SURREY — Mattias Boon loves the new space in Surrey for his hip-hop organization, he just wants more free time to plan and organize events there.
Boon and others with Streetrich Hop Hop Society have a new home at City Parkway Studio, a former auto garage at 10660 City Parkway, located across from the BC Lions practice field.
Streetrich and Royal Canadian Theatre Company share the studio, officially opened in June following a year-long renovation project spearheaded by the City of Surrey.
Boon, Streetrich’s founder and director, says the organization has big plans to fill the 2,500-square-foot studio with hip-hop dance, music and art, but as volunteers he and the others are a bit short of time at the moment.
“I wish we could be providing more programs already, but because we all work on a volunteer basis it’s coming along really slowly,” he told the Now-Leader.
Drop-in breakdance and DJ lessons are held there every Wednesday evening, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 10, for a cost of $3 per person.
A more prominent event at the studio will be a Super Summer Camp held from Monday to Thursday (Aug. 14-17), featuring instruction by members of SuperNaturalz, a Toronto-based crew celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Boon is excited to welcome such notable dancers to the place his organization now calls home.
“We try to keep all our programming really affordable, unless there is a special event, like the SuperNaturalz event, which is a bit more expensive, but for a reason,” Boon said.
“A good friend of mine (named Puzzles) is part of the SuperNaturalz crew, which is one of the best known Canadian breakdance crews in the world,” he added. “The friend of mine happened to move to Surrey and he was talking about how they wanted to do a 25th-anniversary event, preferably in Vancouver, and I told him about the building (in Surrey). So his crew decided to use our space to host the anniversary. So for Streetrich, that’s a really big honour to work with this SuperNaturalz crew.”
Related to all that, his friend is getting married here over the weekend.
“So a lot of out-of-town people, guests who are dancers, will be in town for that, in Vancouver and Surrey, so it’s a perfect moment to have them here teaching and dancing,” Boon explained. “It’s a unique moment to have such skilled dancers teaching, for people to learn from.”
The cost to register for one of the Super Summer Camp classes is $30, with several sign-up options available – all the way up to $350 for all 16 classes. Details can be found at streetrich.ca.
“We’re hoping more people come, especially more local people, because we’ve had mostly (registrants) from places like Calgary and Kelowna so far, not too many local people yet,” Boon said.
A Burnaby resident who moved to Canada from his native Belgium in 2011, Boon works for Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver.
“I tried to make a profession out of it (Streetrich) but we don’t have the financial support yet,” he explained. “We are a non-profit society and we operate with a board of directors, and they’re all volunteers, we all are. We meet once a month and just try to do as many activities as possible that fits in our time as volunteers.”
Boon has close to 20 years of experiencing organizing hip-hop events.
“Here in Vancouver, since moving here, I was able to fairly quickly get connected with the local hip-hop community, because I am a breakdancer myself, and I just do a lot of researching in my free time to see what’s going on, and try connecting with people, over the past year, meeting with DJs and others.”
Streetrich’s inaugural community barbecue and fundraising event was held on July 16, and it’s the kind of event Boon and the organization’s other active board members want to host more often.
“The vision for Surrey – I know there is a lot of hip-hop things happening, so for me, the first thing is, I want to acknowledge all that is already happening in the city,” he said.
“I do see that a little bit more work can happen in bringing people together and bringing in some more structure to the existing scene, and my vision is hopefully that we can reach out to a lot more youth in Surrey and get them engaged, more familiar with hip-hop culture. We want to have these hip-hop events where parents and children can come to enjoy the culture and share in it, and do battles but also do community barbecues, events like that, to really build this community.”
CLICK HERE to learn more about Streetrich board members
The studio space on City Parkway is “fantastic,” he raved.
“With the renovations done with the City of Surrey and Royal Canadian, we really took a year to nail down all the requirements both of the organizations need,” Boon explained. “We have a linoleum sprung floor, which is excellent for breakdancing, and we also applied for a provincial grant (to) be able to buy lighting and all the music equipment we need. So equipment-wise and the building, it’s really perfect for us to start doing a lot of programming, and it can fit all the four elements of hip-hop culture and we can maybe do other youth programs, too.”