Breaking News Interviews: SoulTrotteR

Name (the one your parents gave you)?
Philip Rachid

B-boy Name?
SoulTrotteR

Height?
1.88 m / 6 feet 2

Weight?
88 kg / 194 pounds

Inside trouser?
34

How long you been dancing and what got you into B-boying?

Before I got into breaking I was already busy with dancing… as a 12 year old kid my mum made me take classes in ballroom dancing styles, Cha Cha Cha, Quickstep, Jive etc. I really didn’t want to go, but then she said: “If you get older and you get the chance to dance with a beautiful girl, you should be able to dance with her and not be a stiff matchstick”. That made sense! At the classes I was one of the few guys, so I had the chance to dance with a lot of girls….

At High school I got introduced to New Jack Swing by some local masters and stopped the ballroom dances, but got down at parties doing the New Jack Style and Rapping.

In 1999 I got into Breaking after watching a documentary made about the NYC Breakers at a friends house. The five of us pushed the couch aside and we started practicing. Our crew was always digging into the new and fresh stuff. We all did Wing Tsun style kung fu and were into Hip Hop. I was the worst in the group when we started Breaking, but the only one who kept on doing it. I had a career as an upcoming actor, but chose to walk the route of culture and not the road to fame. Hunger for more knowledge, I started traveling more and more to develop myself.

How did you get your b-boy name?

Because I was traveling around so much with just my camera and a backpack, people started calling me globetrotter. After writing this rhyme in 2000

(Short version)
“As I stroll on astral globes,
I know that I do not know.
What will come will go.
I am nothing, but nothing is all.
So I flow with universal soul.
The journey is my goal

B-boy Bdown (Nowadays father of the internet world famous baby boogins) said: “Man, you ain’t the Globetrotter you are the Soultrotter.” Ever since I have honored that title.

How does your personality come out in your style?

My style has always been “the Way of the Warrior”. “This doesn’t mean I go out and pick fights/battles… A true warrior is one who sacrifice himself for others and is able to hold his head high with honor because he knows that he lives his life to the best of his ability, with honor and integrity. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, who are the future. It involves service to others along with perfecting your character.” (source Book: The Heart and Soul of Bushido)

I’m half Kurdish and Half Bulgarian. Being a warrior is a big part of my cultural background and it comes out when I break. I believe Breaking/B-boying to be a spiritual thing. When I dance I am the warrior, a seeker of knowledge and spreader of truth. I celebrate another day of living.

A lot of people used to see me as an aggressive B-boy or as a B-boy who just stays on top or just does the two step, but then a moment or years later they come up to me and thank me for schooling and sharing with them.

How and where did you gain your knowledge?

Wow ok, I’ll give you the long lineage to show respect to the people that took the time and energy to educate me. I think this way we preserver our culture and history.

Besides my local crew “Bone Breakders” from Almere, my first teacher was my Wing Tsun Teacher Sergio Iadorola… but not as a dancer but as philosopher and sharing the way of the Tao, which applies to Breaking.

My first b-boy teacher was Paulo from Rotterdam, who drilled the whole Rotterdam scene for free. What I saw in Amsterdam in the era 2000-2005 was guys just training and teaching spins, one hand hops and one hand freezes, but what I was looking for and wanted to represent was the funk and the essence of the dance. Hungry to gain knowledge from the local/world pioneers, I started traveling and representing in different cities, like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Braunschweig, London, New York, Valencia, LA and Sofia. Tyrone (IBE) used to link me up with local peeps, if he knew what my next mission was and if he could help out.

Many people said they would join the journey, but always cancelled last minute, which didn’t stop me from going alone. I documented my trips and conversations on my camera. This was between 1999 and 2005.

My main inspirations were and are Rock Steady Crew, Battle Squad and Style Elements. I went to jams/events were they would be, so I could see them dance in person, have the chance to cypher with them and ask them questions. For me it has never been about the moves they do, but I was interested about the road they took and what made them develop their style and character.

In 2002 I had the honor to have a long sit down with Frosty Freeze (RIP) who dropped so many one liners of knowledge that I just start to understand his true meanings now. In that same year Ralph Casanova (Dynasty Rockers), showed me around Brooklyn and told me many stories as well. Eszteca from Amsterdam always guided me into rocking the (as Poe One calls it) Big Man Circles in Amsterdam. Monstribe from Bulgaria showed me in 2003-2005 how spoiled we are here in the West and how eager they were to practice, jam and represent. In that time I met Supremos from Valencia as well. They showed me how to operate as a crew and rock that Latin flavor. In those years I represented in those crews and took the national titles in Bulgaria and Spain and defeated the Dutch Champions in the Netherlands.

Since 2001 Storm always was ready to answer the many eager questions I had. I learned a lot from the whole Battle Squad (old & new generation) while working with them in the years 2005-2009. Poe One was the first international B-boy to give me props in a circle in 2002. After that I have always seen him as one of my mentors. In 2009-2010 I had the honor to work and do shows with Maurizio/The NextOne in Italy. He has shown me in many ways what the meaning of a B-boy is.

In 2006 and 2007 I was busy doing street shows in LA , Valencia, Sofia, Germany and Stockholm. I learned a lot about the street codes of breaking and doing shows. Thanks to Calypso Tumblers/Ivan, Sideshow, Sleepwalkingz, True Rocking Soul and Phax.

Between 2007 and 2011 I have been going the park jams in NYC every summer. In 2010 there was a Tools of War Park jam in Crotona park/The Bronx. Cold Crush Brothers live on the mic. All the Bronx crews in one circle and I was right in the middle of it… That was one of the best memories… You will never truly understand the energy of the culture and the dance if you haven’t experienced moments like that. For me, it doesn’t get purer than that.

In life you win and loose… I don’t care too much about most of the competitions. But I would say I’d learned the most from getting burned in circle/cypher battles.

I have been spreading this knowledge and experience through personal guidance, workshops, performances, jams and movies worldwide. Based on the each one teach one philosophy.

Because of these trials and tribulations I realize that I will always be a student of life.

How important is it to be part of a crew in b-boying and what does it mean to you?

A crew is good when the members uplift each other in skills, mentally and spiritually. But a real Warrior dares to walk alone and handle his own.

What do you think today’s generation of bboys and bgirls should know more about?

Music, Music and Music….the FUNK:

I always say : ‘B-boying is expression of the soul, spoken through the body and guided by music”

Instead of handing out business cards at a jam without even touching the floor, listen to the music.

Instead of having your homeboy switching the camera on so you can call somebody out to make yourself look good, feel the music.

Instead of being busy with entering/winning competitions or Dance shows, be and love the music.

What is “Rock Ya Soul Session”? What is its format and why did you decided to run it like that?

After being the creative brain behind the very 1st “All Battles All at IBE” (the name, concept and official videotape was created by me and the execution and production of the event by Tyrone) I wanted to do my own jam, which would express the essence of a jam again.

I initiated the first Rock Ya Soul Session in 2005 with support from Jurski (TurnitLoose). I wanted it to be a protest against all the competitions, so we kept it strictly jamming. The name came to me after reading a quote on Mr Wiggles his website; “Before you rock the floor, you gotta let the music rock your soul”. I thought that captured the whole essence.

It has always been about the culture for me, we only have DJ’s who strictly play 45’s and know how to rock a party…ok and upcoming DJ’s who play strictly vinyl too (no serrato, no mp3-js, no cd-js), we have live art, screening movies or visuals, photo exposition by Joe Conzo, panel discussions and live funk band performing…hardly any one was doing the whole package, in the Netherlands at that time…and keeping it the vibe of a jam.

Rock Ya Soul editions took place in Amsterdam, The Hague, Liverpool, Stockholm and Sofia.

We also operated as an after party for the International Hip Hop Film Festival “Black Soil”.

In 2011 we celebrated our 10th edition at Street Science festival in Rotterdam. At the end of 2011 it came full circle and Rock Ya Soul was the official pre jam for IBE in Heerlen. Especially for this occasion, we created a Rock Ya Soul European Appreciation Award.

What are your thoughts on the controversial R16 judging system?

I understand if you are organizing competition you need certain rules to judge by. My stomach turns when I see Break Dancing on sport channels, with commentary about how straight his legs are in his flare. It looses all it’s funkiness. If you want to take it to a professional level I’d rather watch the art of B-boying in a theatre, street performance or a good film.

What do you do when you are not b-boying?

Traveling, having good conversations, eating, sleeping, drinking Rakia, sleeping, acting, sleeping, photography, clubbing, sleeping, discovering new places, architecture, people, films, music and combine all of that into my filmmaking.

In 2010 you created the visuals for Sébastien and Raphael’s piece for the Breakin’ Convention tour. Tell us about it…

Raphael and me have lived together for a while, at that time it was all about creating everyday and developing ourselves. Mostly having Raphael in front of the camera and me being behind the scenes. We have been in a lot of productions together and shared a great creative and productive energy. It definitely made a difference that we could level in a B-boy way. That made all out products unique.

When Raphael linked up with Sébastien he told me they were working on a long theatre piece, called “Seul Ensemble” / “Together Alone”, and he wanted me to be the visual partner.

They had the whole concept and choreography worked out and I tried to fill it in with the visuals. They had a clear vision of what they wanted and I did my best to assist them within my capabilities at that time and place. We worked on it in Berlin and Paris and they have toured around the world with that piece. It makes me very proud to have been a part of it.

Tell us about the the current project you are working on…

I just finished my first 20min drama film ZOL’A, which is an independent Kurdish film made in a guerilla way by Soultrotter prod. in conjunction with a lot of support from family and friends.

This movie and its process are really special for a few different reasons. The country just came out of a war situation. The whole film is shot on a HD Flipcam, with zero budget, but yet has the look and feel of a film. I used local actors including a local female actress, which is still a big taboo.

The story is about an introvert 9 year old Kurdish girl from Hawler, named Pershang who is trying to find peace.

After being out casted by her family, school friends and society she walks away. When that doesn’t work, she finds another way out to restore the family honor…She thinks…

Tagline : You can walk away as far as you want, but you can’t walk away from yourself.

This movie has been picked up by the Dutch film institute and the Kurdish ministry of culture/Cinema Department and will be sent out to film festivals.

What is next for you?

Working on my first feature film, which I can’t say too much about yet.

And creating a theatre piece which is called “The Way of the Warrior”.

Interview by Zoe Roberts

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