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An ARM Speaks Up 01/12/2017

AT and friends at the Taipei Airport Together with B-Boy Moy, USA, Anniina Tikka, aka B-Girl AT and hailing from Finland, was only recently appointed an Athlete Role Model (ARM) through a letter by IOC President Thomas Bach. Now she serves as one of the five judges at the YOG Qualifier for Asia and Oceania in Taipei City, TPE. She is here on double assignment, holding down two jobs of much responsibility!

We talked to her about her appointment, about breaking in general and about the b-girls catching up with the b-boys.

AT, how does one feel as a newly appointed Athlete Role Model?

I’m really honoured and excited about the appointment as an Athlete Role Model and I look forward to working with the youth in Buenos Aires.

Obviously, there is a fair amount of responsibility that goes with the role. Your perception?

I take this role very seriously and will do my best in showing good example for the young b-boys and b-girls. 

Now that you know what is required of you, why do you think that you have been selected for the job.

For the past years I’ve been really active in the breaking scene in many different ways. On top of showing my skills on the dance floor, I’ve been judging, writing blogs, teaching workshops and educating people online with our platform B-Boy & B-Girl Dojo. I believe my work has proven my professionalism, it has shown that if I do something, I do it properly.

You travel the world teaching people to break and promoting the art/sport. What will be different when you teach at the BAYOG in October next year?

The thing that’s remarkable in the BAYOG is that this time the youth is in the centre of the attention, not the adults. This is something that doesn’t happen too often in breaking events with this kind of level - since the best dancers from this age group will be attending. They are the future of our scene and will definitely be the future role models for many up-and-coming dancers. That’s why working with them is very important and rewarding.

What is the spirit of "Olympism” for B-Girl AT?

Even though a competition is an occasion where you test yourself and your skills against other people, for me it’s important that the game remains fair, and that everyone enjoys the event. The Youth Olympic Games will absolutely be an enormous learning experience for many young dancers. So despite the outcome of the competition, it’s a great thing if everyone brings home a lot of inspiration and more understanding about the dance. Hopefully many new friends as well!

How do you believe that the YOG will influence the art/sport of breaking?

Training for this competition has already motivated many young dancers a lot. This will uplift the level within the youth. I also believe that YOG inspires many new people to try breaking, something which will hopefully increase the number of people involved.

You are one of not too many women who leaves her mark on different areas in breaking. Judging being one! You were the first woman ever to judge at the Silverback Open and you only recently judged your first BC One World Finals. Is breaking still too male-dominated?

Yes, the field of breaking is still very male-dominated but every year we see more and more girls involved and with high level skills. So little by little we, the women, are gaining more space and attention in the scene.

What is there to be done to get more women involved in all aspects of the art/sport? What can they do better than their male counterparts?

Many times the strength of a woman is ther ability to dance and the musicality, even though we also see a lot of girls with difficult moves that require a lot of strength. Girls often have a soft and groovy style, which makes the movement flow smoothly - as long as it’s done with good control. I believe showing good example, encouraging girls to trust themselves and presenting them with more opportunities are the best ways to get more women involved. 

What is B-Girl AT’s message to the breaking community, to other dancers and to the world at large as an ARM?

What’s very beautiful in breaking and dancing in general is that many people find themselves through it and start to flourish. Many times it helps one to find more self-confidence and to know him/herself better. So remember to be yourself and the dance will give you a lot back in return.

If you could turn the counter back by a few years, how much energy would you spend on making it to the BAYOG as a dancer?

Of course I would have been very motivated about this kind of opportunity. Most likely I would have been training like crazy, even though that pretty much was the case anyway.