Since he came to Germany six years ago, Prince Ofori spends his afternoons in the nearby youth center Grenzallee on a noisy street in Berlin-Neukölln. The neighbourhood is known as a skid row with a high crime rate, drug addiction, high unemployment and social issues. Here, the twenty-year-old Ghanaian has become one of Germany’s best Krump dancers. Together with his friends, he has founded the M.I.K. Fam, a small streetdance group that for its members is like a family.
In the small, scruffy exercise room located in the youth center, the teenagers meet three times a week for training. Their speciality is called Krump, a dance style that was invented only six years ago in the afro-american community of Los Angeles. When Prince, Emmy, Richie, Kingsley & Co. are dancing, it looks like a mixture between Hip Hop and African tribal dances: They quiver and shake until their whole body shudders. As if electric shocks would run through their body.
Also in Berlin’s Hip Hop scene, Krumping has been especially hot for some time. Prince is regarded as one of the pioneers in Germany and as one of the best Krump dancers in Europe. Therefore, he chose the alias M.I.K., standing for Monster in Krump. Many of the 10 to 15 youths in the age from 13 to 17 years come from Ghana just like him. Others are born in Germany, but their roots lie in Croatia, Brasil or Turkey. To attend the training, some come from other districts like Wedding or Spandau to Neukölln.
For the young dancers, Krump is more than mere physical activity. It is a way of life. Never would they lose the respect for their counterpart whilst training. Even when someone challenges a match, as it is common among their peers. Due to the extremely fast and athletic movements, the M.I.K. dancers abolish aggro. Instead of fighting on the street, they want to battle on the dance floor.
The dedication for the dance seems to be paying off for Prince: Several Berlin dance schools engaged him, he is judge in some German battles and gives Krump workshops in Germany, France and Poland. In a district that doesn’t offer many perspectives for young immigrants, the Ghanaian turned his passion into a profession. It makes him proud that he is not dependent on his parents anymore but subsists on his dance.