Street dancer Storyboard P (The Root TV screenshot)

For street dancer Storyboard P, dance is more than a form of movement. Dance is intuitive. It is a form of therapy, a means of communication, an escape from reality and a way to connect with a higher realm.

“Expression is an avenue to get a means to a way out,” Storyboard P told The Root.

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Storyboard P, whose given name is Saalim Muslim, started dancing at house parties. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native was around 5 years old when family members would throw him in the middle of the dance floor. It was pretty much sink or swim, and P had no option but to dance. From these experiences, Storyboard built his chops.

Decades later, P performs his mutation dances (a genre of dance derived from flexing and bruk-up) across continents. Through his various battles and performances, P gained recognition from the dance community, media and celebrities like Jay Z, who featured him in the 2013 music video “Picasso Baby.” In 2016 he even became the subject of a documentary, Storyboard P: A Stranger in Sweden.

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P’s svelte frame moves with great fluidity and the flexibility of a contortionist. Onlookers are awed, but Storyboard doesn’t dance for the adulation.

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“I used to dance for validation and love and friends and glory, and all these different things. I think what keeps me dancing now is that connection to source,” he says.

See the entire interview with Storyboard P, part of The Root’Dances of the Diaspora series, below.