Hometown: Stockton, CA
Ariston “ReMinD” Ripoyla was born and raised in Stockton, CA. From this small town in Northern California, he would emerge to be what many consider one of the most influential B-Boys of the modern era.
From the tender age of 6, ReMind was steeped in the culture and elements of Hip-Hop. His earliest exposure to Breaking was from his cousins who he saw practicing headspins on cardboard in their garage. He was amazed by what he saw and became hooked right away. He started practicing with his cousins’ crew and entering underground battles and talent contests, effectively becoming their “secret weapon” against opponents.
Breaking started fading out in the aftermath of its exploitation by the media in the ’80s, ReMind took to other activities–some positive and some negative. He got caught up in the street life, becoming involved in criminal activity and gang culture for a period. At the same time, he took to other forms of dance. The energy and spirit of Hip-Hop was alive within him as he performed the party dances of the New Jack Swing era. It was that spirit which grounded him through run-ins with the law, tough times and confrontations that surrounded him.
He loved art and music and was influenced by everyone from the Nicholas Brothers and Michael Jackson to New Edition and Bobby Brown. ReMind was also heavily influenced by the house and freestyle dancers of the “209” (the area code for the region of Northern California he was from). In that golden age of Hip-Hop from the late ’80s to early ’90s, people were coming up with extremely unique styles and riding the wave of free expression. ReMind would see legendary dancers from Stockton such as Walter Johnson and Darrick “Quali-D” Fields who would have a major impact on him.
The seed of B-Boying within him had not disappeared either. ReMind began to pick up Breaking once again in 1991. Together with his close friend Boogie-T, he would travel far and wide, getting into different clubs (despite his young age) and battling people at parties. He was known early on for his unmatched level of energy, creativity, and fearless battle attitude.
As his skills progressed and the dance began to get more serious for him, ReMind set his sights on taking things to the next level. In 1993, together with B-Boy Ivan, he created the name “Style Elements,” which would soon become recognized worldwide for ushering in a new style and innovation to the element of B-Boying in the ’90s and beyond.
Both on his own and with SEC, ReMind collected a countless string of prestigious victories and titles, quickly becoming a star in the B-Boy community worldwide. His incorporation of freestyle and house into his breaking had a major impact on a whole generation of dancers who began to similarly incorporate different styles into their moves. ReMind also innovated a series of transitions, neck rolls, head slides, wrist moves, freezes, and concepts which would be taken up by B-Boys and B-Girls around the world. Like other members of Style Elements, his signature moves became adopted so widely that they have today become the standard vocabulary of the dance, referred to by some as the “new foundation.”
Aside from his lasting contributions to the dance, ReMind has also appeared in a variety of feature films, live shows, theatrical pieces, and underground documentaries. Today, he continues to perform, battle, teach and judge regularly in the B-Boy community. ReMind’s goals are to further spread, innovate, elevate, and preserve the roots of hip-hop culture throughout the world. He is currently working on revolutionary concepts which combine ancient cultures together with the future–giving birth to a “Future Primitive” of infinite possibilities of movement, which he’s dubbed Weapon Of Mass Expression (W.O.M.E).
Being half Lakota, ReMind has also spent a great deal of his recent time traveling to various Native American reservations throughout the U.S., teaching dance workshops, and spreading his principles of creating positive energy through Hip-Hop. Through his life and his art, he is here showing how we are all related.
Meaning Behind the Moniker
The name “ReMind” has its origins in a poem Ariston wrote when he was in the 6th grade. It spoke of him being killed by his own people on the Battle of Little Bighorn, a historic battle in 1876 which involved several Native tribes against General Custard and the US Army 7th Cavalry. In the poem, Ariston referred to himself as “Remind” and the piece itself was a reminder of what his own people had gone through. The name stuck with him as he kept on writing it repeatedly wherever he went.
Over time, the name also came to serve as a tribute to the legendary dancers out of the 209 that inspired him. Every time Ariston breaks, he is “Reminding” the world of the styles which shaped and influenced his own expression.