Interview — Litefeet Advances In Singapore Dance Scene

We’ve all heard of Litefeet by now, but what is it, and where did it come from? We deep dive into its history and how it appealed to our local dance scene.

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Beginning in the early 2000s, the streets of Harlem and The Bronx welcomed the extension of Hip Hop — Litefeet. ‘Litefeet’ refers to the weightless movement and footwork used in many of the foundational moves. Some original moves include the Harlem Shake, Tone Whop, Chicken Noodle Soup, Aunt Jackie, and the Bad One.

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Litefeet was established as an independent culture and genre by 2006. Gaining popularity in New York, it was exhibited by renowned dancers such as Mr. 5000, Charlie Rocks, Chrybaby Cozie, and Mr. YouTube — some of the first dancers to make Litefeet popular.

Courtesy of Mr. YouTube (@mryoutube)

Over time, it stopped being just a trend and situated itself in the battle scene. There were Litefeet dancers around New York who created and mastered different styles of Litefeet.

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Initially getting lite to the rap music that was played by local DJs at events and parties, the scene evolved with Litefeet production. The ‘Litefeet Beat’ was conceptualised by D Cole, Knocka, and SNS. This advanced Litefeet music as more producers from all over the world came on to create more beats. The leading producers of Litefeet music of today include Kid the Wiz, Lil Live and Yushon Stroughn.

In the early 2010s, Litefeet gained media attention through record labels, artists, brands, and YouTube videos. This began an outreach to other countries like Japan, Italy, Argentina, and France, which then led to a much bigger outreach to the rest of the world. Eventually, Litefeet dancers started travelling, teaching, and competing, gaining more acceptance and interest in Litefeet.

The Waffle Crew was the first Litefeet team to be featured on mainstream media, and Kid the Wiz, a member of the said crew, brought more attention to Litefeet when he appeared on America’s Got Talent.

Courtesy of Waffle Crew (@wafflenyc)

With more social media exposure, Litefeet has also gained popularity internationally, helping the community grow on a global scale while upholding the values of its culture and history.

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Jumi Lite, aka the “Litefeet Icon of Asia,” together with his crew, XYZ Boyz, were the first international Litefeet dance team that helped to spread knowledge and skills in Japan. Of course, this also means Litefeet has spread to the lands of Asia, including Singapore. In recent years, we’ve seen the occurrence of Litefeet Hills Asia. Originating in Japan, this event has held many Litefeet battles and workshops since 2016. It helps gather Litefeet dancers across Asia annually. When the world went virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic, so did the event with an online battle tournament.

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Bringing it back to Singapore, we’ve had our fair share of Litefeet events. In 2018, Chrybaby Cozie Cozie held two workshops!

Courtesy of Torando 7 Design

In 2019, Bushido Wayne from France held a public workshop at O School, as well as private lessons with tertiary dance clubs in Singapore. He introduced how Litefeet’s foundation moves can be infused into dance choreography.

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Moving on to 2021, *Scape held a Street Dance Intensives for Litefeet. Mr. YouTube and Jumi Lite were invited for this 3-day ‘boot camp’ where they held classes, cyphers, went through drills, tricks, and power moves, and even provided Q&A sessions. It was required or recommended that dancers have at least a year of Litefeet training. Personally, I think that is a testament to how Litefeet has grounded itself in our local dancers.

Courtesy of *Scape

The Hybrid Series also held the first series of the 2 v 2 Litefeet Battle in 2020. Thirteen teams were judged by Aryll Azlin, the individual responsible for blessing Singapore with the artistry of Litefeet. Aryll also edits and produces music under the alias AryllBeats.

Being the face of LiteFeetSG, Aryll clinched the championship title of Super 24 with Lion City Lite! We managed to speak with him about this exciting experience and Litefeet in Singapore.

Dreamfellas: What was the inspiration behind designing a competition piece based on Litefeet?

Aryll: The main inspiration is to actually represent the style. Most of the time, Litefeet is generally recognised in the battle scene or publicly seen in a performance/dance class environment. At least, for LiteFeetSG, we do a lot of dance videos, so to actually compete allows us to showcase the competitive side of Litefeet in a showcase competition while pushing the limits of the style itself.

TThe inspiration comes from the members where I got dancers from the “past, current, and future.” The members consist of those who were around when I started to push Litefeet in Singapore together years ago with the current members that are learning. Not to forget, a handful of the team have not tried Litefeet but have a highly driven passion for being part of this team.

“Started from the bottom” is the main track that refers to the journey of the Litefeet scene in Singapore. It’s a form of celebration as it has come a long way, and we have slowly grown into a much bigger community. It’s not just the 24 of us but everyone supporting the style from the start. Some even competed with other teams, but this performance is dedicated to them as well!

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DFL: Congratulations on taking home the Super24 championship title! What’re your thoughts and feelings during and after?

Aryll: From the first day of training, I’ve always pushed the members to “win but not at all cost.” I believe joining a competition like super 24 is really a big deal but at the same time, I did not want them to sacrifice too much of their lives because most of them have their own commitments outside of dance that they have to prioritise most of the time.

Our thoughts as a team were simple. To push ourselves as much as we can so we can represent Litefeet well but enjoy every single training together.

We did a lot of conditioning and strength training that involved weight lifting, which was designed in relation to the dance foundations that we will be using. It really helps us be aware of how to execute the movement better while building our strength and achieving better movement quality. For me, I want us to understand that to be the best on stage, we have to train like athletes; to be physically and mentally prepared.

During the competition, our thoughts were laser-focused on doing our best without external distractions. We understand that everyone is bringing their ‘A’ game and preparing a ‘champion’ piece but we know we should focus on what we can control, which is us

The fact that it’s 2 days of back-to-back competition…my ultimate focus as the choreographer is to ensure my team has proper rest. Having a sports science background has taught me the importance of ensuring my athletes/dancers are more rested, especially during competition day. Any strenuous training during the competition will just hinder our performance quality, so I ensure my team still recap the dance when I need to without tiring them out. We already know our routine well as we trained very hard during the process for about 3 months. So we’re just there already prepared to compete while absorbing the atmosphere of the event.

The chance to go for another round during the top 2 was already a big win for the team. Three quarters of the members have not joined super 24 before and for them to be on that stage again, was a blessing. Being on that stage, I told my team that “we got nothing to lose” as I felt it was important to give our best and dance without worrying about what happens next. I feel we owe ourselves that much from all the sacrifices we’ve made this far.

Having my hand raised where it determined that we won. A lot of emotions flowed through my mind and heart. It’s crazy to realise how far this style has grown throughout the years, especially in Singapore. The win is definitely for everyone that has been supporting me in making Litefeet look as bright as ever. At the same time, having some of my own close friends whom I regard as my brothers being on the opposing team makes me feel sad as I know how much they really train and push in striving to win the competition. I’m grateful and blessed as I believe this win is especially for the whole community who worked hard to represent their style and beliefs to compete in this big event.

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DFL: Is this the last we’ll see of LCL?

Aryll: LCL is not actually an ‘official’ crew, but we definitely share the same interest and love for the style. We are currently preparing for a showcase performance — Danz Collective, and I believe there are other local teams that competed in Super 24 performing as well. So hopefully, the dance community will be down to watch and support the event.

Afterwards, it’ll be more of building more awareness of Litefeet in the dance community by doing more classes or workshops. We are also working on organising our own event where we will invite Litefeet pioneers and dancers worldwide. At the same time, we will likely be doing our own Litefeet recital. Everything right now is just in the discussion phase, so we really hope we can make this happen.

DFL: Is there anything else you would like to share regarding your championship or the dancers interested in picking up Litefeet?

Aryll: For me, personally, being a dancer and part of the scene since 2005 has brought me so many experiences and wins as well. That being said, winning a competition is a great feeling but not my main aim, especially at this time of my dance life. My purpose is just to represent the style at its best, which will always be my greatest achievement.

It’s also a great feeling to see my team members being happy and celebrating their wins. They deserve it as they trained as hard as anyone else and made many sacrifices. To me, at the end of the day, dance competitions are just a place to put your “dance to the test,” but most importantly what you gain from it after. Every single team deserves this win as I feel we represent our own styles and beliefs, for that, it’s important that we are together celebrating one another’s achievements because we are all one community.

I’m always open to conversations, not only about Litefeet but also about dance in general. An exchange of understanding will widen our minds and hearts to more possibilities and be more aware of one another’s vision of this artform.


Interested in getting into Litefeet? Check out some of these available options and platforms for you!

Aryll Azlin Classes

Aryll teaches Litefeet intro classes every Wednesday at O School where everyone’s welcome to train with him and gather more knowledge on this leaping style. Plus, he also provides foundation courses — keep a lookout on his Instagram stories for updates on this!

YouTube

Of course, one of our most loved platforms has plenty of tutorials available from an international range of dancers, alongside choreographies and cyphers to get inspired from!

STEEZY

And the highly acclaimed STEEZY provides Litefeet choreography classes, short movement, technique classes and a beginner program too. While most of these require a subscription, there are a couple of free classes for you to try before fully committing.

International Urban Dance Academy

This academy has a virtual course, the Litefeet Certification Programme, taught by E Solo. For USD 299, the four-month program aims to share the fundamentals of Litefeet. Things you will learn include codified dance techniques and social dances, improvisational methods and dance history. As with any other course, you will also be assessed regularly through visual and written tests.

What are you waiting for? Time to pick up your dancing shoes and get lite!

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