B-Boy Pappu (Pappu Khundrakpam) is part of a close-knit community of breakers in North-East India.
The 22-year-old is currently studying civil engineering in his hometown Imphal, Manipur.
He hopes to invest his future earnings in promoting the culture of breaking in his city and is eager to introduce more people to the art form that has changed his life.
As he prepares to compete in the finals of Red Bull BC One Cypher India 2022 with the top-16 B-Boys of the country, he offers a peek into his life as a breaker based in Manipur.
When did you start breaking? How did you discover it?
I started breaking in 2014 after I watched a video from Red Bull BC One 2005 World Finals. I used to do flips and tricks earlier and wanted to dance, but never got into it. When my friends and I saw that video, we all got into breaking together.
How would you describe your breaking journey in a few sentences?
When I started out, I used to look at breaking as a hobby. But over the years, I’ve grown to love it and I hope to make a career out of it. My plan is to finish studying, get a job, and use fifty per cent of my income to support my passion for breaking.
What is the story behind your B-Boy name?
I use my real name as my B-Boy name because I want the whole world to know who I am. I want to popularize my own name.
Which crew(s) do you represent currently? Have you been a part of any others?
I currently represent Imphal Breakers Crew. I used to be a part of MINIONz Crew.
Do you remember your first battle in a breaking competition? How was that experience?
I do remember my first battle. I wasn’t very experienced back then. I was really scared and nervous, but the audience was quite supportive. Over time, I’ve become more confident.
Where do you usually learn new moves? Do you invent them or look to social media for inspiration?
I watch YouTube videos for inspiration, but I create my own moves too. My crewmates and I come up with new moves by experimenting and exchanging feedback. There are no breaking workshops in Imphal, so it’s not easy to learn from others.
What is your training schedule like?
All of us in Imphal Breakers practice in the morning and evening from Monday to Saturday. We train for six hours each day. We rest on Sundays.
What is the one thing you love most about breaking as an art form or culture?
My life changed for the better when I started breaking. It has helped me create an identity for myself and I’m really grateful to the art form for it.
What has been your greatest achievement in breaking so far? And what is a goal you hope to achieve?
My greatest achievement so far is my selection in the top-16 of Red Bull BC One Cypher India 2022. And my next goal is to win the title.
It’s also my dream to promote breaking as a dance form in Manipur, because there aren’t too many breakers in this part of the country. Right now, we don’t even have a fixed place to practice. I want to build a studio for breaking so that all of us can train in one place.
Which B-Boys or B-Girls do you look up to in India and internationally? And why?
I look up to B-Boy Hip, who is also from Manipur. I’ve learnt how to do power moves from him. Internationally, I admire B-Boy Lilou for his character and control.
How many editions of Red Bull BC One have you participated in? Share your personal best memory from the competition.
I participated in Red Bull BC One last year, when there were online qualifiers. This is my second time. The best part about the competition has been meeting other B-Boys from around the country and getting to know them.
Do you have any other favourite memories from the history of Red Bull BC One overall?
I once went to watch B-Boy Hip’s battle at Red Bull BC One. I really enjoyed watching him on that stage and it motivated me to try performing on the same platform.