the eCSentric story...
The one and only eccentric hip-hop dance crew in the wicked south! heck, maybe even in the entire National Capital Region!
Originally "excentric",the group was formed Sep. 1, 2007 for a competition called SouthVIBE that was held at Southville Int'l School & Colleges (SISC) under the supervision of Christian Sekhanan as artistic director. consisting of purely college students at the time, the group faced many difficulties in terms of synchronicity. this was due to the fact that the dance style introduced by Christian wasn't easy, in addition to that it wasn't very well known.
the members that comprised the original 8 members of excentric were either new to the style, new to hip hop, or new to dance itself. this being the case the group still pushed on and eventually making it to the finals alongside Intensity crew (now known as Flipendemic kru) and Southside New Breed. in the end excentric crew lost the competition but debuted as one of the most original crews south-bred.
as excentric evolved to eCSentric, so did the style. Originally a bay style/ LA style group, the foundation-less style situated by Christian also evolved from his West Coast roots to a now seemingly interpretative hip hop. no more LA style musicality, no more predictable Bay style movements, no more lyrical hip hop. When the crew witnessed Christian's eccentric choice of musicality, unorthodox movements, and story-telling styles the crew realized by themselves that "oh no! eCSentric is becoming eccentric" and true to that prediction eCSentric in fact followed that change.
eCSentric members are not picked based on their dancing prowess but on their understanding of the eCSentric style and philosophy.
we are a philosophy based crew. something that alot of people don't know about us is that everything we do artistically and professionally is based on the philosophy of eCSentric. we refuse to follow the hip hop format by choice, we are not here to show you all the styles we can do neither are we here to show you things you think looks good. "eCSentric" is not a name for us, it is a lifestyle. we are neither "crack-pots" nor "fish-out-of-water", we strive for universality and if we have to give up following the criteria of "hip hop crews" or the street credibility to achieve that then it's a price we are all willing to pay gladly.
Our members understand that people won't readily understand us and although they are free to indulge themselves in as many styles as they want to learn, once we represent the crew we dance under the philosophy of eCSentric. call us a cult, call us a gimmick, call us a bunch of weirdos we have no qualms about whatever we're called.
hate all you want. we don't dance to impress or express.
The Crew changed their name from "Excentric" to "eCSentric" (CS comes from Christian's Initials) to reinstate them as an independent crew from Southville, performing inside and outside of the college.
There are plenty of crews in the Philippines, many studded with accomplishments, many who boast great skill, and some in fact carry a bit of notoriety with their names. You will find that the Philippines is very young and even naive when it comes to the world of Hip Hop. We lag behind many countries in terms of dancing prowess and we often times fail to meet up to international standards that are being dominated by our asian neighbors such as Japan and Korea. We don’t have the liberty of OG’s (Oldschool Gangsters) asking to visit us and neither are we priviledged enough to bring them here regularly. But we do what we can not for “the game” but for ourselves. “Hip Hop” here may not be the same kind of culture you hear about in brooklyn or in fresno. Heck it may not even be considered “hip hop” at all. But we do dance, and we do love it. Again, due to the problem of getting those culture-savvy OG’s here we don’t really have a very rich education in general which actual reflects our actual educational standing non-dance-wise. Most hate to admit it, but we are poor, poor in many aspects. But many people here and abroad have witnessed that we are not poor in heart.
But i’m not here to talk about the filipino dance crews in general, i’m here to talk about this crew.
We took the initiative to be “original” in a time where the term “LA style” wasn’t very commonplace in the Philippines. A time where you could count with your one hand the number of legitimate “choreography-based” crews. You might not have known it, but we were in that scene. We just never travelled north where most of the “Hip Hop dance scene” usually resides. Yup, you read right, we are one of the few crews/dancers in the south that are unenthusiastic about going north. But we did decide to be “original”, we made sure that we made that our priority. But unfortunately we didn’t know just how BIG that goal is and how hard it is to accomplish it. And admittingly, we didn’t know what “being original” truly was until we dwindled down to 4 members.
Let’s break this with honesty. How many times has there been a crew that claimed “originality” but were just attempts at becoming a filipino version of a crew somewhere overseas? How many times has there been crews that were quick to throw up the “we’re expressing ourselves OUR way” quote without actually doing things THEIR way? How many times have we seen dancers claim a style which is a spin-off of something they’ve seen before? Yes. We’ve all heard it before and for most of us we are guilty of these things. Excentric crew was just like that to be honest, we were just ahead of the trend but in reality we were no better than any other crew claiming “originality”. But were we really doing that? In virtue, yes we were. In reality, not so. We were just trying to be something that didn’t exist [In the Philippines] but existed elsewhere. But i am honest in saying that we were ahead of the trend though; we watched how the Philippines went from “hitting hard” to “going smooth and sharp” and it always followed the same progression... what the videos gave us, that’s what we wanted. Our dance lives here really do mimic that of our socio-economic behavior, we are media-slaves. It is the reason why we have such a hard time getting on par with the international dance scene is because we are a bunch of trend-followers instead of trend setters.
This became a concern for me and the crew. We hated the thought of being manipulated by the power of media or being controlled by anything in general. All of us in the crew are achievers in our own rights. We do many things and have many aspirations. But living in the “real world” is actually living a life of influence. We are like blades of grass merely trying not to get uprooted by the blowing winds. Yet no matter how hard we stand we are at least a little bit swayed by the winds we call circumstances or what others call “the system”. The crew was the one place where we felt like rocks, forever standing strong against all currents. It was a place of freedom. Now the thought that that freedom we enjoyed was actually influenced really did not sit well with us. Not at all. So we sought ways to disconnect our ties with the world around us and search what it really means to be “ourselves”.
The road to true selfishness wasn’t easy, we had to learn to objectify everything. The dancers we admired, the styles we liked, the videos we always found amazement in, the culture, everything. We had to find ourselves hiding somewhere in that huge forest of influence. And in the end, we did. But this process, although effective, had its side-effects... we became cynical. Almost disconnected to the world. We were like dance hermits living in an obscure village high up in the mountains of tibet. We spent almost a year rediscovering over and over again who we really are. And a lot of people will tell you, although people have heard of us, our entrance into the dance community here was pretty sudden. Its like we came out of nowhere.
A group of four dancers that dress funny and wear goggles. What the heck is that? They don’t fit the “barangay (settlement/area/turf) crew” format, neither do they fit the “university crew template”, neither are they an all-style crew or a single style crew. What are they?
What are we?
We are “ourselves”.
Come to think of it, we might not even be a “hip hop crew” by standards of Buddha Stretch himself. But we are a dance crew, not confined by anything but the standard we impose on ourselves.
“we are probably the most selfish dancers you have ever met.”
We call ourselves a “Philosophy-based crew” because for us dance has become more than just freedom. Dance is honesty. How we discover ourselves in our dance becomes how we are in life. There is no difference between our dance lives, personal lives, professional lives... no difference at all. If dance is supposed to be us being our honest selves then the way we treat our dance is the way we treat ourselves. The way we handle different circumstances in dance becomes the same way we handle different circumstances in life. This is why we are a “philosophy-based crew”. Most crews do it for the love of dance, the love for others, but we do it because we love ourselves and we would never sell ourselves short of that. As we evolve in dance we evolve as people and its not an incidental thing like for all of you, for us its DIRECT. Because we are constantly thinking. Constantly arguing in our heads, trying to prove and disprove things every minute and every second.
We are young dancers in terms of how long we’ve been dancing.
Crane (3 years going on 4 of dancing)
Bom (4 years)
ReMOVE (2 years)
Ni Xiange (5 years, i think)
And yet we don’t really seem like it. Not because we’ve got incredible skills or because we’ve won tons of contests but because although we are young, we seem very sure of ourselves. We put ourselves in that path, we made it our goal to be self-actualized dancers/people. The notion that it takes years and years to become a self-actualized dancer is nothing more than a challenge to us. We want to self-actualize now! But don’t mistake this for over-eagerness, we are not in a hurry but we sure as hell aren’t taking our time. Which is why we are in constant philosophy mode, you don’t know it but we are perpetually thinking of everything we observe. We try to squeeze as much meaning from everything that we can see, feel, and hear. So in that sense, we are working doubletime.
There is a reason why we wear goggles, it’s not just some gimmick. We consider ourselves as dance theorists. If dance is a God that everyone is worshipping then we are scientists trying to “crack the code”. The goggles are a tribute to Nikola Tesla whom which the term “eccentric” is often attached to. Tesla the great inventor and electrical engineer was ostracized for his eccentric personality and bizarre claims, something that is only appreciated now that his odd-branded mind has offered to the world. We wear white “lab-gown” inspired jackets to represent the scientists struggle for truth. We have proven time and time again our bravery and nonchalant attitudes towards hip hop as a created entity, as a conglomerate, as an empire. Just the same as how Dr. Goetz did the first bypass surgery which went against the Vatican’s authority so will eCSentric stand headstrong against herculean hip hop figures if the need ever arises.
Why do we do these things? Because, again, we are a philosophy-based crew. We dance because we are what we dance. The only way for us to gain any sort of meaning and discovery about ourselves is to become ourselves at all times, at every situation, in every context. That is what it means to be eCSentric.
Do you get it now?
-Christian “Crane” Sekhanan