Krumping hits a note of nostalgia for anyone who grew up on the floors of blue light discos or with the songs of the 2000’s in our ears. No one could do it well (and I mean no one). At least not like the pros. But it was a fad that took over nonetheless.
Originating in early 2000’s in the streets of South-Central Los Angeles, and evolving from the Clown Dancing styles of the 90s, krumping spread across the world in little pockets, creating communities of connection, family – and with a significant tie to faith – a place for praise and worship.
Photographer Rachel Main stepped into the Melbourne krump scene in 2007, starting out as a dancer before becoming the ‘community documenter’. Inspired by David LaChapelle’s film Rize, she was taken with the rawness and intensity. “It had this transcendent quality where the dancers became totally immersed in the moment,” she told VICE.
Main first started attending classes taught by the OG krumper, Homer ‘Kaos’ Eugenio, with sessions held in the suburb of Dandenong by The Royalz Fam. From that moment, she was swept into the scene on a never ending wave.
Over the last decade, Main has dived into the lives of her dancers, not only documenting the wild-spirited krumping on Melbourne dancefloors, but also their personal lives, and behind-the-scenes personalities.
“I have literally seen some of them grow up from teenagers and young adults to who they are today,” she said.
“And although there are people who may not dance nowadays, they are still considered brothers and sisters.”
For the women of the scene, krump offered a myriad of opportunities, as well as challenges. “It allowed women to express themselves, connect with others, overcome fears and challenge stigmas associated with movement and femininity,” said Main.
Though she’s written a 7000 word dissertation on the subject, in a nutshell, the female to male ratio of the krumping scene has always been unbalanced, leaning more towards male participants. As a result, her latest body of work, Session Queens – to be shown at this years PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography as part of the New Photographers exhibition at James Makin Gallery - looks to highlight and celebrate the women and girls of both the Australian and Aotearoa (New Zealand) scene.
Throughout the project we gain insights into the effect of krumping on each woman's life. Her pictures catch the hard hitting movements, the raw emotion and, in portrait, the calm exteriors of her participants.
Though the numbers of dancers in the scene have fluctuated over the years – the initial numbers of Krumpers falling since the 2000’s – the community continues to linger, connected by their love for dance in a tight knit community.
“Globally, krump has spread to many parts of the world and the Melbourne scene has continued to respond and reflect the developments that have taken place,” she said.
“Now, the physical movements of krump have evolved, as well as the knowledge and teachings.
“Newer generations of krumpers have continued to build upon the foundations laid down by the krump pioneers.”
'Session Queens’ will be showing at PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography. as part of the New Photographers exhibition at James Makin Gallery - a showcase of the best emerging photographers in Victoria. The festival will be running from the 29th of April to the 22nd of May 2022 in Melbourne and across Regional Victoria.
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