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Krazy Kujo - The Interview - Part I

Written by J LA (Runique) on 17 January 2006

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DancerZone was out to Los Angeles and met one of the most known B-Boys around the world. Krazy Kujo, member of the breakdance crew Soul Control, also known as just Kujo. Kujo has been out of the b-boy scene for a couple of years. Everyone has been asking what happend to Kujo! We talked to Kujo and have got news about him, his past and his great come back! Go ahead to read more about Kujo.

At the end of the interview you wil be able to watch Kujo's NEW VIDEO REAL.

Krazy Kujo is one of the most known and innovative B-Boys and dancers in the world. After founding his B-Boy Crew Soul Control in 1995 he caught a lot of international attention with his crazy and animalistic dance style. He was touring, performing, competing and judging competitions worldwide. After appearing in the award-winning music video clip, Run DMC vs. Jason Nevins - "It's Like That", Kujo made an immediate impact on the world-wide B-Boy community. Kujo’s credits include working with names such as Run DMC, KRS-1, Eminem, Pharaoh Monche, and Naughty By Nature. And also artists like Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, the Wu-Tang Clan, Big Daddy Kane, and Kool Moe Dee, just to count a few of his long list.

The Interview - Part I

DancerZone: Hi Kujo, it’s a pleasure to meet you. You are known as Krazy Kujo, but what is your given name?

Kujo: My given name is Jacob Lyons.


DancerZone: Why did people start to call you Krazy Kujo?

Kujo: Well, that’s a funny story… “Cujoâ€? was a character from a Steven King movie. He was a dog that went psycho and began to eat people. My friends thought it fits me because of my wild hair and beard. I was really animalistic and the dance style and persona that I presented in public was like the dog in the movie. And then when people saw me dance, they just said, “Did you see that? He’s crazy!â€? And there’s also a train station in Osaka, Japan called “Kujoâ€? - I’ve got pictures of me hanging from the ceiling in front of it.


DancerZone: Do you mind telling us how old you are?

Kujo:
 I'm 29 years old, and I’ve been dancing for 14 years, since High School.


DancerZone: We know you live in Los Angeles right now, but where are you from - your roots?

Kujo:
My Parents are mainly European - Irish, English, Polish, French, and Dutch, and then we have some Native American blood, too: Cherokee on my dad's side and Lakota on my mom's side. So there are a lot of different influences.


DancerZone:  How did you start to dance?

Kujo: I started dancing in High School. I was 15 years old and I started with a group of hip hop dancers with who I went to school. We basically started in the streets and they showed me some moves. Mostly I learned by watching. We practiced on the grass, on cardboard, and in the streets. We had no dance studios and no videos - nothing like that. We had to make everything up, to figure out how things could be Imagedone by making a lot of mistakes - crash a lot, get hurt a lot, things like that. After High School all of my friends stopped dancing, but I felt like I had something more to offer to the B-Boy world. I picked up moves really quick, especially the harder, more acrobatic moves. So, when I went to college I found another group of people - 101 Tribe and Master Movements - and I took things to the next level, partly with their guidance and inspiration. Later on, in 1995, I formed my group, Soul Control, after meeting another group called Soul Swift. My previous crew was called Floor Control, and we combined the names.


DancerZone:  Yeah, Soul Control is a name itself. But what was before all of that? What did you do before you started dancing?

Kujo:  Before I started dancing I was a troublemaker! *laughing* I was just a young, angry, and very rebellious kid who was looking for trouble, though not with the law. But I was definitely going that way. I had a lot of friends who were doing bad things, and some went to jail for a while. A lot of my friends were gangsters. But my parents caught me before I got to that point. It was enough fun just to hang out with crazy people like that. I didn’t need to be one of them; I never joined a gang, never went to jail, and have never even been arrested.


DancerZone: What stopped you from crossing that line? Was it your self-discipline?

Kujo: No, I had no self-discipline then! It was partly because of dance, but even before that, my parents caught me and stopped me. They put me in an institution - not jail or anything, but something like a psycho ward. It was a rehabilitation center, but there were crazy people in there. They put people there who were alcoholics, drug addicts, or a danger to themselves or others. It was meant to be preventive, not punitive. So I was in there for a while, and it was there that I discovered Hip Hop culture through magazines I had access to. When I got out, I started High School in a new city, and I met all these people who were part of this culture I’d just adopted, who wore the same clothes, and who listened to the same music. And that was it…I thought, “Here I am! This is what I’ve been looking for!�


DancerZone: So, the Hip Hop culture kept you out of trouble?

Kujo: It went both ways. It kept me out of trouble, and it gave me something positive to focus on. But it also got me into more trouble. All that stuff about dancing being a channel for violent energy is bullshit! B-Boys are, and always have been, violent people. It’s just a fact. When you look back at the old Bronx B-Boys from the 70's, they were all gangsters, and they all fought. Any of them will tell you that. When I started dancing in '92, it was the same thing. When there was a battle you had all your friends with you and they had their friends with them. There would be one dancer going against another dancer, and at the end of the battle, they fought. And it wasn’t just the two who fought; everybody rumbled. As we got older, though, there was less of that, and dancers just battled. But in high school it was like that, at least here in L.A. and the San Fernando Valley.


DancerZone: You told us that you have already been dancing for 14 years, but do you have any professional training in dance?

Kujo: In Breakdancing, no! It’s been 14 years of being self-taught, and just watching people and learning by example. I looked up to certain people, though never quiet idolized anybody. There was never just one single teacher who showed me everything, but certain people showed me some stuff here and there, like Little Cesar and Wilpower (Air Force Crew). They gave me a lot of motivation, right at the beginning. Fresh and Freez (L.A. Breakers), Ace (Master Movements), and of course my own crew Soul Control - we all taught each other everything. We all tried to learn from each other, so we shared all of our moves and ideas. As far as formal training, I have been doing things like Gymnastics and the Circus Arts, during the past 4-5 years. More recently, I began doing Modern dance, which I studied for two years, and I also studied Ballet for another two years.


DancerZone: Wow, Ballet. You don’t hear that very often from a B-Boy.

Kujo: I know it sounds very strange for a B-Boy to say, and that’s exactly why I did it! For my entire career, I’d been doing whatever I felt like doing, with no one to really correct me and tell me if I was doing something right or wrong, and even when people did try to correct me, I would ignore them and do it my way! So I realized that I needed some structure, and what better place to start then the most structured dance on earth? Plus, I was very motivated to join Cirque Du Soleil at the time, and Ballet is practically a requirement for every artist they hire. So it was a career move as well. There’s much more to it than this, however; I was also keenly interested in the principles of Classical Art in general - how it impacts the performer and the audience intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and how it impacts us in a very different way than, for example, popular art. But I could go on about this for hours.


DancerZone: That means you don’t take everything as given. You try to change things. Why?

Kujo:  Well, yes, I’ve always tried to find ways to take things to the next level and not to be stuck in the past. So I’ve begun to combine traditional and non-traditional dance with a scientific approach. I’m a full-time university student studying Kinesiology, which is based largely on Biomechanics and Physiology. Simply put, it’s the study of human movement. So I’m beginning to understand, scientifically, how and why we move the way we do. I’m also able to figure out how to move more efficiently in the various movement-forms I study, so everything makes more sense to me now. I’m bringing this understanding into Breaking, Ballet, Modern, Circus, Gymnastics, and everything else. So I’m approaching these movement-forms scientifically and creatively, instead of limiting them to the traditional approach. This has led to a revolution in the way that I teach, as I don’t teach Breaking from a traditional standpoint - Toprock, 6-Step, Baby/Chair Freeze, etc. - but from a creative and scientific standpoint, where you’ll learn certain movements and positions with a certain technique not because they were done with that technique for 30 years, but because, scientifically, it makes sense to use that technique… it’s biomechanically efficient, whereas the traditional technique might not be. My classes and workshops reflect this: I teach my techniques because I know they work, not because they were discovered by accident 30 years ago, and I show and prove this in every single one of my classes.


DanzerZone: You didn’t have always the science background. And when I look at some of your old battles, I wonder if you have had a lot of injuries? Image

Kujo:
 Ohhhh yes, I’ve torn ligaments in both of my thumbs, sprained both thumbs, broken two toes, and sprained both of my wrists more times than I can count. I’ve also had more concussions than I can count. I had one concussion where I hit my head so hard that I sprained my neck and went blind for a day. I’ve torn both my eyelids, and I even got blood poisoning from stepping on a hangnail. I was trying this one style of Breaking where you do footwork and poses by stepping on your hands. My dirty shoe must have infected my finger, and it spread all the way up my arm, to my armpit. It was really scary, because I could have died! I had to keep an IV needle in my arm for two weeks, and I injected the antibiotics myself. Of course, I kept dancing with the IV in my arm. It was great.


DancerZone: Do you think it’s possible to make a living from Breakdancing?

Kujo:
Yes, it’s very possible. It depends on what you get into. Here in Los Angeles it’s very possible, but it’s very hard and only a few people can really make it. But the ones who do make it do very well. I think Europe is a great place to make a living from dancing as well, because you have the support from the government, especially in France.


DancerZone: But what is with the time limit as a dancer, especially as a B-Boy?

Kujo: Of course we have a time limit on our careers, and it’s much shorter than that of a regular job. So we have to get as much done as possible in a relatively short time. You have to make as much money as you can, while you still can, but at the same time prepare a back-up plan for later. This is why I’m back in school pursuing a Kinesiology degree, and going to Massage school at night, and putting a lot of the money I make into investments!


DancerZone: Speaking of money, how did you finance your life before you started dancing professionally?

Kujo: I was a poor kid, a real poor kid, and I grew up on welfare. I also had the poor kid’s state of mind: I didn’t think I’d ever grow up to be anybody significant. So I was lazy, unmotivated, and had no ambitions, other than to just dance and enjoy myself. I got little jobs here and there, whatever I could get, but nothing I’m proud of. It was the same kind of crap that most dancers do on the side while they focus on making their dream a reality. Finally, when I started to get offers to travel - first to Germany, in 1998 – I realized that I could really make something of myself through Breaking. Then in 2000 I released my first video, Kujo: The Flying Water Buffalo. I finally began to generate an income from dance, and was able to quit working 5 years ago. I’ve been earning a decent living from dance ever since.


DancerZone: Kujo, what is your opinion about DancerZone?  

Kujo: My first impression was how professional the site looked! It looks like it’s going to be a great way for European and American dancers to connect, and eventually, dancers world-wide as well. Keep it up. 


DancerZone: Kujo, we would like to ask you what is your next step? Where can we see you again?

Kujo: Well, I’m working on several new DVD films now to bring my name, and my crew’s name, back into the scene, and to piss people off! I’ll be doing another project of my own, and we’ll be doing a Soul Control video/documentary. First and most importantly, though, will be a DVD tribute to Pablo Flores, the air flare pioneer who passed into the next realm in August, 2004. Our crew member Charles - Pablo’s brother, partner, and student - is spearheading this project, and we’ll all take part to make it happen. I will also be battling a bit more, with and without my crew, though not very often - I’m almost 30, and some of these moves really hurt! My crew hasn’t been very active during the past few years. We’ve gotten older, and most of us now have children and/or careers (no kids for me yet, though). But we still have so much talent. We’re all so much better than we used to be! We’ve grown and matured a lot over the years, both as individuals and as dancers. So we’ll be back out there soon. We’ll battle a bit, do some shows and workshops - just be out there - working, dancing, networking, inspiring and motivating people - like we did when we were younger. 


DancerZone: That’s great, that means we’re going to hear your name more often. Is there someone who supports you?

Kujo: Currently I’m sponsored by Scifen Clothing, a big-name brand in the Hip Hop world (but not so much in the B-Boy world), which was created by, and is owned by a crew member of mine named Barmak. I’m also sponsored by Wild Style Technicians, a B-Boy/Graffiti clothing company in based in San Diego, California.


DancerZone: Is there someone you want to thank?

Kujo:
  Way too many! *laughing* But of course, the people who inspired me. My parents, my crew, Air Force Crew, L.A. Breakers, Master Movements, Battle Squad, the few teachers I’ve had, and especially my detractors: all those people throughout the years, who wish I would just quit dancing and left the scene altogether, have only made me a much better dancer, and only intensified my desire to succeed. They’ve given me the most motivation to keep going, and to do as much as I can to create, inspire, and shape future generations of B-Boys and B-Girls.


This was the first part of our interview series with Krazy Kujo. We are going to publish the next part later on.

ImageKujo is a member of DancerZone - his username is KrazyKujo

Check also out his brand new and very cool website www.krazykujo.com 

Here you can watch Kujos very new Video Real!  KRAZY KUJO VIDEO

Last Updated on 25 June 2006.
 
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