Hometown: San Jose, CA
Andrew Mam, aka A-Game, was born in 1989. The exact moment he was introduced to and subsequently enamored by hip-hop was some time in 1993-94 when while driving down Aborn Rd, his cousin Helena played the classic track ‘Pharcyde – Otha Fish’. The connection was strong and immediate. Also in the car at the time, was his cousin and first dance mentor, Ratha Nou from Jedi Mind Tricks (2nd gen Mind Tricks). Over the years, Andrew would be periodically exposed to the scene by those two, ever so slowly absorbing the culture.
In 2001, Andrew began attending Cambodian folk dancing classes with Ratha (10 years his senior), and Ratha would practice while the rest of the troupe caught up on learning dances and songs to perform at the Cambodian New Year. Ratha taught him a few things, and come 2002 as he entered into middle school, he began his path of practicing the craft of breaking. In 2006, he was inducted into Hybrid Crew, who would go on to become his teachers, mentors, foundation, friends, and his second family whom he still dances with today.
In 2007, he met his first mentor, the impeccable Kwon138 (Swift Kids), a relatively unknown 1980s NYC bboy in the global sense, yet highly revered amongst many knowledgeable circles and dancers who were blessed to have met him. In June 2007, immediately after graduating High School, Andrew flew himself out to Texas to train and learn from K, and his dancing and mentality towards the dance were forever changed after that trip. In October 2008, at Mighty4 SF, he would meet his second mentor, Poe One of Style Elements, which marked the beginning of a close relationship and mentorship that would continually guide him through developing, exploring, and experimenting with his style and outlook on life still to this day.
From this point on, elevating–as a dancer, as a person highly engaged with the world around him, and as a critical thinker of dance and culture–became his central aim. Blessed with a family member in the airline industry, he has been traveling extensively on his own between December 2008 to present; continually building, learning, and creating lifelong friendships with other bboys and dancers from South America, Europe, and Asia, as well as experiencing the world and discovering, defining, and creating himself as a man in the world outside of hip-hop culture. It was in this time period, with the aid of his experiences and guidance by his loved ones, that he would discover a major precept of his dance: that any major breakthrough or growth in his life, whether it be delving deep into the ‘darkside’ of past traumas or current issues in life, or even trying new things just to learn from his mistakes, would lead to major breakthrough and evolution in his dancing (of course coupled with consistent training and learning as much as possible about breaking and other dance styles). He gained more confidence to engage with the unexplored territory of movement that defines an original style, and to test and refine that style in the highly contentious, aggressive, yet ultimately powerful bboy culture. In an era of bboy history when everyone began to look the same, he began to stand out with his own approach to the dance rooted in analytical understanding and critical eye of the dance, its history, and its culture.
In August 2011, he was inducted into the legendary Style Elements Crew. Honored and humbled, he recognizes that being put down with one of the most reputed, awarded, loved, and respected crews of all time do nothing to solidify his legacy, and that the weight of carrying such a cherished name equivocates to a challenge to his ambition and drive–a challenge he is ready to engage with. Still in college as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and just 22 years old, the future remains an exciting venture to be lived fully, a moment by moment. He hopes to inspire, create a timeless style that leaves a mark on the game, leave a tangible contribution to bboying outside of just dancing, and to represent Hybrid Crew and Style Elements to the fullest potential of the principles they stand for: originality and creativity, pushing the boundaries, and promoting the dance as a beautiful medium for self-discovery.
Meaning Behind the Moniker
‘A-Game’ was given to Andrew in January 2007 after he had performed at a bboy jam as the MC of his funk/soul/hip-hop fusion band called Jive Theory. During that time period, he was an active new member of Hybrid Crew, an MC performing quality music, as well as ASB President at his high school. He had been searching for a name, waiting to be dubbed something as he wouldn’t accept a name he made up himself, when his friend Nick finally gave him ‘A-Game’ because he always brought his A-Game to whatever he did and the name has stuck ever since. Inspired by Poe One (Peace On Earth – Originality Never Ends), A-Game began to stand for two acronyms. First, ‘All Give All More Enlightenment’ which reflects his mentality that everyone you encounter is there to enlighten you. That we are forever students continually learning, in positive and negative ways, and we must all enlighten each other through conversation (verbally, spiritually, physically, etc.) to reach the next day and progress contemporary artistry and mankind as an entity.
Second, A-Game stands for ‘As Good As ME.’ This acronym reflects the objective fact that A-Game will never be the best dancer in the world (a fact he discovered while taking a Brian ‘Footwork’ Green workshop). From his experience, he learned that all we can do is become the best at who we are, for ourselves. That the end goal of dance is not eternal glory in the likes of a Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, but rather of self-actualization and spiritual balance to the highest potential possible set by the self.