Dancer Shigeyuki Nakarai’s Eyeing the First Gold Medal of Breakdance in the Paris Olympics | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Dancer Shigeyuki Nakarai’s Eyeing the First Gold Medal of Breakdance in the Paris Olympics

Breakin, a new event at the 2024 Paris Olympics: "I want people to see the story of how I won the gold medal."

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I think it’s a great opportunity for breakin’ to be chosen as a new event for the Paris Olympics. It is an under-rated sport, so I would be happy if I win an Olympic gold medal and more people know about me and about breakdancing.”

Shigeyuki Nakarai, 20, says so with a twinkle in his eye. He is a dancer who has been called the gold medalist in breakdancing, a new event at the 2012 Paris Olympics.

Breakdancing is a sport in which dancers compete with their opponents, either one-on-one or as a team, in acrobatic dances to music to show off their skills and creativity. Nakarai began his professional career at the age of 14 when he secured a sponsorship deal. Since then, he has danced around the world under the name “Shigekix.” He has been competing on the stage. He won the World Youth Championships in 2006, and in 2008 he became the youngest ever champion at the world’s most prestigious competition, the Red Bull BC One World Final. Where does Nakarai’s origin lie?

My older sister used to breakdance, and when I was in the second grade of elementary school, I started following her to the training grounds. I was copying her, and before I knew it, I had stopped trampolining, which was my original passion, and got into it. As soon as I mastered even a single technique, I was soon competing. I was 7 years old at the time and had no experience, so I thought I deserved to lose, so I went to many competitions anyway because I wanted to gain as much experience as possible if I was going to lose.

Nakarai’s specialty is the “freeze,” in which he dances a fast, high-precision dance to the music, holding his movements perfectly still and striking a decisive pose. Harmony with the music is of utmost importance.

Musicality,” he says, “which is the ability to sense the music, dance, and improvise, is one of my strengths, and I value it the most. However, my dance is incomplete in all aspects, not to mention musicality, which is my strong point. I think of breakdance as more of an art form than a timed competition, so I am always pondering how to add depth to my play. I am not a natural born genius. So, I have to think through the image of the dance and then improvise. And I try as many times as I can. I enjoy the process of learning that new dance. I am still in the process of evolution.

He will go to the Paris Olympics as the world champion in a new discipline. Naturally, the pressure is immense. He also experienced setbacks at a young age.

I have bitter memories of winning the World Youth Championships and qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in 2006. I was happy that breakdance was adopted for the first time in a competition of a scale never seen before, but at the same time, there was a lot of pressure. I was expected to win a gold medal, but the result was a bronze medal. It was frustrating, but for me, it was a turning point that gave me the opportunity to grow further.”

The fierce competition for the right to compete in the Paris Olympics has already begun. Nakarai says he lives his life without a single day off, devoting three hours to practice.

First of all, I want to get a ticket to the Paris Olympics at any cost. I am always thinking about breakdance. Once I compete, I want to be a dancer who can create excitement not only with my dancing, but also with the story of how I climbed up to the highest podium. And I think I have to win a gold medal to let as many people as possible know the charm of breakdance.”

Two years until the start of the Paris Olympics. The story of Hanai’s continuing evolution has only just begun.

For Nakarai, Breakdance is a lifestyle in itself. Will he become the first Olympic champion?
Shigeyuki Nakarai, Breakdancer, Next Generation Star – Part 2
Shigeyuki Nakarai, Breakdancer, Next Generation Star – Part 2
Shigeyuki Nakarai, Breakdancer, Next Generation Star, 2nd issue

Shigeyuki NAKARAI
Born in 2002 in Sayama City, Osaka Prefecture, he began breakdancing at the age of 7 under the influence of his older sister, Ayaya Hanai (24), who is also a breakdancer.

From the April 15, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki Interview and text Hirotsuru Machida

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