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Salahudin Nemley

How did you discover dance?
I first discovered dance when I was first saw “Breaking 2 Electric Boogaloo” and was amazed watching Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers dance as “Turbo” in the movie, lol.

What first got you interested in dancing?
As I got older I showed interest in other things but in high school I was asked to join the school dance team and when I first stepped on stage and heard people screaming my name – loving what I was doing – is when I really knew that this is what I had to do for the rest of my life.

What were you performing in the beginning? What stood out?
Well in the beginning I was doing what the teacher taught, but what stood out to me was always what I saw on TV like break dancers and what Michael and Janet were doing the real high quality stuff.

What have been other dances that have stood out to you?
Me being a choreographer it’s not just dance that stands out to me. Anything that grabs my attention pretty much like the circus, movies, cartoons, anything. My imagination is very active lol.

Way of working? — Self-correction or outside critique?
Before I even start the process of teaching a routine I like to map out everything in my head first from beginning to end; but like I said earlier I have a very active imagination so it never stays the same when it comes out.

Were our worst critics when it comes to critiquing and we welcome outside criticism as well because without someone telling you what they don’t like about the routines or anything your doing for that matter how would we advance to become great?

Was there ever an instance, as a dancer, when you felt everything came together in a performance? That it was close to perfection?
Ahhhh man yes lol. We did a show at Amazura called “You Got Served Dance Competition” and we did a “300” theme based piece and it came together soooo great. It was amazing and moments don’t come like that often but when they do you remember it for a while.

What types of things are involved in being an OPC member?
Being an OPC member is pretty hard because we rehearse more than any team that’s coming out of Queens or has come from Queens. Also you have to be a real humble individual because a lot of times we don’t have a studio to rehearse in so you have to be willing to do it in the street. We just grind hard and if you’re not ready for that type of life then we will kindly tell you to leave.

What kind competition do you have?
When you’re an “urban” team your competition is always going to be the classic styles of dance like ballet, modern, or jazz etc… And that’s something that we’re trying to change.

What type of dancing does the OPC promote?
Our dance style is a mixture of different styles mixed into one so you will see glimpses of a lot of things in our performances – never just one set style. So I guess you can say we promote our style lol.

How long have you been involved with OPC?
Well I created OPC and we started in August of 2006 and where we are now from then was a loooong road – trust me lol.

For people trying out for the team – what qualities are you looking for?
We look for performers not just dancers in OPC. We don’t just dance we act in our pieces and move our bodies in ways everyone isn’t used to. So you will just have to be willing to step outside your box every time we create something.

Do you use your body movements to express your feelings?
Well dancing is one of the greatest uses of express so we might not be conscious of it but every time we dance you will see the way we were feeling when we created a particular piece whether it is smooth, sexy, angry, happy, or sad.

What style of dance do you prefer?
I’m a hip-hop based dancer but I dance off pure movements so if I had to pick based on that I would say contemporary because it’s full of emotion and strong but yet gentle and smooth.

How do you dance: with your mind,with your soul, with your body or with your heart?
An idea of the routine starts in the mind, your body puts forth the image, the emotion you have to put in the performance comes from the soul and it takes a lot heart to get on stage in front of people that can either enjoy what you do or hate it every other night.

Does every step in a dance have a meaning?
When you make up a routine there’s always a point where your steps have a meaning which goes back to the emotional connection with your performance.

Being a professional dancer needs sacrifices: do you think that traveling all over the world for performances affects your private life and your relationship vis a vis your family?
You have to be able to have a balance between the 2 but at the same time you can get home sick and start to miss life at home. So you have to make sure the relationships you have besides family are strong enough to handle something like that.

How do you face the female dancers in your group?
On OPC I treat everyone as equals, so the same way I would face the men is the same way I face the females but I’m still mindful that with a female the emotions are different.

Have you ever felt something more than friendship for a partner?
Definitely when you’re on a unisex team you get to know each other on professional levels and personal levels. So the attraction/curiosity comes sometimes you act on it sometimes you don’t. But whatever the situation you have to know how to separate the two.

What do you feel and think when you are on stage?
Wow first your feel the nerves always lol. But just before they call your name it goes away and you realize how easy this is but the whole time your on stage you’re tryna find that person to connect with so you can bring that performance out and how much more can you give to heighten your performance.

Do you think you can dance for the sake of movement without any meaning or emotion in it?
I think that’s impossible because dance is based off emotion. So if you lack that it shows and it takes away from the performance.

Can a dance have no meaning at all?
No every dance has some type of meaning to it sometimes it may get lost in the performance if you stray to much or add meaningless things to it.

Can stillness be movement?
Depends on how you use it in a routine.

Can you dance with your eyes closed?
Yes but it’s not a very good idea all the time lol. Depends on how you use it in a routine.

Would you participate in a dance-reality?
Yes I would I actually want a reality show based on OPC.

Thoughts on ABDC?
The idea that they have is so great but every year I see it its like it gets more and more watered down and I think their going to lose out on something great. And we’re auditioning this year lol.

How would your life be if you weren’t a dancer?
I have no clue. I would probably be doing some other kind of entertainment honestly.

What is more important, passion or technique?
Both are very important so you have to find a balance but I’ve seen passion get picked over technique many times.

Do you follow a specific diet before an important performance?
Nah no special diets but the day of I’m orange juice and bananas; nothing too heavy don’t want to make a mess on stage lol.

What do you think about while performing on a dance floor?
It all depends on what I’m doing if I’m free styling I’m just trying to entertain you but if it’s a routine I’m trying not to forget what I’m doing lol.

How difficult is it to keep your body in shape?
It’s very difficult because believe or not dancer are the worst eaters in the world because once we leave rehearsal or a show its straight to fast food or some other type of junk lol.

Are you afraid of your body wearing out or getting old?
I’m not afraid of it happening; I’m afraid of it happening too soon.

Are you interested in other forms of arts? Do they inspire you? And how?
I love acting and writing poetry. Poetry inspires me because it has a flow to it always and that how I create my routines and acting is all through OPC performances so that’s where that comes in.

Are you ever worried about forgetting your steps?
Only for the split second I’m not on stage.

How often do you decide to quit this job and get a job that actually pays your rent?
I feel that if I was to give up dancing for an average job I would be doing something foolish. Because no disrespect but I’m not a regular person so I can’t accept a regular job. And God gave me the talent so I owe it to him to keep going until my limbs fall off.

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