“Come on Paul, show me something!”
From the GTA offer to the Saxon Olympic squad: Breakdancer Paul Schubert wants to the top. We met him where it all started.
Meissen. It was 2011. The first breakdance competition was on its way in Meissen, and Paul’s parents dragged their son to the market. “I really did not feel like it at all,” the 21-year-old recalls. Football and swimming – the young man felt comfortable in these disciplines. Men breakdance?
In any case, the show on stage left a strong impression. “Eventually, I was there for six hours,” he says. Shortly after, he signed up for the Pestalozzi school for a full-day breakdance program – voluntarily. One workout per week. “I thought it was completely wild. The guy who was on stage shortly before was suddenly my coach,” he says. That means the Meissner breakdance professional Heiko “Hahny” Hahnewald. They both took a while to warm up to each other. In the beginning, the dancer continues, it was just a hobby. “When I was in a bad mood, or things were not going well at school, sports really helped me,” he says.
The classmates, of course, found out what he was doing in the afternoon. “Come on Paul, show me something” – this saying became a habit, even at private parties. “Dancing to Helene Fischer or Techno is not my thing,” Paul says. He also participated in many breakdance matches and shows. The desire to stand on stage one day grew. “But training once a week was not enough,” he says.
At that time there was a generational change in the successful formation “The Saxonz” in Dresden. Paul became a member. The chemistry voted right away, he says. The workload became tighter. Training six times a week – in a studio near Radebeul’s city limits. “The conditions are good, the coaches are professional. And the most important thing: I can train whenever I want,” he says. Flexibility is important to him. The 21-year-old works as a geriatric nurse in a three-team shift at a facility in Meißen. It sometimes happens that he first enters the studio at one o’clock in the morning. Are you still in the mood after such a day at work?
“Experience has shown that these are the most important units. That is when you leave your comfort zone and gain new territory,” says the Dresden resident. If you want to dance in front, you also need the physical conditions and endurance. Paul comes to both the gym and the swimming pool. “For example, it’s about being able to push yourself further up or jump higher,” he says.
In addition to “Saxonz”, he is now a member of “Skyliners” from Meissen and a Dresden newcomer crew “44 young guns”. He is also booked – for shows or company parties. He knows that at some point he will have to choose between breaking, as it is called in the scene, and his previous job. Nor will it work in the long run, especially not before the Olympics. In 2024, discipline will be on the program for the first time at the Olympic Games. They are held in Paris. The German Dance Sports Federation is responsible for this in Germany.
Paul has already joined the Saxon Olympic squad. To end up here, complete three eliminations with as many points as possible – each year. In total, the Saxon squad includes eight B-boys and B-Girls over 18 years of age. The next stage for Paul Schubert is the national squad. The top eight men and women in the country are represented here. Qualification for this takes place according to a similar principle as at the federal level.
In pole vault it is the height that counts, in the 100 meter sprint it is time, but what is the point of breaking? “The attraction of breakdance lies in its individuality. There are dancers who go on stage and do freestyle. Others, on the other hand, have a fixed concept,” says Paul Schubert. In the end, the judges decide who wins. “Among them are jurors who look especially for musicality, so the choreography fits the music. Others make sure there are no stolen moves. Then there are those who want to see so-called power moves,” explains B-Boy Schubert. Usually three “judges” sit on the podium, sometimes five. At the Olympics, he found out, the evaluation had to be based on three main aspects.
When Paul prepares, it depends on what else. “Is it a show or a competition? If so, which one? There are different formats, such as one against one, three against three, seven for smoking or crew against crew,” he says. All of this fell flat in the last two years. “No shows, no competitions. Many dancers who do this full time have lost their jobs,” he says. In addition, the training was extremely cumbersome: sometimes in the room, sometimes in the basement or in a Sparkasse department. “The usual coherence and social contacts were really lacking,” the young man adds.
The competition at national and international level is fierce. Japan, Belgium and the United States should be on the list. There are also commercial competitors, such as the energy drink producer Red Bull. The Austrian company has hired many good dancers. In Saxony, it was not entirely clear what sports support for breakdancers should look like. Of the 25 “newcomers” who started with Paul on “Saxonz”, only six are still with us today.
The boy, who stood enthusiastically in front of the stage more than ten years ago, can be seen next Saturday. In the “Down To The Beat competition”, Paul Schubert and his crew “The Saxonz” start a three-on-three match.