DANCE DANCE ASIA – Phnom Penh & Vientiane Tour (2015/12)
AREA ROCK STYLER / Enjoy the unknown!
AREA ROCK STYLER fuse three different styles to dazzle us with whole new possibilities of dance. Just before they left on their tour, we spoke to the six members about the strength of their friendship that is born out of the mutual respect they have for each other, as well as the challenges they are looking forward to taking on during the tour.
How did you form AREA ROCK STYLER?
TAICHI : We had all been working with separate groups since our junior high school days, though we often came together for contests and events. Our dance styles are different, but you could say we knew what we had all been doing before since we were kind of rivals, and we used to hang out together too. Four years ago, we came together to appear on DANCE@HERO, because we thought it would lead to more interesting things than dancing with people from the same style of dance.
Please introduce yourselves.
ITTON : I’ll introduce GENTA! Normally he’s a bit boisterous, but when he dances he concentrates on a single point and dances hard. He’s a dancer who can dance while also presenting his own worldview within a wider one, and he can set audiences alight with his movements! Please look forward to seeing him dance!
GENTA : RYUICHI dances the same style as me and, being the same age, we have known each other from around high school. But if I’m honest, I didn’t like him because Mad Skills Styler, the group he was doing with YOSHIKI, got featured a lot in the media. (Laughs) But we got talking from a certain point and I could see he was a really passionate guy, and then we became friends. His dance is dynamic and he is able to excite both people who know dance well and those who don’t. He is very good at coming up with ideas and he’s an all-round talent. He’s a great friend who I can trust and rely on!
RYUICHI : Okay, I’ll introduce HIDEMARU. I invited him to join AREA ROCK STYLER. He is from the same area as me and when I saw him at a breakdancing event, only he seemed to shine out. At the time, no one knew who he was but I was sure he was perfect for us, so I convinced the others and now he’s an indispensable part of AREA ROCK STYLER! He’s cute, with a loveable personality. He’s the most slightly built among us but his dancing is stylish and his silhouette is cool. Look out for him!
HIDEMARU : I’ll introduce the AREA ROCK STYLER leader, TAICHI. His strong build is the opposite body type to mine. I love his dance; it’s dynamic and really cool. Actually, I’ve never said this before, but I’m a b-boy and so when I was studying hip-hop I watched videos of TAICHI. He’s really friendly and he holds himself together well. He’s the perfect person to be the tolerant leader of AREA ROCK STYLER.
TAICHI : YOSHIKI is a team player, and also someone you can go drinking with and consult about a lot of things. When all of us come together, sometimes you may overlook something, but YOSHIKI is always looking around him and quick to volunteer to do something. He’s friendly and gives you a sense of security. He’s normally quite cool-headed but he can also be a bit mischievous to get his way, which is pretty cute. (Laughs)
YOSHIKI : ITTON is always positive and brings a lot of optimism to the team. He’s always laughing and doesn’t really put himself forward, but he’s actually a really passionate guy and he loves AREA ROCK STYLER.
How did it feel to get the offer to perform on this tour of Phnom Penh and Vientiane?
GENTA : I was so happy! The whole lineup of the group can’t go this time but everyone who can attend will be giving it their all! The tour will offer us experiences we can’t get in our normal lives, so we want to try really hard!
HIDEMARU : Everyone gets along really well, so I’m really looking forward to going overseas with these members, dancing, and interacting with the local people.
ITTON : We will probably be stimulated in ways that aren’t possible in Japan, so by sharing this with everyone I hope we will be able to see new visions for the future of AREA ROCK STYLER.
RYUICHI and YOSHIKI also took part in the tour to Jakarta in August as the unit RECKLESS. Will that experience have an influence on your trip to Phnom Penh and Vientiane?
RYUICHI : On the Jakarta tour we added a story based on the dance we always do, but this time we’re letting a worldview take the lead. We haven’t created a performance before that pushes the worldview to the front like this, so actually we’re all a little nervous. I had the idea for the worldview setting, which we then fleshed out together.
Last time in Jakarta, we thought there needed to be some points in the story that really excite audience and we were sure we could pull that off. For this tour, our new challenge is to integrate the exciting dance parts within the story, rather than seek to win applause just through the story itself.
YOSHIKI : In Jakarta, the way the locals watched our performance or the attitude they had toward dance when taking part in the workshop was really straightforward, so I danced and felt something I had never felt before, and this was really moving. I don’t think you would get that level of feeling in Japan. We were moved by our interactions with locals at the performances and workshops, so I want to try to feel that same kind of sensation in Phnom Penh and Vientiane.
Are you excited or nervous about anything ahead of this tour to Phnom Penh and Vientiane?
TAICHI : When we put this team together, though we all had dance styles we were good at, we looked forward to the things we did not know as a group. In the same way, we are also really happy and excited about going to places with a different culture and customs, and being able to show our dance and attitudes.
Of course, we are also uncertain about many things. Though we all have our own experiences, we’ve never made an AREA ROCK STYLER performance that was over 10 minutes. Every time we rehearse we are enjoying the unknown feelings that come from making something new, as we talk about how each time something new gets created but it stops being interesting the next day. We are really looking forward to showing this in places where we aren’t known at all.
Finally, please share with us a message for the local people you will meet on the tour!
TAICHI : This is the first kind of show like this for AREA ROCK STYLER, plus we will be performing in new countries and for new audiences. We want to leave a strong impression, so we will be sharpening our “color.”
In our 5-10-minute performances, we created them with a direct understanding of where we want to show the most exciting parts. But this time we will perform for 20-30 minutes, so we are thinking more widely and setting the highlights throughout the performance.
We’ve never created a dance like this before, which means we could exchange new kinds of opinions and learn new sensations. So for us too, this has been a fresh and a very positively stimulating experience. It will help us to increase our texture and depth. We are looking forward to unveiling the results of this outside of Japan, and it will also be exciting for Japanese people too, so we want to confront this challenge with all our efforts.
Posted – 2015.12.18
This post is also available in: Japanese