B-Girl Pioneer Yoda LANESKI since 1983
B-Girl Laneski (Seattle) with Majestic Rockers in NYC 1985
B-Girl Yoda Laneski
"May the Funk be with You"
My story is quite different from most Hip Hop Veterans. Though never a gangster, nor poor or from the ghetto, Hip Hop has had changed my life. Ironically, I learned to Breakdance at an upscale Country Club in Bellevue Washington around1984 in a class taught by the Seattle Circuit Breakers. An elite level Gymnast and tomboy, I had no trouble bruising and scraping myself to learn all the moves. Before the class was over, the dance crew decided to recruit me and asked me to dance with them whenever I could (which at age14 wasn't a lot ), but some of my most memorable B-boy experiences were with them at the Seattle Center all age dances, the Seattle Car Show and at nightclubs around town. Besides being one of the first B-girls in Seattle, I was most remembered for doing at least 6 continuous flairs since I was one of the first breakers in Seattle to master that move.
To be honest, back then, I don't even remember anyone using the term B-Girl, I remember Breakin in the Circle and after I would do my moves all the guys would stop that circle and eventually start one up somewhere else. I never knew if it was because they couldn't beat my moves, didn't want to battle a girl, or were just so shocked to see a girl doing it that they didn't know what to do. Besides my friend 1/2 Pint who danced a little bit, I never even came across another B-Girl in the circles. There was rumored to be another girl on the other side of the city, but we never battled, in fact, we never even crossed paths.
Back in the day, Breakin resembled gang fighting and was still very raw at that time. If you had B-Boy style laces in your shoes, you were fair game and you knew that a battle could break out anytime, anywhere. Right there in the streets, malls, at any moment, you might get called out and you fought furiously throwin out every thing you could like it was your life that was at stake. Basically, you did your uprock and footwork just to get into your power move and the freeze was more about your attitude than anything else. The circles were very fast and if you couldn't keep up you had to dip out until the last man standing with the best moves won. Today b-boying is much more dance oriented, routine and polished than it was back then.
I always remember being one of the few white people in the arena back then. The 80s were a time when most of us were not likely to break out of our ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but Hip Hop crossed these barriers and in my opinion picked up the baton from Martin Luther King. You have to consider that my parents grew up in the deep south in an era where they used white bathrooms & went to segregated schools, so for me to be dancing in a circle with African American's and celebrating their culutre was still somewhat revolutionary in those times. Through those shared moments in Hip Hop, I think we were all able to get past the stereotypes to realize that we were all basically the same.We learned to enjoy one anothers cultural differences instead of seeing them as being bad or wrong like our parents did.
My parents moved to Hawaii late 1985 and while Rap prevailed breakin had a moment of silence. What I learned through Hip Hop in the early 80s has not only stuck with me, but played a large part of making me what I am today. When I moved to Hawaii and learned to surf, I took my battles out into the waves where "girls weren't suppose to surf" and haoles (Caucasians) were not always welcome. Being that I had already endured these roadblocks, I was encouraged to perservere which allowed me to design the first women's surf short and pave the way for the strong following women's surfing has today. That Spirit and Freedom of "the Battle" gave me the ability to cut loose and not be afraid to take a risk in whatever it is I am doing. The "RAW" flavor of Hip Hop encouraged me to be who I am, and not worry about what people think. The loud outgoing fashion of Hip Hop has always influenced my designs and even the the name of my company Us Girls.
Hip Hop seems to be the thread that God has used to weave my life. It has shaped my beliefs, challenged my faith and been a tool to teach me one of God's most important principles which is to "Love your neighbor as yourself"