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GET FAMILIAR: KELLY SHEILA BIGIRINDAVYI

Posted by Vaibhavi Vanvani on

In anticipation of this years' edition of the important international hiphop dance festival Summer Dance Forever, taking place online August 18-26, Patta presents a trio of interviews with key figures in the world of dance. We're kicking off with Kelly B, who forms part of the XGENCREW. Get Familiar.
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Hi, for our readers who may not be familiar with you: could you please introduce yourself and your craft?

Hi, my name is Kelly Sheila Bigirindavyi, I’m a mother and someone who is very passionate about dance and it’s culture.


Can you tell us how you fell in love with the art of dancing?

Coming from Burundi, music and dance has always been around, for whatever occasion.

However growing up in a different environment here in Holland, I became more and more selfconscious, so whenever I saw someone brave enough to express themselves through whatever artform and especially through dance, it would always shift something in me.

So I guess my background was the seed and then music video’s followed, dancemovies such as ‘You Got Served’, as cliché as it may sound haha, gooving around with friends inspired by those video’s and movies etc.

All of those things triggered me into searching whatever I felt, was something bigger than I could imagine and how it was more than just the moves.

And then..I got invited to join my friend and her family to this dance event, not knowing this world even really existed and not knowing how big of an impact this would have on me. Funny enough, this event was Summer Dance Forever. So you could say SDF was my very first encounter with this culture and it made me decide then and there, that this was what I was going to do in the future.



What is it about your specific style that made you gravitate to it over other dance styles?

Honestly whilst being introduced to different styles within this scene, I had a hard time choosing because the more knowledge I gained about a specific style, the more I got to appreciate it. But eventually I could not focus on everything all at once so I decided to let my body guide me into what style felt the most honest and which I could connect with on different levels. As in ; the music, the community, the movement and how it alignes with how and who I am as a person. So in Hip Hop and Housedance I found that, but I keep learning from other styles aswell in order to express myself the way I would like to, beyond the styles.



Can you describe the Summer Dance Forever festival for our readers?

I always say it’s like a family reunion, from the first time (2012) until now it has been something I look forward to every year.

My first impression was the fact that so many people, who were not even able to communicate verbally..as they came from different countries, understood each other so clearly just by sharing through music and dance. Besides that I feel, it’s the biggest platform that introduces people to the different dance styles and artforms within this scene, where you can gain knowledge in many different ways and get inspired by people from all over the globe. The week is packed with lectures, battles, theatre performances, workshops and afterparties.


This year the festival will take place online because of Covid-19. For a festival/competition where energy of the crowd is key, how will you maintain this energy?

True, I guess by appreciating the fact that there is still something happening until we finally get to be at Paradiso again, cause let’s be honest, that’s where the magic happens. But also, I’m sure this experience will have alot to offer aswell, which we might not have experienced in the same way live. I just see it as a more intimate setting.



What are some of the adjustments you're most anxious about? What are some of the adjustments you're most excited about?

I’m most anxious about the uncertainty when it comes to the scene and events like this in relations to Covid-19. Hoping the measures are temporarily and we will be able to maintain this scene, come together and build again.

I’m most excited to witness how people have developed within these times, as we all got forced to spend a good amount of time by and with ourselves.


Your partner Argil is a known popper in the scene. Do you draw inspiration from each other's style and in what way?

Definitely, we dance together often so it’s inevitable that you take inspiration from each other. Just simply by exchanging with each other may it be through movement or energy.

Also by being able to talk about our personal vision with each other and reflect on where we are and where we would like to head to or what we would like to learn and develop.


How do you keep yourself from creative blockage, where do you take your inspiration from?

When it comes to blockage, I either go back to why I started in the first place, so whatever gives me the feeling I had when I first started out. It could be music, a video or a person that reminds me of that feeling. Or, I draw inspiration from my opposites, for example dancers that have a different approach within their dance and therefor maybe a different perspective on things. This is just by observing and trying to interpretate this for myself and how I could use it as an inspiration. But inspiration comes in many forms, I just try to stay aware of my senses.


How do you always keep yourself and your dancing evolving?

Mostly by observing where I’m at or how I feel both physically and mentally, reflecting, allowing change.. to not hold too firm to the belief I have of who I am or should be.