Popular culture has long shone a light on breakdancing, but various troupes are pushing the dance form to another level with shows that put the street moves onto stages across Canada.

Urban troupe Bboyizm, for instance, is making its Toronto debut with IZM and Evolution of B-Boying, both being performed at the Harbourfront Centre as part of the contemporary dance series DanceWorks. The group will also head to British Columbia later this month.


Dancer, choreographer and Bboyizm founder Yvon Soglo, who performs as Crazy Smooth, is bringing his breakdancing stage shows across Canada. (Bboyizm)

Dancer, choreographer and Bboyizm founder Yvon Soglo, who performs as Crazy Smooth, was motivated to create the stage shows after being inspired by "intellectually challenging" performances by companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Montreal's Rubberband Dance Group, led by a former member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

"Why couldn't my dance do the same thing?" he asked himself. "Why couldn't it be at the forefront of everything and have the same appeal or response as La La La Human Steps?"

Moving breakdancing onto a stage, away from the traditional proximity to its audience, was a challenge Soglo had to overcome.

"I don't want to change the esthetic of my dance just because I am presenting it on a stage, but at the same time I want to be aware that I am on a stage," he told CBC News.


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"As a street dancer [with a]

responsibility to my culture, to my people, I want us to be able to go into the performing arts world, stay authentic and have the same respect."

The stage shows have also given Soglo and his contemporaries a new creative outlet for exploring themes, topics, concepts and ideas — more than they might for a simple breakdance battle at a typical jam.

"I can get an opportunity to touch on themes that are more mature, things, as an artist, that I want to talk about," he said.