Movement Artist of the Month: Brandon “Honey” Masele

 I come from a family of Congolese origin. I really grew up in a culture where dancing was part of life. Dancing is really like eating, drinking, breathing.”– Brandon Masele

Flashback to the mid 2000s – a time when the electronic music movement was sweeping France. Packed and sweaty dancefloors became the coolest place to be and a whole new style of dance culture was born.

French Electro dance (also known as Tecktonik and Milky Way) is a style of frenetic street dance generally performed to electro house music. It pulls from a variety of different dance styles including industrial, Moroccan chaabi, disco, vogue, waacking, hip-hop and freeh and glowsticking. It originated in the southern suburbs of Paris and quickly spread across France and the rest of Europe and is now widely recognized across the world. It’s characterized by bold and geometric arm movements, amplified points and poses, spritzed with a little footwork. Once you see it, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.

At the tender age of 13, Brandon Masele got his first taste of electro music, and has since become one of the leading ambassadors to this fascinating dance culture. He got his start in various underground dance battles and now has his own dance company – MazelFreten– known for mixing movements from both hip-hop and electro dance styles, along with his long-time dance crew, Alliance. Through his projects, Brandon has gained a reputation for bringing electro dance styles to wider audiences with his smooth honey-like flow (hence the Brandon “Miel” Masele – where “miel” means honey in French).

For anyone familiar with Paris, you’ll know that growing up in the suburbs isn’t easy. But what can be a condemning reality for many, is ultimately what inspired Brandon to dance. “Every time I dance, it’s like I’m having flashbacks. It makes me feel emotions. Maybe it’s emotions that I couldn’t digest before that come back. It’s not even sadness, it’s not even joy. It’s a feeling of everything.”

What sets him apart from the crowd is perhaps that his approach to dancing is based on passion, determination, and honesty – opposed to the sole desire to be a “great” dancer. When he moves, it comes from his soul, and everyone who watches can see that. Unlike dancers who’ve had the crème de la crème of dance classes and instructors their whole lives, Brandon’s inspiration, drive and talent comes from a much deeper place – the working-class lifestyle that he grew up with. It’s therefore no surprise that key tenants of all his projects are innovation, tolerance, respect for cultures, and the evolution of movement itself.