Yemeni teenagers teach themselves how to street dance

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A group of teens in Yemen’s capital taught themselves how to perform various styles of ‘street dance’ through videos they downloaded off the internet.

Having no formal training or a place to rehearse, the group dances in various open spaces around Sanaa.
The teens refer to their group as ‘Da TNT Crew’. Founded two years ago, the crew now has 13 members between the ages of 12 and 21.

Ali al-Slami, one of the group’s founders said their goal was to blend modern and break dancing with traditional Yemeni culture.

“We aspire to be like international groups and to promote our dancing inside and outside of Yemen, to develop our skills, and to blend Yemeni culture with hip-hop culture,’’ he said.

One crew member said the members of the group taught themselves the different moves from watching dance videos online.

‘‘Really, we watched videos and everyone learns the motions, step-by-step, and then the more advanced dancers help train those of us who struggle more,’’ Bassam al-Thibani said.

Founding member Mohamed al-Ogabi said that the group hoped to take part in international dance competitions in the future.

“We aspire to participate in international competitions, and show our strongest moves,” he said.

Dancer Mohamed Nabil said that young people in Yemen should be taking part in team sports rather than smoking or doing drugs.

“Instead of wasted time chewing Qat or taking drugs or smoking, we should care more about sport, and this is considered to be a sport, and it’s cultural, and if mixed with Yemeni culture, it’ll be nice,’’ he said.

The group, part of a growing number of teenage dance groups across the country, also blends gymnastics and martial art moves into their dancing.

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