'Govt should support B-boying, as it is a provisional sport for Olympics': Arif Chaudhary aka Flying Machine
Mumbai-based B-boy Arif Chaudhary, aka Flying Machine, is not new to participating in B-Boying championships. After winning Red Bull’s Indian championship thrice, Chaudhary has been selected as one of the wild card entry into the Red Bull BC One World Final 2019. Ahead of the competition, 21-year-old Chaudhary tells us how he entered the B-Boying world, his preparations for the upcoming championship and how government should extend its support to B-boying now since it has been approved as one of the four provisional sports for Olympics 2024. Excerpts:
Q: How have you prepped yourself for this championship? Is the fact that you are the first Indian to reach the World Final of Red Bull BC One encouraging or pressurizing?
Arif Chaudhary: I am not really pressurised, I feel really positive and it’s a big moment. I’m prepping every single day – physically and mentally. Every day of my life, I think about my goals and I train for four hours after breakfast every day.
Q: When did you get hooked to B-boying?
AC: In school, I used to participate in the annual day functions and that’s how I started dancing. I must be around 10 at that point. Later, one of my friends showed me dance videos of B-boys and they inspired me to practise their moves and the splits and that’s how I entered B-boying. Eventually, I came across a place where a lot of people used to practice B-boying. I became friends with them and they helped me during my initial phase.
Q: Why did you choose your name to be Flying Machine? How important is it to have an alternate name in this profession?
AC: Actually, I didn’t choose this name. It was given to me by my crew member who saw me doing flips. I was very new to B-boying at that point and was trying to figure out my own style when this name was given to me and I really liked it and thus kept it as my name. Having a name like this gives us a different character and based on the name, we also build our own style and dimension. And, people start associating us with the name, which helps us in expanding our base.
Q: How would you describe the present scene for women in this profession?
AC: It’s really growing! Earlier, there were not even a handful of B-girls but now, there are at least a dozen just in Mumbai. However, it’s still slow. It’s a misconception that breaking is only a boy’s thing, it actually makes women stronger and we’d love to encourage more of them here.
Q: What’s your daily routine? For how long do you practice in a day?
AC: I wake up, set my intention for the day, eat breakfast and head out to training in the studio, where I practice daily for four hours at least.
Q: Is there enough support for breakers in India? How do you make yourself better at it? Who is your guide/mentor?
AC: There’s not a lot of support, everyone comes from a middle-class background and it is very hard to sustain your passion. I think there should be more government support, especially now when it has been approved as one of four provisional sports for Olympics 2024.
I take inspiration from everyone I meet. My guide is my crew Beastmode and mates like Omkar D who teach me something new every day.
Q: Have things changed for you after winning the Red Bull BC One Cypher India three times?
AC: Of course! I am approached by a lot of brands for work and due to that exposure, I get to do a lot of workshops and get called to different parts of the country, all thanks to the respect that Red Bull BC One has in the B-boying scene.
Q: This is the first time you will be competing on the World Final stage. Does the fact that you have won the India championship thrice already help in any manner?
AC: Every time I won BC One, I got to travel and compete internationally and that helped my growth and boosted my confidence. All this reflects in my journey so far and I am thankful for it. If I got down directly in the World Final in year 1, I wouldn’t have made it far because I was timid and didn’t have that kind of stage exposure at the time.
Q: Lastly, how do you plan to make breaking more popular and organised in India for the younger generation to pick it up?
AC: This year, I had set the goal to do more things for the B-boying scene and I organised a jam to celebrate the 10 years of Flying Machine earlier this year which had free workshops, cyphers and was a great place for us breakers to come together and bond. That was really inspiring and encouraging for our community. I also get into the commercial scene so younger breakers see that this can be a viable career option, and this helps in inspiring the younger generation to break barriers. I also try to share my experiences so that they get to see and be inspired.