One Cypher had the honor of interviewing Bay Area Dance Legends Medea Sirkas aka Demons of the Mind. This group has been dancing for more than two decades and have been one of the influential pioneers in strutting, boogaloo, and fillmore dance styles. We sat down with Fayzo, Charlie Rock and Fluid Girl and had one of the most enlightening, educating, interviews so far. You’ll discover that it was truly a memorable and inspring moment, as you read the rest of this article.
One Cypher: How did each of you get into dancing:
Fayzo: Wow, that’s a long story..Really I got into dancing, watching Sci-fi movies. You know like Attack of the Robots, Lost in Space, shows like that from the late 60s early 70s. I would see the robots in the movies, turning and looking crazy. I used to mimic that as a little kid. But then after awhile I started listening to music while doing what they were doing on tv. The first person that got me into the actual dance scene was a guy named Charles Marshall. When I saw him dance it was incredible, the way he hit, the way he moved, his animation and everything else was what really made me get into it as a hobby. I also used to dance at my church, I’ve always wanted to be in his group called Black Velvet around 1971-74, but I was too small. They always used to have talent shows at the church seperated by age groups. I remember it like it was yesterday. The other group of kids in the younger category all flaked out backstage. And I ended up going out on stage by myself, I realized that this is what I wanted to do. This was around 1972, and I’ve been dancing ever since.
“I can’t explain it. There’s just something in you… you can be walking down the street, if you hear a certain song, for some reason you just stop and start hittin… I can’t explain it, but the Boogalooers know exactly what I’m talking about, it’s just a feeling inside you, you just can’t help it. I love it, I’ll be doing it when I’m an old man with a cane”
Charlie Rock: I’ve been dancing since I was..hmmmm..almost in diapers, you know? We always had those family functions with your mother and father making you perform in front of the party. But as far as booogalooin, I’ve been doing it for awhile, but it was always behind closed doors. I would only do it here and there, in front of maybe three friends, and they would always tell me, “you need to go out there” so people could watch you, but I would never do it. Only in Jr. High School was when I first start letting everyone else se me dance. Then I started seeing different dance groups in Oakland like The Resurgents, Black Mechanics, Black Messengers, also individuals like Jessie, Newberry, and John Murphy. Just watching different groups inspired me to want to start my own group. There was this guy named Walter Franklin. During Jr. High School, we hooked up and made a little 2 man crew, called Tom & Jerry, then his brother joined along with some other dancers and that’s when we became Children of Production, who later on changed the name to Gentlemen of Production. It was just…man..I can’t explain it. There’s just something in you. For some reason you can be walking down the street, if you hear a certain song, for some reason you just stop and start hittin like bam..bam.(dances). I can’t explain it, but the Boogalooers know exactly what I’m talking about, it’s just a feeling inside you, you just can’t help it. I love it, I’ll be doing it when I’m an old man with a cane (laughs).
Fluid Girl: I grew up in a different era as well as a different area. I was born in California, but was raised in Atlanta. I was dancing since I was in diapers pretty much like these guys. My mom would make me dance at family functions. When I was younger, I actually used to host dance classes at my house. I’d get the neighborhood kids together and we’d teach each other choreography, I remember having little dance performances out on these porches. Mainly my influence growing up was watching music videos and seeing the dancers in the back. I remember watching Madonna videos and trying to learn every single move she would do, and keep practicing it. I think that prepared me for when I got older, because as I got older I got into the club scene, and I saw a lot of people doing a lot of waving.
On the East coast they did a lot of waving and liquid style dancing. I really got intrigued by that, because it was very illusional and had that performance aspect which was always in my blood since I was a little kid. So I studied it more and really got into it. I got noticed by a clothing company called Wish that did fashion shows. They called me to do fashion shows for them where I would wear their clothing and I would dance at their shows. I was later discovered by Shapeshifter in Georgia who threw different club events. They would have me dance at the clubs when the DJs spun.
After awhile I got bored dancing out there, I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. I knew that dance was what I wanted to do, but I felt nothing was really happening for me over there. So my husband and I decided to move to the West Coast, and we eventually ended up in San Francisco. I entered my 2nd competition here in San Francisco and started getting into the competing aspect of things. I wanted to get myself out there and get noticed, and I knew that competing was definitely a good way to do that. So I started getting into more of the bboy competitions, seeing and feeling the culture and aspect of it. I really enjoyed it and felt that’s where I was at. In 2002, I entered another competition, after the competition, this man came up to me (points to Fayzo), and then here I am. So it took me awhile, but it’s been really great.
One Cypher: How was the dance scene back then compared to now.
Fayzo: First of all I was born and raised in the San Francisco Fillmore District. Back then, we were too young to get around to concerts. So our concerts back then, were the talent shows. The celebrities were the dance groups and the solo individuals. In San Francisco, there was Black Velvet, Granny and the Robotroids, Live Incorporated, Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind, The Electroits, Monny and the Mechanical Midgets, the Diabolical Soldiers, you had all these other groups and whenever you knew they were performing, you did whatever you had to do to see them perform. There also wasn’t so much media behind it, newspaper hype, television, etc. The scene back then was more community based. All the groups that I just named, were all within a 20 block radius of the SF Fillmore disctrict. You had all this talent right there. That’s where it stayed, so to speak. You didn’t have New York coming out here looking for talent, or LA coming out here looking for talent. So San Francisco and Oakland were kind of lost in the sauce I guess.
A lot of things were innovated out here, a lot of the best dancers and dance groups were out here. Now it’s more commercial. More about making money from the event as opposed to taking care of the performers. So you have promoters that put on these shows but don’t want to pay the artist. They charge $25 at the door, but they want to pay you $200 to perform. That doesn’t add up. They’re also selling videos and making money from that as well. Back then we would have shows with a $1000 prize, you auditioned for it, and the winner takes all, boom…that’s how it was. It seems more money driven now than talent driven. It also seemed more competitive back then compared to now. Everybody had their own unique style. Nowadays everyone looks the same, whether it’s popping, boogalooing, or whatever.
Everyone member in the group had their own individual style back then. So when they would do their solo, you would get a wide range of entertainment from all the different styles combined. It was also forbidden to bite moves off of somebody else. It was an unwritten rule that you already knew. Nowadays crews will tend to bite and reproduce. For example, let’s say Peeblo is dancin lookin just like Bobby, and Bobby got it from someone else, and so forth. Now everybody is looking like Bobby who got it from the other person. So that’s the difference back then, everyone had their own style. You couldn’t bite and get away with it. You better go hide (laughs). To me, it seems that there isn’t as much innovation or individuality today. They don’t take something, flip it, and make it into their own. They take what they see and do it exactly how they saw it. To me, that’s not being creative.
One Cypher: How did the group come together?
Fayzo: We started off dancing individually. I personally started dancing in 1972. It wasn’t till 1978, I got into a group called Demons of the Mind. It was founded by Larry Mcdonald, who used to dance with Live Incorporated, one of the #1 strutting groups in San Francisco. He decided to break off and start his own group with 2 brothers. Aaron and Melvin Benjamin. They started Demons of the Mind. I knew Larry, and would see Aaron (A-1) and Melvin at Big Bob Boogie Basement parties and they would encourage me to try out for their group. I had a couple of groups of my own before Demons of the Mind, but they weren’t that big. There were other people who tried out for the group before me but didn’t make it into the final cut and eventually they talked me into going to rehearsal. That was the start of the original Demons of the Mind from 1978-83.
At the end of 1982 going into 1983, Larry left the group, then we got Lonnie Green in the group. That was the beginning of the 2nd generation of Demons of the Mind from 1983-84. In 1984, Melvin left, then we got Boogaloo Dana in the group and that was the final generation of Demons of the Mind. Demons of the Mind went their seperate ways in 1985. Around 1992-93, Dana and I would see people touch on this artform in the videos or whatever. MC Hammer and other artists would do it a little bit, but no one would really show the full spectrum of the dance artform. Initially we thought that getting into music videos would be the thing to do. But then we decided to be our own. Do our own music, our own costumes, and our own theatrical shows. So that’s what we started doing. So I hooked up with Boogaloo Dana, and a childhood friend of mine, Justice Supreme aka Cleo. We hooked up and started Medea Sirkas. We had a few names before that, but they didn’t stick. Justice came up with the name Medea Sirkas and the rest is history
The reason we changed was because we came back into the 90s doing this dance artform, and no one was really feelin it. Everyone was into the rap and the video dancing scene. No one really understood it except the OGs. There was one point in the 80s where you wouldn’t get caught doing these dances. By the time the mid-80s came, after Breakin, Beatstreat, and movies like those, the media just flooded the market with it, and no one wanted to see it anymore. So we had to figure out a way to ease it back into the game, where no one would really know what was going on till they saw us on stage. So we had to come up with another name that was neutral and universal. When we changed the name, and would do shows, people would see the style and approach us and say how we reminded them of Demons of the Mind. Then they realized that we were Demons of the Mind. So then people started recognizing us as Medea Sirkas aka Demons of the Mind.
As far as this guy (points at Charlie Rock). When we were Demons of the Mind. He was in an Oakland boogaloo group called Gentlemen of Productions which was one of the last active boogaloo groups of Oakland, CA. We were rival groups, going neck and neck at every show. Both groups had respect for each other, we would always say wussup to each other. But when it was time to go on stage, they would be on one side, and we would be on the other. Ready to go at it all the time. They broke up in 1985, and so did we. As Medea Sirkas progressed, we had different members throughout the group so when the last member left, it was down to just 2 of us. Other people tried out for the group but didn’t make the cut. So the first person I thought of after that was Charlie Rock. The moves that the other guy was trying to learn in 5 rehearsals, Charlie Rock learned in 30 minutes, and he’s been in the group ever since.
The story with Fluid Girl is that Boogaloo Dana and I were judging this dance competition and she was eating all the guys up. She had her own flavorful style. It was her own unique style, and it was feminine. She wasn’t out there trying to dance like a guy, and that’s what caught my attention. Boogaloo Dana said to me, “Hey Faze, you need to..” and I cut him off immediately and said “I’m already there”. So I talked to Fluid Girl, and we exchanged numbers and we hooked up.
Now with Zulu Gremlin, that’s another story. Zulu Gremlin was there judging too and he wanted us to do his Pro-Am event. I called him, we hooked up through meetings, etc, and for some reason we were just hangin out one day, and he told me that he always wanted to get into Demons of the Mind. I guess at Bboy summit one year, he was trying to get to us, but we were already gone. Back in the day, he used to watch us get down. He showed me video tapes of his own group when he was just a little kid. I had no idea that he looked up to us in that way. We needed a 4th member, and I told him to come to rehearsal and to try out for the group. He never did the style we do, but he was so determined and eager to learn, that we brought him in the group.
“It’s a huge part of my life, and I feel really blessed that I have the talent to be able to use this to the point where I can start to make money from something that
I really enjoy doing.”
I saw a lot of potential in Fluid Girl, but didn’t know what to do with her, I just knew we had to have her in the group. So for awhile she was in the group, but we didn’t have anything for her to do. So I tried her out as the mascot in the first pro-am, and had her do her solos. I just kept having her go to rehearsals just to see how everything flowed, and now she’s in the routines. As far as our mascot, Darryl Newberry, he’s an OG boogalooer from the early 1970s. He was in a group called The Black Mechanics. Dana brought him into the group, and I really liked his style. He had a nice Oakland boogaloo style with a nice robot style, so we made Newberry our mascot. We wanted the group to be balanced without having to recruit too many dancers. So we just kept Newberry as the mascot, and kept Fluid Girl in the routines, and that’s Medea Sirkas today.
One Cypher: What does dance mean to you guys and how has it affected your life?
Fluid Girl: It is who I am. It’s a form of expression, a form of release, you can’t just narrow it down to just one meaning. It’s so many different things, especially to me. I wouldn’t be who I am today. If it wasn’t for dance. I would go insane. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I go to a club and let loose, and I wake up the next day feeling rejuvinated. Dance has a broad spectrum of different things. For me whenever I dance, it’s a feeling that I lose myself in. It’s a huge part of my life, and I feel really blessed that I have the talent to be able to use this to the point where I can start to make money from something that I really enjoy doing.
Charlie Rock: Dancin is something that you can do anything with. If you’re angry, you can put on music and start dancing and you’ll feel better. If you’re sad, same thing. Even when you’re happy, you’re even happier. It’s everything. It’s changed my life.
Fayzo: To me, it means a lot of different things. Being creative in every aspect. Music and dance go hand in hand. It’s a stress reliever, it’s a way to release my creativity. I have a lot of creativity inside of me that has to do with dance and the costumes and everything else that we do. It’s a way for me to express myself creatively. It changed my life as well. It kept me out of trouble. As a youngster, it was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel this is what God put me here to do. Because after 30 years I’m still doin it. It was really meant for me to do what I’m doing. It changed my life drastically. I could’ve been way into something else. It’s still changing my life. Dance means everything to me. Aside from God and my family, dance is right there with them. I’m not going to stop doing it until God says I can’t do it anymore, no matter how old I am.
“The style that we developed was a San Francisco strutting style mixed with a little bit of Richmond style that involved a lot of fast hand movements. We combined those two which gives us our unique style.”
One Cypher: Who were some of your favorite dancers back then?
Fayzo: Back then, San Francisco strutting groups. Granny & the Robotroids, Live Incorporated, Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind, The Diabolical Soldiers, Black Velvet, those were some the San Francisco groups that inspired me a lot. The reason why I’m breakin it down is because in San Franciso we were strutting, in Oakland they were Boogalooing. As far as San Franciso individuals goes, the ones who inspired me were Charles Marshall from Black Velvet, Ben James from Live Incorporated. Legrandy Newman of Granny and the Robotroids, just to name a few. They all had their own different style that was off the hook. It inspired me to get more into developing my own style. I have different styles and sometimes when I do my solo I don’t know which style to do. As far as Oakland boogaloo groups I liked The Black Messengers and Derrick & Company. With individuals, John Murphy, Derrick from Derrick & Company, Newberry who is in our group and Chucky from the Black Messengers. All of these people inspired me to do what I do.
Charlie Rock: Black Messengers, Resurgents, Derrick & Company. Black Mechanics. I even liked Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind. As far as Individuals that I’ve seen, Derrick, Newberry, Rio, Hensley, Alfred Jones, Walter Friedman. As far as ones that I haven’t seen. John Murphy, Kearny from the Black Messengers, Chamber Bros. Donald Jones, there are so many people.
Fayzo: You had so many groups and individuals that were tight. It was hard to choose. It wasn’t even about any of the groups sometimes. It was about the band that played behind you. The band can break it down whenever you wanted them to. Coming out of the late 60s early 70s, the music back then was all played by bands. It wasn’t through drum machines. The bands were playing the baselines, the bands were playing the keyboards, playing the drums, so why not have that visual on stage as opposed to a record. But what started happening later was that bands would start to break up. Then we would have to try and figure out what music would come closest to what the bands were playing. So we found James Brown, Rare Earth Parliament, Ohio Players, Bootsy, Average White Band, Graham Central Station, Sly & the Family Stone, etc, basically all these funky groups who were bands who played this type music on records. So that’s when we started dancing to the funk records.
Later on we started thinking futuristic. We wanted to go faster. But didn’t have any music to accomodate to this. If you look at Demons of the Mind back then, we had on these shiny top hats and futuristic costumes but danced to funk music. George Clinton was cool, but it was too slow. Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind…and I’ll never forget this. They wanted to do more moves in a shorter period of time. So they took Ohio Players record, “Fire”, and put it on 45rpm. That was the first time I saw something like that. People started doing it after they did it.
Around 1977, Kraftwerk came out with a song Trans-Europe Express, it was slow on 33rpm, so unless you were doing something amazing dancing to it slow, it would literally put someone to sleep because it was too slow. It was good to listen to, but to see someone perform to it, wasn’t going to work at that speed. So what would you do? So we put it on 45rpm. And now we had a sound to go with the futuristic costumes. That’s all she wrote. Everything that was by Kraftwerk, we would buy. Anything by Kraftwerk, would fly off the shelf. Later in the 1980s Afrika Bambataa came out with Planet Rock which actually sampled Trans-Europe Express. As far as the music goes, it went from the Bands to the funk music, to the electronic music for the strutters in San Francisco. That’s what inspired us today as a group to produce this electronic style music that we dance to. We produce our own music, and we dance to our own music. Ofcourse when we do a funk set, we go back to the old songs to display the style back then.
One Cypher: What seperated you guys from the rest of the groups back then that you guys are still around strong today?
Fayzo: Perseverance, dedication, we feel that the artform that we do needs to be seen by all means necessary. What basically set us apart was that we stuck with it. The style that we developed was a San Francisco strutting style mixed with a little bit of Richmond style that involved a lot of fast hand movements. We combined those two which gives us our unique style. Our professionalism and our discipline too. In order to stay together as a group you would have to have discipline and dedication to do this artform.
If you look around, it’s only a small community that’s doing this artform. You don’t see it commercially too much. You see movies touch on it a little bit. It may have 5% of breakin or 5% of poppin, but then it goes right back into the commercial style dancing. Staying true to the dance form is why we are still here today. Staying true to the dance and true to ourselves. You have to be true to yourself in order to be true to something else. That’s the only reason why we’re really still doing this, because we love the art. We love the dance. We all love to dance, but the dance that we do is in our hearts, it’s embedded in there.
When I got the group back in the 90s, nobody was doin it. So how can you take a dance that no one was doing anymore, stick to it, and bring it to what it is today. You have to love it. People were clowning back then. But now people also tell us they’re glad we kept it going. Now if it wasn’t in our heart, we would’ve taken the criticism, and would have been discouraged, then start trying to be what we weren’t. Like try to rap, or do some booty shakin dancing, when really what was in our heart is this style of dance.
One Cypher: How about your routine style? It is very intricate and also one of your trademarks. How long did it take you to perfect that?
Fayzo: To sum it up, we’ve been doing it so long that it’s like 2nd nature to us. I think people got the basic idea for it when Close Encounters did the Fire step when they put the records on 45rpm. The way there were moving was a little slower than now, but was real intricate. If you look at the singing group, Temptations when they used to step together, that was like the early days of the step now. The objective was to make the moves between 4 to 5 different people and make it look like 1 person. So if we lock on and do a wave, it’s suppose to look like one person. As time went on, we started moving faster and now we have more intricate moves. Making it more difficult to the eye and making designs out of our bodies. Anything that you do over time, as long as it’s in your heart, you start to get more innovative down the line. So now it’s like 2nd nature to us.
One Cypher: How about the outfits? How did you guys come up with those?
Fayzo: I’ve been designing the costumes for the last 20 years or so. Everything you’ve seen us perform in, I would designed it and have someone else make it. At first, it was usually just the regular tuxedos. That was cool in the beginning, but it didn’t really fit with the futuristic style that we wanted. I wanted to take the look to the same level as the idea of the moves and the music. So the idea was to make everything fit in together with the music, the routine, and the costumes. We wanted to get creative with the costumes. not too much, but just enough so that it’s a Medea Sirkas trademark. So that if you saw someone wearing something like that, you’d automatically think Medea Sirkas. Each year I try to take the costumes to the next level. Fortunately with the grace of God, I’ve been able to do that. Before I put anything out there, I always get the group’s opinion to see if they like the design first.
One Cypher: Talk about the styles you incorporate into your routines? How do you feel this form of street dance affected the globe?
Fayzo: When you see our futuristic routines. It’s a combination of SF strutting style along with a little bit of Richmond style. We incorporate those styles along with other moves to make the Medea Sirkas style today.
Fluid Girl: As you know the movie You Got Served and all that stuff. I think more competitions that are catching on all over the US have really made the market more broad. The bigger the events get, the more the promoters go to watch and see the excitement and think, “hmmmm..maybe I can make some money off of this”. I think competitions are a really big part of how things came to be. The West Coast Dance Style is so different from East Coast style. I’ve lived on both coasts, and I’ve seen both styles. The East did a lot of waving, the West does a lot of tutting, and other styles. The b-boys too….man, they’re just nuts out here. They take all the moves out here to that next level. They’re both dope, but they just have very different styles.
I think the competitions have been a great way for dancers to express themselves. I’ve been fortunate because I’ve been able to mesh both East & West Coast styles. When I first came here, my style completely changed. When I came here I started learning from these guys and other dancers in the Bay Area. There is so much influence here that if you’re interested enough, you’re just going to soak it up. There’s been so much excitement here since the 1970s that you can’t help but want to be a part of it. I think it’s important for us as a group to show everybody what the San Francisco strutting style is because it’s a really big part of the Bay Area dance culture and everyone needs to see what we have to offer. For me being from the East Coast and coming and learning from Fayzo and the rest, I felt really blessed. The enthusiasm is there, and you can feel it. We wanted to share it with everyone. Dancing is about learning from each other. Gaining influence from each other and sharing creativity. We’re all apart of it, so we need to share it…as one community.
One Cypher: What were some of your most memorable performances?
Fayzo: We probably all have different ones. One of my favorites was in Austin, Texas. Before we walked out on stage, the crowd just went berzerk. They were screaming so loud that we couldn’t hear our cues. I had to do hand signals so everybody could see when to start. Another show we did where there were about 15,000-20,000 people there, all the people looked like ants. We came out of a space capsule filled with smoke with a black light inside it. So all you saw were 4 people glowing. When we came out, we couldn’t hear nothing, just yelling. It was so crazy that if we were to get lost in the audiences hype, we would’ve just lost it all and messed up. Those are my two favorites as well some of our other shows in the 70s and 80s
Charlie Rock: I’d have to say one of my favorites was from this one high school. Right when the curtains opened, it was like we were in a coliseum. It seemed like there were a million people in there. I also liked the performances at the Oakland coliseum, Scottish Rite Temple, Joaquim Miller…
Fayzo: Yeah that was a good one. There’s a lot more, but those are just some off the top of our heads.
Fluid Girl: I haven’t had that many, but they’ve all been my favorite so far. Every performance is my favorite just because I’m happy to be on stage. Whenever I’m up there, that’s who I am. Even when I get stuck, I’m still happy as I can be, because that’s where God wants me to be. So far, every performance will be my favorite….word! (laughs)
Fayzo: Word to your mother (laughs)
One Cypher: How do your kids feel about their dad being one of the pioneers in dance?
Charlie Rock: They love seeing me dance. Especially on TV. The would be like, “that’s my dad on tv!”.
Fayzo: They love it, they don’t know the depth of it quite yet. But they know that their dads are somewhat celebrity status or legendary status. When they’re with us, they always see people talking to us or talking about us. When their friends see us perform, they love it. They eat it up every time they hear about it.
One Cypher: Are your kids into dancing too?
Fayzo: Yeah, my youngest daughter has her own dance group now. A couple of weeks ago they entered a talent show and won $500. I’m real proud of her.
One Cypher: Is dancing a full time job for you, what is your life like outside of dance?
Fayzo: I consider it full time. Even when we’re not performing, it’s still work. Especially for me, when I’m not dancing I’m always working on something that has to do with the group. Whether it’s meetings, interviews, etc. So it’s always work. Whenever you’re in the entertainment business, modeling, acting, etc, it just doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop until you say you’re going to retire from it all. Because the phone is always ringing or you always have to do to work on your career. If you stop working on your career, then your career stops. So if you’re not doing something for your career every single day, it’s going to fall through. It’s always work, but it’s fun..we love it.
“With everything going on in the world, all the madness, the chaos, etc. Through out all that… dance is all we’ve got. This is our culture, this is what we love doing. Dance will never die. I don’t care what’s going on in the world. Dance will make you happy, music will keep you going. Don’t stop dancing! Keep on dancing throughout everything, dance will never die. Keep doing your thing…”
One Cypher: How about some of the movies such as You Got Served or Honey? Do you think they represent the real street dance culture out there?
Fluid Girl: No
Fayzo: Put it like this, for the true dance pioneers in poppin, boogaloo, struttin, etc, I don’t think that it’s a good representation for it. But for people that are into video dancing, it’s great for that. It’s almost like a……
Fluid Girl: A 2 hr long music video..hahah
Fayzo: Hahaha yeah a music video, or an instructional video. A lot of the kids that are into the video dancing, they’ll go get that just to get the moves from it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty good movie. I liked it. It’s just doesn’t have the representation of what we do with the original dance form. I’m not going say it’s a good representation of what we do, it’s not a representation of it at all. You have a couple of people that touch on it a little bit, or a couple of people breakin, but for the most part it’s like aerobic style dancing. It’s dope what they’re doing though, don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t have representation of the forms we do at all.
Charlie Rock: I don’t think they meant to represent this type of dance style.
Fayzo: I would say for the commercial aspect, it was great for that. But like Charlie said, I don’t think they were trying to represent this. But they tried to take little elements of everything, and mixed it together.
“You don’t have to be anyone else. Be who you are. Represent yourself. If you feel the music, feel it. You don’t have to dress like a certain dancer to feel it. Dress however you want, dance however you want. If you want to hit, and this is from a girls perspective…just hit… you don’t have to be a guy.”
One Cypher: What is your dance philosophy? Any advice for upcoming dancers?
Fayzo: First of all, love what you do. Be dedicated to what you’re doing. On top of that, don’t let anyone discourage you from what you really want to do. Don’t let anyone take away your goals. Pursue it till you get it done. Don’t let anyone tell you, that you can’t do it. Keep on doing what you love doing. You’ll always have obstacles in life, but the achievement is to overcome all that. If you’re thirsty and the water is over there, and all these things are getting in your way, if you keep on going and overcome all of that, you’re gonna drink that water and feel good. That’s the same as getting to your goal. Just knock everything out of the way. If you see something coming, knock it out of the way. If you see haters, brush em off and keep going. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do in life. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, dancer, whatever, keep on pursuing it.
Charlie Rock: Most of all, be yourself. Don’t let anybody change you. Be you.
Fayzo: The bottom line is stay true to yourself.
Fluid Girl: I want to add something from a female perspective. The dance scene is very male dominated. When I see a lot of female poppers, which are very few, I see that they feel like they have to match the male popper’s energy. Like they have to hit super hard or do masculine moves. Sometimes I feel like, “come on… you’re a woman.” You can still be a female popper and put like a little sauciness in it. That’s what I try and do even though I put a little male energy to get my hits out and stuff. But what I see a lot of women doing, is they’ll dress like a man. And that’s cool, but always remember you’re a woman. You can still represent as a female, and dance and represent just like one of the guys. You just have to get out there. You have to put yourself out there. You don’t have to be anyone else. Be who you are. Represent yourself. If you feel the music, feel it. You don’t have to dress like a certain dancer to feel it. Dress however you want, dance however you want. If you want to hit, and this is from a girls perspective…just hit… you don’t have to be a guy.
One Cypher: Any obstacles that almost led to Medea Sirkas breaking up?
Fayzo: With any group of more than 2 people. There’s always going to be someone who is slacking off a little bit or whatever. This particular group as Medea Sirkas, there was a time where we had to find new members. Put it this way, if everyone isn’t on the same page, it’s not going to work. Whoever is on another page with hidden agendas or whatever, they need to pursue whatever they need to do on their own. What we tried to do, is make sure everyone is on the same page. Right now everyone is on the same page and has their part in the group. As long as everyone knows what they need to do individually, we’ll be together as a tight knit group. It’s not even about us individually, but us as a group together. As long as everyone is on the same page, you will keep moving to the next level together. We never got to the point of almost breaking up, but we did get to a point when it was just down to me and Dana. It was because people were slacking off a little bit. You can’t run a dance company if there aren’t any dancers. If people show up late and you have this dance studio for only 2 hrs, it just doesn’t work. It was just a matter of getting the right members with the right attitude and right goals.
Charlie Rock: You gotta think, there’ll always be some kind of regulating on each other. For instance, if I’m slacking off, and someone doesn’t tell me, then I’ll keep slacking off. The regulating is what fuels everything and keeps it going. There’ll be times when me and Fayzo will be at rehearsal and be on each other’s nerves, but it’ll be okay right after rehearsal.
Fayzo: Basically we’re like a family, we watch out for each other. It’s a family thing, and ofcourse we’re going to have some disagreements. The objective is to state our opinion, work it out, and move forward. So when I leave rehearsal I won’t be mad at Charlie because we got mad at each other at rehearsal. Once we’re past that, we move on. Fluid girl is new in the group, so she’s always like, “will you guys just come on!” (laughs). Me and Charlie go at it, but me and Dana go at it all the time. We’ve been in the same group for 20 years so we always get into it. Bottom line is, when we leave rehearsal we don’t hold it against each other the next day.
Fluid Girl: I’m always mad at all of them, because they’re always fighting and I’m ready to practice (laughs).
Fayzo: She’s mad at us all the time. She’ll get to rehearsal, and we’ll be talking about something back and forth and she’ll sit there all impatiently. hahaha
Fluid Girl: My time is valuable! hahah
Fayzo: And then once there is a little bit of silence between us talking, she’ll be like “okay can we work now”. (laughs)
Charlie Rock: The thing is to leave it behind at rehearsal.
Fayzo: Once we leave the show, or rehearsal, we’re all kickin it. It’s all cool. It’s like a family. Business is business, but we’re all friends, and that’s a good thing. We all have each other’s back. If someone’s in the group with a hidden agenda, it’s not going to work.
One Cypher: Tell us about your DVD coming up
Fayzo: It’s basically about the history of Medea Sirkas. In order to talk about our history, we have to talk about the groups before us such as Granny & the Robotroids, Close Encounters of the Funkiest Kind, Live Incorporated, etc. It also the history of San Francisco, Oakland, and Richmond dance forms and how it all came about.
One Cypher: Where/when can we buy it?
Fayzo: We don’t have a date yet, but we’ll have a new website up real soon. You can go log onto www.medeasirkas.com to find out more information. It’ll be for sale on the website as well as out there in the stores. We’ll keep you posted on the release date.
One Cypher: Do you currently teach any classes?
Fayzo: We do teach, but not as much we would like to. We’re finishing up current projects that are keeping us busy. We’ll teach more classes soon and we will keep u posted
One Cypher: Any last words:
Fayzo: With everything going on in the world, all the madness, the chaos, etc. Through out all that… dance is all we’ve got. This is our culture, this is what we love doing. Dance will never die. I don’t care what’s going on in the world. Dance will make you happy, music will keep you going. Don’t stop dancing! Keep on dancing throughout everything, dance will never die. Keep doing your thing…
One Cypher: How about a quick shoutout?
Medea Sirkas: We’d like to give a shoutout to One Cypher! Dennis and the whole One Cypher staff. One love to yall. We appreciate you guys comin out to interview us. One love, keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re website is off the hizzle for shizzle!! haha!
One Cypher: That’s a wrap!
Medea Sirkas: Peace!