Exclusive Interview: Japanese Cult Dance Sensation BANG

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Bang is a Japanese solo dance performer who has his sights set on presenting his unique dance style to the world. His speciality is “Animation Dancing”, a creative freestyle dance form that has seen him tour throughout Japan as well as become the winner of the UK Dance Elite Championship last year. Last week, he brought his unique performance to Flyjam Creative Agency’s battle-of-the-bands style event in London, and MyM Buzz had the chance to sit down with him for an exclusive interview about his work.

Check out his style in this performance video the read the interview:

How did you first become interested in animation dancing?

“I used to be in a Visual Kei band before as a singer, and whenever we performed I would see my other members and I began to notice that I had a free hand. The guitarist, bass guitarist and drummer had to use both of their hands but I didn’t, so it made me think that maybe I should do something while I was on stage.

“At the beginning of a show the band would come on and there would be a backing track, the other members would have a guitar, or a bass, or drums, but since I had nothing to do I decided to start doing animation dancing. When we were onstage we would only have a 30 minute slot so I wanted to use the whole time; it was good for the audience and good for us because we had to sell tickets to perform and by dancing I could entertain them.”

When did you first begin dancing?

“About seven to eight years ago.”

What kind of dancing did you first start out with?

“I started with animation dance actually. I had never really thought about dancing before, but since I wanted to do something while I was onstage with my band I picked up dancing almost by accident. I wasn’t really into dancing to begin with, but I wanted to entertain. When I went on stage with the band members and told them what I was going to do, they all asked me, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ When the band broke up and I decided to go solo — I wanted to be a rock star!”

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How would you describe animation dancing to those that haven’t heard about it before?

“It’s basically a simple, modern robot dance. It is based on that style of dancing and brings together different kinds of dancing, like break dancing, Michael Jackson’s moonwalking, and other things to create a trick of the eye. It’s a strange mixture of everything, really.”

How do you come up with your various routines?

“I like to go with the flow. When you listen to rock music, for example, you know what it is and everybody knows it. Sometimes when you listen to music you can imagine the ocean or things like that, so basically I try to use my body in a way that can almost be seen as me writing lyrics. It’s about going with the flow. When I am creating choreography I don’t try to go with the music because my performance would then be limited by my skills. So, instead, I try to make an ideal choreography in my head and then aim for that in my performance. So I’m pushing myself all the time.

“Often, I am collaborating with DJs, like Takaki, in Japan, but their music is on a CD so I can listen to it and then I will know exactly what the choreography should be like. That is cool but I like to improvise things as well, so I would like to incorporate different dance styles in my work.”

Why do you like to use a gothic style in your dancing and appearance?

“This came from my own style, as well as my time in a Visual Kei band. I mixed up many different things that influence me and that created this look.”

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You have said that you like to make the audience feel at one with you as a performer, how do you do that?

“In my core I still have this rock star spirit so even though I am dancing I try to imitate that. I have seen all the different kinds of stages that use musicals, jazz and opera which try to connect in a more subtle way with the audience, and sometimes dancing is the same as that. But when you are in a rock concert it’s all about a rock star reaching out to connect with fans, so I have this nature in my heart. Even though I’m dancing I am trying to connect with the audience in various ways, I like to talk to them and get them involved.”

Are there any dancers or musicians that influence you?

“I like to perform and entertain people, but I think that breakdancing is quite close to what I want to do on stage. Mortal Combat is a Japanese dance group that I like quite a lot, and I also really like the Blue Man Group though they’re drummers, not dancers!”

What are your future plans?

“I have been touring in Japan already, and while that was very important for me I want to go to a variety of cities and places so that I can perform all over the world.”

If you would like to see BANG perform in the UK then the good news is that he will be on the main stage at Hyper Japan in July!

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