Two nights ago I was reminded that culture isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. Yes, it can be grammatically used as a noun, but we practice culture. It’s constantly in flux and adapting to how we appropriate, indigenize, and commodify it. Thursday night, I walked into a cultural classroom without even knowing it. I went with some friends to the Red Bull BC One competition where hip hop dancers competed to go into a world championship.
What I witnessed that was so interesting, however, was the large number of young kids imitating and devising their own style as they watched (wide-eyed in the front row) the b-boys compete. I thought about the transmission and teaching of culture that was happening in the space. In a way, this was a classroom. Not only for the kids, but for everyone as well. A set of three judges were determining the confines of what was acceptable and what was exceptional within this hip hop culture. I thought about how this movement reached New Zealand all the way from America and all of the teachers in between those two spaces that got it into this space.