Breakdancer, Lil Cheng's inspirational story
Formbar speaks with breakdancer Lil Cheng about moving, shaping, and his inspirational dance against The End!
"There is nothing that could give me so much love and so much fun"
Gengis Ademoski, better known as Lil Ceng, is one of the world's best break dancers.
An exceptional movement artist, born in Macedonia in 1991, at the age of 16 he became a permanent member of the Flying Steps crew, who together won four world championship titles.
Since the very beginning, Lil Ceng has also been part of the team for the “Flying Bach” show, a cult combination of breakdance and ballet that has enjoyed success around the world and has already delighted hundreds of thousands of viewers.
In this formbar interview, Lil Ceng talks about dreams, energy, indescribable feelings and the chance that changed his life.
"The more spectacular, the better"
"Dancing is my life and my future" - the quote comes from you, a strong sentence. How did you discover dancing for yourself?
Since I was little, I've wanted to be on stage, to be an entertainer, to move. My brother and I always jumped over things, did handstands, just tried everything. When I was ten years old, I saw breakdancing on TV, a show called Viva, the dancers were mega impressive, really good.
And you thought - I want that too!?
Yes exactly. But the first thing I thought was: uh, wait, what is that? In Germany, Breaking was not so well known back then, many did not even know what it was. But I thought the moves were just amazing and I really wanted to learn them.
...and stand on the stage.
In any case. It must have something to do with my love for films. I used to watch a lot of karate films, that's why I was always very motivated to do something with my body, preferably nothing so normal, but the more spectacular the better.
"Even as a child I was a non-stop breakdancer 24 hours a day"
How do you get started with breakdancing? Imitating the moves on TV in the living room?
Indeed yes. Then you try a few things in the gym or on the street.
I was fortunate that I got to know break dancers pretty quickly in my home town Saarbrücken, who taught me a lot and who are still good friends to this day.
My cousin was also a role model, we used to train a lot outside, on the pavement, in front of an audience, with applause. Of course that was even more fun.
Did you only have breakdancing on your mind as a child?
Back then I always imagined what it would be like to dance on stage in front of thousands of spectators.
My daily routine after school was always like watching a cassette with breakdance videos and stretching while doing it, it was a kind of ritual, after which I often trained for five hours or so. And in the evening just before going to sleep, I watched the videos again. This was my day. I was a non-stop breakdancer 24 hours a day.
How did your career get going then?
When I was training in the youth center in Saarbrücken I was with a group called the Kingsize Group...
Then i received a request from the Stuttgart Breakers that they wanted me to dance with them at the German Championship.
I already knew the guys, they were at a very good level, that's why I took part, we progressed and we ended up winning won the thing.
So it turned out that I had two groups to dance with, I was able to develop really well, I was constantly improving.
"I gave everything, the audience freaked out"
You then gained your first international experience very quickly...
Yes, I was only 12 or 13, but it started with Korea, Japan, other countries too. As if it were yesterday, I remember a battle in Holland, where the best breakers from Asia, USA and Europe come together every year. I was allowed to represent Germany, but the day before I got a chance that changed my life.
Wow, that sounds exciting. What was going on?
It was a contest for the best power movers in the world, I was registered but didn't want to take part, a friend had to persuade me, for which I am grateful to this day.
I was 14 and there were 140 b-boys, as I said, power movers like me, everyone to audition, the two best get into the final.
When I was looking around while warming up, suddenly next to me was the best Korean, a real star, something like the Cristiano Ronaldo of breakdancing, the hottest guy, I only knew him from videos, his name was "The End" and he did things that would break an army into pieces.
Did you speak to him?
Yes, I asked him in awe: Are you The End? When he said “yes” I just thought, okay, shit, now I'm dead.
Then we all danced ahead and in the end it was said: The two best are The End and Lil Ceng!
That was awesome, of course, I didn't know what to think or do anymore.
But then I said to myself, no matter what, I'll give it my all now, I have the power, I have the energy to defeat him.
I had the greatest respect for The End, but I wanted to do my best. I put in three rounds like never before in my life, the jury couldn't decide, we had to dance another round, I really gave it my all, the audience went crazy.
"After that evening, the whole world knew my name"
Did you win?
Yes, the jury chose me as the winner with a 2-1 vote. It was amazing: the best breakers in the world and I won that thing!
Before I was known in Germany, after that evening my name was known all over the world.
That evening got everything rolling, changed everything. Suddenly everyone is looking at you and talking about you, its unbelievable.
Shortly afterwards you became a crew member of the Flying Steps. You were 18, breakdancing is your job, you are a professional, RedBull is one of your sponsors. Which experiences in the last few years do you particularly remember?
Wow, that's difficult, the breaking has brought me all over the world, we had shows at the Eurovision Song Contest, at Formula 1, at a championship party of FC Bayern or at the 150th birthday of the SPD.
I think I've been to Stefan Raab's TV show 10 times, we also won an “Echo”, the special classic award for the Flying Bach show.
We dance to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, so breakdance meets ballet, youth meets high culture.
In short: I've been around a lot and I definitely owe a lot to my sport.
"I always believed in it"
Where have you been?
The question is more where I haven't been (laughs).
I have traveled all over the world with several shows, with Flying Bach, Flying Pictures and Flying Illusion, all outstanding projects.
We were on tour in the USA, Australia, South America, Asia.
Sometimes I was in 30 countries in a single year.
These experiences, the memories are priceless, no one can take that away from me.
How did you manage to live your love of dancing, to be able to experience so much and to earn money with it?
It was just always my dream. I always believed in it. It was clear to me that I had to go this way.
I wanted to be a dancer, just wanted to have fun on stage. That's what I always wanted.
After I finished school, I agreed with my mother that I could concentrate fully on dancing for a year. We wanted to see if I could make a living from dancing.
But after a few months it was clear: I have to dance, it makes me happy, no matter how much money I earn. You can't pay for this passion with any money in the world.
How much do you exercise?
Six hours a day. Sometimes more sometimes less. When we have a lot of shows and travel a lot, it's less because you have to be fit for the next gig.
"If you want something, you have to fight for it"
Do you feel like a role model?
The fact that you can get to know the whole world with your passion, with what you love, is certainly a role model for others. A role model that you can really do it.
Even if it still feels unreal to me sometimes when I get on a plane again and a few hours later have a show in a foreign country. But it only shows me that if you really want it, you can achieve it.
This applies to everyone, no matter what you do. It's up to you: if you want something, you have to fight for it, then you have to give it your all. And then you will be rewarded too.
I believe in destiny.
So is life shapeable?
Yes, life is shapeable!
If I hadn't believed in my dreams, I would have stayed where I was. But I believed in it, shaped my life myself and made my dreams come true.
You are now living your dream!
For me there is no other job that could give me so much love and so much fun, everything that goes with it, it's incredible. It's a dream job. If someone could see with my eyes what I am experiencing, they would immediately understand why I love dancing so much.
"You feel as light as a feather, you are floating"
What exactly is the fascination?
They are indescribable feelings. When people see you and freak out, you suddenly feel light as a feather, you are floating, you have such energy, such strength, that is no longer normal.
Or at the big shows: When I see children happy, laughing, amazed, including their parents, that just makes me happy. All the training is worthwhile because all pain is forgotten.
We think that furniture from formbar suits you very well with its special shape and enthusiasm, what do you think?
Sure, its a perfect fit!
When I open my dance school soon, I definitely want to have some formbar furniture as well.
The designs are so modern, they have something very special, they are unique.
I also want to make something unique out of my dance school, so that fits like a glove.
Lil Cheng, @cengstar, thank you!
Awe my bru, good luck with the the beautiful shapes in South Africa!