In the land of suicide bombings and endless war, a group of Afghans turned to break-dancing to ease their stress and self-expression, even when fears that the Taliban may still return to power feed concerns about a new repression of the arts.
At the French Cultural Centre in Kabul, the group takes turns practising the basics top rocking, headspin, and freezes, while watching YouTube videos on their phones of famous b-boys like Lilou and Hong Ten for inspiration.
“Breakdancing keeps us away from stress and war. It gives us freedom. It frees our minds from the stress of living in Kabul and we forget about the war and killings,” explains Murtaza Lomani, 23, from the Top Step crew.
Still, breakdancing is a rare sight in the fiercely conservative society, where traditional folk music mostly dominates the radiowaves and dancing takes place mainly at gender-segregated weddings.
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