Back to Our Hip-Hop Roots!

Well hello there readers of Dance.Write.Repeat!  It’s the one and only Mister Breton back at it with an article in conjunction with the community theme this month! The article we have today is to not only let the current generation realize how far we have come in the dance scene locally but for the older generation to reminisce the good old times! Without further ado, let’s jump in!

In our current age where dance schools are readily available and classes are easily found all over the internet, have you ever wondered how dancers learn their moves and where did they do it back in the days (where it wasn’t so convenient)?

If you do, this article is for you! Here’s a little Q&A from an older dancer – me – for the younger generations to know more about street dance back then and a good chance for the older generations to reminisce!


Before places like *Scape or the Changi Airport basement become the popular place to practice/ session (dance lingo for socialising for the sake of dancing) with friends, the heartlands were the main gathering area back then.

From school studios to community centers or even the humble void decks, these were the more common places to see dancers hone their craft back then. Although the space was small and not to mention the lack of mirrors at those places, the experience was fun and also trains our mental capacity as we had to try and catch the steps when professionals did it.

It kind of promotes a sense of closeness as everyone would gather to see one person teach rather than looking at the instructor using the mirror from the other side of the studio.


Back in those times, street dance classes were not common at all. Heck, it was hard to even find a proper place in Singapore to learn street dance.

Before big names like O School, Danzpeople, Recognize studios, etc. came about, local dancers all had one common place to learn dance from, called Youtube.

Yes! believe it or not, many moves were learned by re-watching various online dance tutorials and painstakingly practicing it till it looks like the video. Example of moves varies from the smallest of finger waves to BBoy moves like a simple baby freeze was learned through the internet!

From there, dancers would head down to places like a common space at the HDB blocks to share their what they have learned online! Speaking of sessions


In the era where apple was still known as only a fruit and android sounds like a name of a really cool robot,
nokia for dwr 1
this, the unbreakable Nokia phone, was probably the one that you would have owned if you were lucky back then. Unless you did purchase songs from the already limited library of the store(bear in mind there was no such thing as iTunes as well), it was uncommon that you would have songs on your phone to session.

But like all determined people, dancers will not stop till we find a solution.


And this was it! The Sony Erikson Walkman that if you were lucky enough to be at the receiving end of one back then from your parents (really lucky you), was the only way to get music was either:

  1.  Download the songs using a Youtube to MP3 converter software and burn all the songs into a CD and pray the disc is not corrupt.
  2. Record it with the voice recording app that comes with the phone and pray that the rest can’t hear the screams from your parents to get dinner in the background.

So, that’s the music settled! Wait… is there another question?


Speakers have gone through a series of evolution themselves as well! In the past, the only speakers non-dancers know were the ones that were mounted to walls in schools to serve announcements.

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As expected, there was no X-mini or JBL speakers unless you were a time traveler.
We had the old-fashioned multi-purpose boom box that could function as a radio and CD player, tape player and much more. Although the sound quality was not the best, it was pretty good considering the technology then and its portability was a huge plus factor!

Unless there is really no choice, the last resort was always phone speakers.

Why would I say that phone speakers were the last resort?  Back then, phone speakers don’t possess the quality to play music the way the phones today could and as mentioned above, the library of music on the phone was really limited, for example, when Nokia released its first music downloadable, I remember the songs that were listed were What I’ve done by Linkin Park and You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. Imagine dancing to those tracks at that time!

That’s all the Q & A for now folks!

As always, if you have any suggestions on what you would like us to cover, do drop us an email at, or message us on our social media handles on Instagram and Facebook!

Stay tuned for more as we Dance, Write and Repeat!

If you have enjoyed this little sharing here, do check out our previous article too! 😉


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