Italian jam everybody was present and we were all young kids back then, Brian from England, Maurizio from Italy, a lot of Swiss breakers and in the crowd were guys like Storm and Swift who had just started to dance. The first year I went down there I won the battle so that was very special to me. The next year I competed again but Maurizio won and after that breakdance really became big on a European level. I can still remember a hype jam in Hungary, which I visited with Crazy from the Crazy Force Crew. Europe had breakers everywhere.
Can you tell us what you are doing nowadays. We still see you breaking or judging at BBoy Jams, and what do you think of the scene today?
At the moment I am in a crew called the 010 BBoyz from Rotterdam which consists of mainly old school breakers and our own DJ Cut Nice. I myself are more and more involved in teaching the younger kids the basics of Breakdance by giving training sessions and workshops. My opinion is that the Breakdance scene of today is better then back in the days. The facilities are so much better now and learning how to dance has become much easier. The danger however is that a lot of breakers lack imagination and creativity. Copying moves was something for which you could expect a beat down back in the days. Style is something which you have to find within yourself and not in others.
How do you see the future for breakdance?
I think breakdance has a bright future ahead but we the breakers and people in the BBoy industry have to guard the quality of our scene. This has to start at events were a lot of BBoys from other countries meet. The scene has to be strong and friendship and good understanding are the most important elements. The only place for competition should be the circle on the dance floor.
You have been breaking since 1981 and were one of the best but at jams you always seem to blend with the crowd, why?
It’s not so important who you are or what you can do. Do not get me wrong some people worked hard for it and do deserve respect. But I have more joy in teaching younger kids the moves and values that there are in breakdance then walking around at jams like some old school hero. If you can do a headspin for three minutes and you see a young kid struggling to stand on his head, it’s selfish not to explain the kid how to do it right. But that’s just my opinion.
Have you got some last words?
I would like to say special respect to my crew the 010BBoyz, Storm, Speedy, Swift, Sonny from Germany. Crazy, Magic, Mike, Remy, Zed and the Spartanic Rockers from Switzerland. The NYC Breakers, Flying Steps, Angelo and his guys from Battle Rock Maniacs, The Family, Suicidal Lifestyle, and everybody else I forgot to mention. See you all soon.