Red Bull Flying Bach is the breakdancing-to-Bach live sensation that’s taken Europe by storm. As the tour reaches Vienna this week, we ask one of its stars, Mikel of Flying Steps, what makes it such a phenomenon.
We know what’s cool about breakdancing – what’s cool about Bach?
That the music is so multi-faceted – it can be very harmonic but then powerful and explosive!
What part did classical music play in your life before working on Red Bull Flying Bach?
I know one or two well-known classical pieces that are nice to listen to, but I’d never listened to classical music at home. Because of our show I have discovered it for myself.
'An old lady came up to me and said, “The show was lovely to watch"'
The show involves two worlds and two creative languages colliding. What challenge did this pose for you personally?
Many people think that classical music and hip-hop have absolutely nothing in common. But they share many of the same components. If you combine these two very creative worlds, you can achieve some unbelievable results. You just have to believe in yourself!
Which moment in the show most gets your pulse racing?
One special moment is Benny and Yui’s duet at the end. Benny hits Yui, and at that point the audience don’t know how to react. Maybe they don’t like the guy clipping the girl round the ear, or maybe they don’t like the duet… will they applaud? It’s a great moment!
What’s the best audience comment you’ve overheard about Red Bull Flying Bach?
An old lady came up to me after the show and said, “The show was lovely to watch – I felt Bach wrote the music specially for it.”
Where would be your dream destination for putting on the show?
Dubai, so that I could get to know about the life and the culture. Las Vegas to get to dance Red Bull Flying Bach there – wow! I thought we were going to set the town alight! And Toronto – my sister lives near Toronto, so I don’t get to see her very often. To be able to dance for her was a very special moment for me.
Can you tell us about a memorable moment on the road with the crew?
[Laughs] The journey to Ludwigsburg was pretty funny. We laughed a lot and the young ones played cards. We had a long journey ahead of us, which seemed to be getting longer and longer because our GPS wanted to take us somewhere completely different. After nearly eight hours we finally arrived at the hotel… a never-ending road trip. But we had a lot of fun!
Bach wrote part of The Well-Tempered Clavier from prison (after getting on the wrong side of the Duke of Weimar). Where and when are you at your most creative?
At our Flying Steps Dance Academy in Berlin. You had days when you didn’t make much progress and days when you almost exploded with creative ideas.
'People have become far more open to new things'
Bach once threw his wig at an organist’s head for being mediocre. What makes you angry as an artist?
As a human being, one should try to be open. That doesn’t mean that one should accept everything, but one should always keep a respect for what is new. When Red Bull Flying Bach began I had some doubts about how people would react. But the experience taught me that people have become far more open to new things, and that makes me happy.
Describe your dream block party…
The party of my life would be in Berlin with all our family and friends. The dancefloor would be big and many b-boys who we don’t get to hang out with much would be there, like Lilou. We’d dance to something funky, maybe Kool And The Gang. I think that would be a good way to party.