We lost a great man this morning. I’m crying and laughing while watching the video we made 8 years ago when we opened our dream collaboration, ACE DANCE STUDIOS. There was no music and we were just being so silly, laughing so much together. Nao was so funny and talented, generous, kind, caring and most of all, inspiring. He was my sensei, friend, business partner and mentor.
I met Nao in 2005 when taking his beginner’s hip-hop dance class at Dancekool in Ultimo. He was a legend I heard, and part of a superhuman dance crew called Soundbusters. I’d take all his classes, wanting to learn more from him and amazed by his hip-hop and house skills. We (The XY Project) even competed against them at Kick Up The Dust back in 2006. We’d watch them win all the dance comps with their NU crews and I looked up to him a lot.
So when he came to me in late 2009 to ask me to partner with him and open a brand new dance studio, I was amazed and honoured. We sat at a cafe next to the old D2MG studio at The Spanish Club, thinking of a name for the new studio. It took us weeks and at that cafe, he held his head in his hands and jumped up, looked at me like a light bulb just went off in his brain and pronounced one word – “ACE”.
It was 6 months or so of searching and negotiations before we finally found the perfect place to call our new home. It almost didn’t happen, but by some miracle, we got approved at the 11th hour. We made this video as a celebration of our dreams coming true.
We were able to host some amazing legendary pioneers of dance at our studio, kicking it off with Suga Pop and Mr Wiggles, hosting a Destructive Steps which had the most amazing vibes, hosting a House Your Soul/Soul of Sydney secret party and many more great memories.
Thank you, Nao, for believing in me and being positive when times were hard for both of us and for being such an incredible human being. I learned a lot from you and we had some of the best times with the Sydney street dance scene. Love and prayers to Megu and the family, who have been so strong for the past few years.
I know he’s watching over all of us.
Rest In Paradise Nao.