BENGALURU: Sitting in her dance studio Break Brahma in Kasturi Nagar, 23-year-old Johanna Rodrigues talks gently, uttering each word carefully. Minutes later, she’s on stage, making fast and swift moves. Rodrigues, who recently represented India at Red Bull BC One World Championship in Mumbai, has shot to fame overnight on both national and international platforms for her breaking skills.
She joined breaking as an 18-year-old, despite not being convinced about structures and disciplines of dance classes. “I happened to be a part of Freeze, which is a national-level annual jam. I was amazed by their styles and practised some of them. Eventually, I started to take it up seriously,” she says.
Rodrigues credits her mother, a teacher by profession, who supported her in spite of her apprehensions. “Now, my mom finds me more responsible and focused, and able to carve my own path. She supported me when I decided to do a correspondence course instead of opting for a regular degree. This gave me time to pursue dance which I did at Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Wilson Garden,” she says.
This was the turning point in her career as she points out that Attakkalari helped her broaden her perspectives and be a professional dancer. “It gave me a platform with a world wide community,” says Rodrigues who has won the Project Street ART 2.0 jam in Delhi, Micro Black Ice Crew Jam and RedBull India B-girl Cypher, to mention a few achievements. Apart from this, Rodrigues has represented India at Asian Dance Sport Games, Takasaki. “Today, the techniques of breaking has been recognised in many fields, including theatre.
With breaking being recognised in the 2020 Olympics, Rodrigues hopes parents will encourage their children to learn the art. “It need to be on par with basketball and football. In Bengaluru the possibilities are growing. I know many full-time artistes who are sustaining on breaking. They take part in productions, take workshops, judge, and run a studio,” she says.
In future, Rodrigues, who is preparing for a jam session in Europe, wants to explore therapeutic qualities of breaking and bring more awareness through her studio.