German B-boying artiste Airdit Gjikaj talks about his breathtaking moves. He performs in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday
Airdit Gjikaj has always been “physically ambitious”. Perhaps that’s why the B-boying (or breaking) artiste from Germany pushes his body to the limits, to the beat of funky music as he whips through toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes – the typical moves of B-boying– and then some, at breakneck speed, with breathtaking dexterity and flexibility. “With B-boying you don’t have any borders of movement. The only thing that a dancer has to do is build a symbiosis between the music and the body,” says Airdit, in an email interview with MetroPlus.
Albania-born Airdit moved to Germany at the age of 13. His journey to the world of dance started with kickboxing, which he did for four years along his friend and fellow dancer Mario Schmidt.
“I always knew that I wanted to work with my body. The first time I saw breaking was at a friend’s house in November 1999, when I was 17. I watched a video of German breaking crew Break Attack and was immediately enthralled. I was a competitive kick-boxer but after a while I felt that there were no more challenges for me in my weight category. I needed a new outlet for my physical ambitions, my passion for acrobatics, my creativity and my love for music. So when I first saw breaking, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for,” says the 28-year-old. Airdit started dancing with Mario that same year and they founded TNT Crew. “I enjoy experimenting and creating innovative moves,” says Airdit, who now battles, judges, holds workshops and organises events on B-boying. He is also a theatre actor and runs his own clothing company, Endless Wair.
B-boying, says Airdit, is very much like kickboxing. “The only difference is that instead of getting physical with an opponent, it’s a battle of the minds and the moves. You have no idea what’s coming. You never know if the beats are going to work out for what you are thinking of presenting. You don’t know what your opponent is going to bring to the floor or how the judges are going to react to your skills. You feel an incredible energy running through your veins and in every muscle. You feel like you’re on fire! Before battles, the adrenalin level gets so high, that I feel like I am literally weightless,” says the dancer. He says he is inspired by the moves of world famous dancers such as B-Boy Storm, Lil G, Rubberlegz, Neguin, Petair, Roxrite and Lil Amok. “My biggest motivations, though, are nature, beautiful lyrics and art,” adds the dancer, who is on his maiden trip to India.
B-boying in India is still very much in its nascent stage. But Airdit feels that the scene will change in five to 10 years.
“From what I’ve seen thus far, I believe that B-boys from India will storm the breaking scene soon. Meanwhile, during my trip to India I hope to meet new people, hope to learn as much of Indian culture and sights as I can, and eat lots of vegetarian food,” says the dancer.
Catch Airdit’s performance at E.K. Nayanar Park, East Fort, at 7 p.m. on Thursday.