bones the machine on flexing and popping with kendall jenner
The talented New Yorker featured in the Internet-breaking Balmain X H&M video is playing with a new kind of movement - from “flexing” to “bone breaking.”
Photography Ben Colen
As the camera slides into the futuristic dystopian world of Balmain X H&M, Steven Hill, aka Bones the Machine, can be seen popping, locking, and "bone breaking." In the video made for the hyped collaboration with creative director Olivier Rousteing, Bones and his partner DJ Aaron do their joint-defying thing alongside Kendall Jenner and her crew on the world's most chic subway. What was it like dancing with Kendall? "Kendall's dope!" says the 28 year-old Brooklyn native. "I never knew her to be a dancer but she was great and it was kind of inspiring." For the last thirteen years the self-taught dancer has honed his skills working with the likes of Madonna, as part of her most recent MDNA tour, appearing on America's Got Talent, and sharing beautifully choreographed videos with his ever-growing Instagram following. From the beaches of L.A. to the streets of London and Paris, Steven can be found "flexing"—the dance fuses traditional hip-hop movements, freestyle, and contortion. Meet Bones the Machine, who is putting his unique dance style on the map.
How did you start dancing?
I started dancing by being into art when I was younger. I was just trying to be cool in my neighborhood. But when I first started listening to music, I wanted to become the music, so I started dancing. I first started just dancing hip-hop. I then went into "flexing" and "bone-breaking." Over the years, we put it into choreographed dance—there are no limits to dancing.
Who gave you the nickname Bones the Machine?
When I was younger, people from East New York, where I grew up, gave me the name because they couldn't believe my bones could pop out out like they do. So they first called me "Bones Crusher." But my dance style has evolved to be more mechanical, and people started called me "Bones the Machine."
What music is inspiring you now?
Madonna, but I listen to so much music. I am also listening to Travis Scott, and Kanye West. I take inspiration from movies like Transformers and The Matrix. The way the machines and actors move has inspired me big time. Even the sounds in the movies give me visuals that I take in and use to create dance movements. Like they have inspired me to try to make it seem like I am manipulating time by dancing in slow motion and doing robotic movements.
What was it like dancing with an icon like Madonna?
Man, Madonna is very creative. She can move as good as me, and that's crazy! The lesson that I really learned from her was love. She preaches love a lot.
Did Olivier Rousteing try to flex?
Is your dancing about storytelling?
Yes. In my Instagram bio, it says, "making pain look beautiful." That's what my entire life has been about. When I dance it shows the pain of growth. It's also about how reality hit me. Either I was going to dance or I was going to get that 9 to 5. I'd rather die doing what I love. When I had nothing all I had was dance and I would record myself and upload the videos to Instagram and Youtube and look at the comments and get inspiration.
What do you want to achieve with dance?
I want to be respected as an artist of movement. When it comes to being an artist of movement it doesn't have to be dance. I also want to act—I want to be an actor who knows how to dance. People become actors and they lose the beauty of what they were doing before. I want to keep that and still show that I am a dancer.
What are you up to now?
I'm exploring dance and trying to inspire new people to dance. I'm just doing my thing and having fun.
Text Antwaun Sargent
Photography Ben Colen