B-Boy Lilou waiting for a bus... no biggie
A six-year-old Lilou, who was born Ali Ramdani, first discovered B-Boying on TV, where he was fascinated by breakers doing power moves and headspins. He is a total Michael Jackson fanboy and learnt moonwalking from his brother. Lilou was instrumental in founding the iconic dance group Pockémon Crew in 1999. By the next decade, Lilou would become the first ever B-Boy to be crowned the B-Boying World Champion twice.
B-Boying or B-Girling is just an urban name for breakdancing, and owing to India's raging hip-hop culture, is a total hit in the desi dance circuit right now. The Red Bull BC One Cypher India 2018, a global B-boying championship, features Lilou as one of its judges. The dancer also held workshops with Indian aspiring B-Boys and B-Girls recently.
Lilou is not just a B-Boy though. His love for videography has led him to create his own YouTube channel TVlilou where he chronicles his B-Boying travels. He also took part in Madonna's blockbuster MDNA concert tour in 2012. Lilou talked to T2 Online about all things B-Boy and beyond.
"I came to India 10 years ago for a B-Boying tour where I conducted workshops and at that time I remember the B-Boying level here was low. A lot of people came to the workshop, but they weren’t all pure B-Boys — some were from the Bollywood style of dancing, some other styles, and so on. Now I see a big difference in the B-Boys. In these 10 years, I see the level has progressed a lot — there are more crews, more B-Boys. One day, I would love to see Indian B-Boys on the international scene, that would be the goal," Lilou tells us.
Lilou is not a great watcher of desi films, and yet is keenly observant of Bollywood dance. "I still have to watch a Bollywood movie, but I have seen videos and I liked the choreography where many people are doing the same moves together and then a few more of them join in. It includes a lot of expressions and a certain type of attitude that you see only in India. During my workshop in Kolkata, I told the participants that you have a big history in culture and dance," says the B-Boy icon.
To aspiring B-Boys and B-Girls, Lilou says, "B-Boying is a free form of art. You need to do your own thing, have your own style and attitude. When you dance, you cannot lie as it’s a reflection of your life. In order to reach a professional level, take your time as it is a long journey ahead of you."
"I think one of my biggest inspirations has been my family because while they weren’t fully supportive of this when I was young, they fully support me now. Inspiration because I fought for this, and now they’re proud of me," says Lilou, who lists Jackson as one of his influences and Muhammad Ali as another, as he was a dancer in the ring.
"I don’t think there’s one particular B-Boy who has inspired me the most, however Michael Jackson did, because he would always bring something fresh, something new. In every project, I want to bring that newness also," he adds.
Lilou, who was a part of Madonna's MDNA world tour, had once famously said, "Madonna should not stop dancing."
The tour itself, which featured Lilou and his Pockemon Crew, was educational for Lilou. "I learnt to be more professional because when you work with your friends or people you know, it’s very different from working in a big US production, with the timelines and so on. I also learnt that these productions are maybe not for me," Lilou tells us.
He surprised us when he revealed his favourite dance tracks to which he grooves the best. "The SOS band, which is a disco group from the '80s, was what my brother was listening to when I was young. The other one is Tupac Shakur, because for me he is the best rapper ever, and I love listening to his tracks," said Lilou.