Have you seen a breakdancer “destroy” the dance floor? We certainly did at Bloom Arts Foundation! Baptista Kawa -AKA Bboy Bathy- is one of the latest dance teachers to join our program. He is teaching children to enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes from breakdancing.
Bboy Bathy is a 24 years old professional dancer from the Democratic Republic of Congo who recently moved to Los Angeles, California. He is an incredibly talented performer whose powerful moves, dance steps, and choreographies are completely self-taught. He did not have the opportunity to attend dance school or receive any type of arts education growing up. He practiced and practiced through break beats that he searched on Google, and with friends who were also into breakdancing. His passion started with love for hip hop and music, and then naturally extended into breakdancing. He enjoys educating his students on the history and culture of hip hop and passing on his love for the music to his students.
Bboy Bathy listened to Ndombolo music growing up and this had a huge influence on him and began his love for music and dance. Ndombolo is a Congolese music genre and dance style that is very popular in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as in Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar. “It did have an influence on me and everyone because it brings joy and it’s also the music that people play while celebrating”,explains Bboy Bathy.
He discovered that he loved to dance in 2011, and a year later decided that he wanted to make a career out of it after getting paid as a dancer for a performance. Now, as a dance teacher, he looks back at the reasons behind choosing the dance teacher career path and lists several of them: “I decided to become a dance teacher for the next generation. I love teaching kids because they are the future. Sharing my knowledge makes me happy and I always learn from teaching”.
In his classes, he sees his students trying hard and one of the common mistakes is when they want to be the best the very first day. He believes that breakdancing comes easiest when “you “take your time and love it. Patience.”
A neighborhood walk led to an introduction for Bathy to Bloom!
When Bboy Bathy was still living in DRC, his long-distance girlfriend, Sharon, was walking her dog around her neighborhood in LA and stopped to chat with a neighbor, Radhika. They started talking about dance and Radhika shared the excitement building at BAF around Breakdancing being added to the 2024 Olympics. She mentioned that BAF was looking for a breakdancing teacher for their students. Who knew that Sharon’s boyfriend was a professional breakdancer?! Radhika was blown away with Bboy Bathy’s talent when Sharon showed her Bboy Bathy’s dance reel. BAF interviewed Bboy Bathy and once they heard more about his years of teaching breakdancing classes and his passion for teaching they hired him.
The breakdance classes are 45 minutes long, and he teaches from 3 to 8 kids per class. Since joining Bloom Arts Foundation in March 2022, he has discovered outstanding behavior in children that makes his job even better: “The kids are very polite and kind”.
The power of music
Just like in America, Bboy Bathy saw in his homeland how arts education wasn’t something incorporated into the core education curriculum. “People always take it as a waste of time and something that street children could do. That’s how they think of it in my country”, he explains. As a matter of fact, his family disagrees with him becoming a dance teacher and pursuing it as a career. Since the breakdancing style is an urban dance, some people have misconceptions around its history, culture and value. Some even mistaken it for other dance types such as Capoeira or Acrobatics.
Bboy Bathy makes sure that his classes are fun and full of knowledge to tackle these misconceptions. Kids love them and enjoy the challenge of learning the intricate breakdancing movements. As a professional dancer and teacher, his life changed: “Dance has helped me mature, meet people, and travel the world.”
He states that he feels like a “hero” when he starts dancing. His students think of him that way too! When he freestyles or demonstrates for his students there are always awe-struck exclamations of wow, wow, wow filling the air as his students cheer him on as he spins on the floor and backflips across the room! Kids around the world, as Bathy has witnessed, love break dancing and, even to this day, he remembers how inspired, powerful, proud, and full of joy he felt after teaching them dance moves to the fast pace rhythm beats for the first time.
“I think break dancing is like therapy. When I’m anxious, I dance, and it helps that feeling go away. Also, through our movements and while dancing, we send messages.” BAF is grateful to have an incredible teacher like Bboy Bathy to pass on those messages through his dance of hope, joy and confidence to our students.