I first met Bgirl Fox back in 2013. My earliest memory of Fox is when she put me in the Bgirl battles at Tech Styles 3. I had been gone from breaking for 3-4 years and Tech Styles 3 was my first event back. I remember the conversation well. It went like this:
“Himani, do you want to do the Bgirl battle?” Fox asked.
“Uhhhh……” I replied.
“You’re doing the Bgirl battle. I’m putting you down.” Fox said.
She walked away to sign me up and I remember sitting there thinking, “wait a minute, what just happened?” I’m really glad I did it in the end. I needed to do it. That’s all Fox though. She pushes you. She pushes all of us. She pushes us in ways that we didn’t know we needed pushing in. She recognises things that you might have not recognised in yourself already.
Name: Fiona Thompson
Bgirl Name: Fox
Age: 32 years old
Length in breaking: 8 years
Length of time in Clean North: 8 years
Why and how did you start breaking?
I always danced. But it wasn’t until I went to teach in a school that I saw this girl that I went to college with. I asked how she was doing and she said she was in a crew from Bradford. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard of this crew. I found out that I knew some of the people in it and then she put in a word for me. She spoke to Lloyd and I was asked to come to training. That’s HOW I started but WHY I started was because I was just fed up of the commercial side of dancing. I used to have to go to London all the time for auditions. I just wanted something that really worked. I wanted to do more performances and I liked the battle side of breaking too.
Who’s your favourite Bboy/Bgirl?
You see… this is really hard. I’ve never had a role model or just one singular person to look up to. It has always been a few people for that. Some breakers that spring to mind though that have influenced me would be Thesis because of his musicality. Gravity because of his flips and how daring he is. You can’t deny it. Poe One because of the way that he moves. El Nino because of his power and the way that he pieces his rounds together. I love his links. I think I’ll stop there though because I could probably go on for ages about this.
How’d you get your Bgirl name?
Well this is quite funny. I used to be known as Foxy Fiona. Fox just suited me though I think. Lloyd just said it one time at training and it stuck! I think your name has to be natural. It can’t be forced. I think it’s good when it comes from someone else.
What’s your biggest motivation in breaking?
I’ve always wanted to be good at whatever I do so when I think of breaking, bearing in mind all the other dance styles I have done, it has given me the most pleasure. Once I felt that through battling, performing and learning new moves, it motivated me to push myself even more. I can see us being big as a crew as well. That motivates me also as I don’t want to let the crew down. I also have to mention God, because no matter what the crew or myself go through, God has always been there pushing us to keep going. Without God I wouldn’t be where I am today, so he is my biggest motivation for sure.
Who inspires you most in breaking?
I think everyone has said this but it is true as it is Lloyd who inspires me the most. He’s so positive. He works so hard and he has got so much ambition and drive not just for himself but the crew. So whenever I think to myself, “I can’t be bothered”, he inspires me to push past that. Lloyd always makes me believe that nothing is impossible and to keep going because you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
What’s your best moment in breaking?
There have been a few but the best moment is one that I talk about all the time. I must have told Lloyd a thousand times even though he was there but it was Mass Appeal in Boston a few years ago. I wasn’t planning on battling but there was a 2v2 and Bboy Ark from Hawaii stepped up needing someone to battle with him. I didn’t know who he was at the time but I was looking at Lloyd like, “should I go in?”. We have a rule where we don’t battle with anyone else outside of the crew but the circumstance was different that day so I stepped forward. The whole place went crazy and I hadn’t even done anything. As soon as I started dancing, everyone was just jumping around! It was an energy that I’ve never felt before. Nothing has come even close to it. It was just something that I’ve never had and it didn’t get filmed. I’m kind of glad it didn’t though because it is a memory in my head I will never forget. Just having people get excited about what I was doing made all the hard work worthwhile.
What’s your worst moment in breaking?
I have had a lot of bad moments but the number one spot has to go to a battle I did in Floor Wars, Denmark. I trained so hard for this top rock battle. I had so much stuff to show because I had worked on my top rock so much. I didn’t forget what I was doing but I just didn’t execute everything really well. There was this girl that I was going against and I went to punch her, not an actual punch of course…. I go to pretend punch her and it was the lamest punch that I’ve ever done. I felt like the ground needed to swallow me up right then. I just wanted to run off the floor and go hide. I felt like everyone was looking at me like, “what have you just done?” And then the girl did it back to me which made it even worse! That was the most embarrassing moment I think I’ve ever had
What do you find hardest in breaking?
Before I had a baby, I felt like my job got in the way. I’m a high school teacher. The work load is crazy so I was always tired all the time so I had no choice but to cut back on my training. I’m on maternity leave now but of course there’s Elijah to look after. What I find the hardest now is finding that balance. I want to train all the time but I can’t because I’m so busy doing this and doing that. I know I’ve got so much more to give as well so yeah, that’s what I find the hardest right now.
What do you think of the UK scene?
I think from when I’ve started, it has changed. I have seen it in 3 phases. When I first started I thought it was really good and it had good community feel. I’ve always felt like there’s a North and South divide. But I felt like the northern jams that I went to were quite good, and also the south but in a different way. It went through a phase though where the events died down and crews were going through transitions, so the vibe I experienced was no longer there. We’re in the 3rd phase now where I feel like we’re stepping up again. The UK are getting recognised as a good country in the world for breaking but I feel like we’ve still got so much more to learn. We together, as Bboys & Bgirls in the UK, hold ourselves back sometimes by stupid decisions, by focusing on the negative, by all the talking and not as much doing. I feel like we don’t have a lot of proper crews in the UK and that holds us back. For the UK to be even better, I think we need to build up our own cities, focus on our own crews, not battle with anyone just because they are good or are popular at the time and we’ll grow even stronger as a country naturally, this is what I believe.
What’s your favourite food?
Nachos and Sunday dinner at the Dog & Gun.
What’s your ultimate goal?
Blumin’ heck… My ultimate goal is to just keep breaking and not let age get in the way at all. I want to keep pushing myself so when I do look back when I’m 80 I can think, “yes, you did good.” I want to be an inspiration to my son. The goal is also to push him and help him learn quicker and easier than we did in breaking and in life.
What DON’T you like about breaking?
You know what I don’t like about breaking? I don’t like unfairness. You know when you go to a battle and you’re hyped up and you’re with your crew and you’re having a good time. You’ve trained hard and it goes into that battle that you know you have won but the judges vote the other way. It can be so obvious too. That annoys me so much. I don’t like seeing it happen to anyone. It pops that hype that you’ve got. That’s what I don’t like. However, I have learnt to add that fuel to the fire and to keep pushing to be even better!
How do you feel about the state of judging on the scene?
Some judges, when I’m watching them, they’ll favour maybe people who are more all-rounded or someone more original or a certain person all the way through the event. But then it’ll get to the final or something and then they’ll vote the complete opposite way of what they’ve been voting for throughout the whole jam! So they’re not consistent in their judging. I don’t know what it is. Maybe they’re influenced by other people or they’re scared of what people might think or say. Or there is just some corruptness there of wanting people to win even though they haven’t won. These things don’t push Bboys & Bgirls to be as good as they could be because how can you learn when you don’t understand why the voting has gone the way that it has gone. If you are a judge believe in what you are looking for and be confident if you think that Bboy or Bgirl has taken the win!
What do you look for when you are judging?
I look for someone that is all-rounded. They don’t have to be amazing in all the areas. Just be strong. Don’t crash. Don’t be bitty, if you get what I mean. Believe in what you do every time you dance. Don’t hold yourself back! If you’re really in the zone and you’re just dancing to the music and killing it in that way, that to me can beat someone who’s just doing continuous power with no reason or passion behind it
Does Clean North have what it takes to be the best crew in the world?
I think Clean North has what it takes to be one of the best crews in the world. I feel like we are a proper crew and I’ve said this before but we’re all strong. I can look around now and feel as though the gap is closing between us in terms of our skills. We’ve all got different styles. Some crews I see are very similar in the way that they move which is understandable when you’re training together all the time. But I feel like we aren’t like that. We help each other and we inspire each other but we still stay true to ourselves. If we keep pushing the way that we are in everything that we’re doing, why couldn’t we be one of the best crews in the world?
I’ve got a lot of great memories with Fox. The thing is with these stories though is that there is only me and Fox really in them. Something will happen and there’s only me and her to witness it or there’s just me and her in the whole story so it becomes one of those things where “you just had to be there”. And when we try to recall our stories and moments to people, we just burst out laughing all over again or our crew look at us like we’ve lost it!
It wasn’t until 2014’s Bradford Urban Festival that I really started to get to know Fox though. The crew were performing twice over the 2 day festival in City Park. On the Saturday there was a lot of time to kill in between performances. Fox told me all kinds of stories about herself that day. I was 17 years old at the time and was quite unsure of myself. Hearing about her journey gave me a lot of perspective in my own life. It was inspiring to hear what she had pushed through and it also gave me a glimpse into just how strong she is as a person. The years that followed, her strength shone through more and more.
I’m very thankful in that fact that I have been able to see Fox transition from one stage of her life to the next and to the next. I was at her beautiful wedding! She was self-employed when I met her running not 1 but 2 businesses. When the opportunity presented itself to become a full time teacher, she took it. The change was different but like the other hurdles in her life, she got over it. I remember the old Citroen. We had such great talks and memories in that car. I remember when her and her husband, Lloyd, moved into their first home. And I’ll never forget the moment I was told that Fox was pregnant.
Before having her son, Elijah, she was already called “Mother Fox” in the crew. This is because of the way she looks out for everyone. She has that nature about her. She’s always there for us. She’s one of the most honest people that I know. If you’re looking for someone to just agree with what you’re saying, don’t come seeking your “advice” from Fox. If you’re looking for the stone cold truth, she’s the right person for that without a doubt. Fox tells it like it is! It’s one of her many traits that I love.
I could really go on about Fox but let me wrap this up by telling you one of my favourite things about her. She stays true to herself no matter what. She doesn’t take any rubbish from anyone. It’s evident when you’re around her that she’s just strong in who she is. Fox has been a shining example for me not just as a Bgirl, but as a woman and an all around good human being. She has impacted my character and the way that I view things in more ways than one and the Tranquil Productions family are very blessed to have her in it. Elijah has one of the best people that I know as a mother!
You can keep up to date with Bgirl Fox via her IG: @bgirlfox