The story of Marquese “Nonstop” Scott almost reads like a Hollywood movie. And, being from LA, maybe that’s kind of appropriate. His uniquely fluid style of street dancing looks, and is described as, gravity defying, while his name alludes to the fact he’s rarely standing still.

The man now commands a YouTube subscriber count of close to 2 million, as well as racking up over 350 million views on his videos. However, the self-taught dancer only really began getting his moves on tape in the early days so he could track his progress.

Fast forward a number of years, and Nonstop is pushing himself to the limit, transforming the side of a California building into his own personal dance floor 115 feet above the ground. The stunt literally defied gravity and was captured in the Ballantine’s Presents Nonstop’s Breakin’ Gravity film. It was also the summation of four days of intensive training between the dancer, the “vertical dance” arts company, Bandaloop, and Ballantine’s Scotch whisky – whose own founder believed in staying true to the real you.

If nothing else, Nonstop’s journey represents the power of this mantra perfectly: staying true to himself and dancing, and living, the way he wanted. It also represents the democratic force of the internet and its ability to catapult people with real talent towards superstardom. We sat down with Marquese ‘Nonstop’ Scott to talk about the project, his style, his sneakers and how he battled to stay true to himself and to have his dance style recognized by the scene.

Highsnobiety
Hey Nonstop, so thanks for sitting down with us. That video with Ballantine’s Scotch whisky, you were training for something like four days for that, right?

Marquese “Nonstop” Scott
Yeah that’s right, four days.

HS
What was that like on your body? Was it anything you’d ever experienced before?

Nonstop
It was definitely a different kind of strain. I was using a different set of muscles that I wasn’t used to using. I had to adapt. It was definitely a challenge.

HS
How long have you been dancing?

Nonstop
I’ve been dancing for 21 years. I started when I was 12. Long long time…

HS
I heard in the movie that you perfected your dancing styles whilst battling on the streets of Crenshaw, LA. What does “battling” mean exactly?

Nonstop
Oh that’s like when you battle in competitions and there’s a whole bunch of dancers that enter the competition, and then they figure out who’s best, out of all the people who enter.

HS
Oh okay, cool. So you’re completely self-taught, that’s right?

Nonstop
Yes. Yes I am.

HS
How did you learn to do what you do? What’s your inspiration with how you move?

Nonstop
Just being around other dancers: You pick up information like that, and then I applied that to my own style. Because when I first tried, when I started out popping, that’s a very popular dance that has its own rules. And I didn’t really like the rules so I decided then that I was gonna try and do my own style of dance and my own spin on it. And that became what’s now known as ‘animation’. Cos animation was itself a certain style of popping but it was never brought to the forefront, so what I did was bring that style forward.

HS
So your style is called “animation? Because it just seems so fluid?

Nonstop
It’s kinda like when you watch a cartoon and see an animated character, so you want to create an illusion that you’re not real. And that’s the whole concept behind animation – making yourself slide, waving, slow motion – and in the same way that is has the foundation of popping, it has the foundation of animation.

HS
Was your style easily accepted by people?

Nonstop
Well back in the day in LA, the style that I do now, that I still do, it wasn’t that accepted back then. I used to enter competitions, time and time again, and I would never win because they’d say stuff like: “Oh, you’re not popping.” But then now, now that this type of dance style [animation] has gained so much popularity, now they’re starting to say that what I do is popping.

I can say that it has been accepted among the community now as a style and there’s so many more dancers in this movement now that it’s almost undeniable. The culture has accepted it and it has become a viable style. So it has changed the dance game very strongly.

And this happened around about a year after Pumped Up Kicks. I think people in the beginning, they might have thought that this was just a trend or that it was gonna die out within a year, but that’s probably when it became popular.

HS
Why do they call you “Nonstop,” then?

Nonstop
Y’know I never stop dancing. I’m always, always dancing. Sometimes I’m dancing and I don’t even fully realize that I’m dancing. I may just be having a conversation with someone face-to-face, but my hands will be moving, not knowing that I’m dancing. They’re always dancing, nonstop dancing! Sometimes I’m like “oh man! that’s catchy!” and I can’t stop it.

HS
And you have a lot of videos. How many videos do you have cos I lost track at around 100…

Nonstop
I think I have a total of… over 200.

HS
How many?

Nonstop
200.

HS
Serious?!

Nonstop
I think… I think so…

HS
And how and why did it all start? You were wanting to basically track your moves and track how well you were doing them, right?

Nonstop
Yeah, it was basically to keep progress – I’d upload a video maybe once a month record a video once a month and then I’d maybe go back to it two months later, and see if my style was different, or whether it was improving, or was just staying the same. And then as soon as I started uploading the videos that’s when I started getting a following. I wasn’t doing it to get any kind of following to begin with but I’m definitely grateful.

HS
What was it about that 60th video – the Pumped Up Kicks one that just kinda skyrocketed and helped put you in the position that you’re in today – what was it about that video that made it so popular do you think?

Nonstop
Honestly, I think it was a matter of timing. It was just the right time and the right place where I shot the video, and it was the right song, and… well it ended up being the right dance moves.

HS
Where were you shooting it?

Nonstop
That was a bowling alley, believe it or not.

HS
Really?

Nonstop
Yeah. That was just right by where I lived.

HS
It looked like a church.

Nonstop
No everybody thought it was, y’know I guess with the architecture of the building which almost looks as though it’s come from overseas. But it worked anyway.

HS
You seem a fan dubstep, and of high-tops as well.

Nonstop
Well right now I have a pair that are my favorite for dancing in, and a favorite pair that I just like to wear casually. For dancing in, that has to be my Jordan XIIIs. They are amazing to dance in. They look cool and the toe support – well, the overall support of the shoe is great; they’re made to play basketball in so they’re meant to be strong. And as far as my everyday casual shoes, probably the Jordan X or XI. They’re definitely my favorite shoes right now.

HS
You said in your film with Ballantine’s Scotch whisky that you’re a naturally shy person and you mentioned that dancing had helped you to overcome this.

Nonstop
Well before dance came along, I wasn’t really a popular or outgoing person. I was always with myself. I had a few friends coming up through high school that I kicked with but I wasn’t really a social person. But then when I started dancing, it draws people towards you. So I dance, first and foremost, but then after you’re done dancing, they come up and talk to you. So it’s almost an ice-breaker and they’re talking about dance which is something that I love, so it’s easy to then talk. So that made it very easy for me throughout my career to then open up and become a social person.

But, if somebody were to just come up and talk to me about something other than dance, I’d be just like, err… what’s going on…? Know what I mean?

HS
Sure. But I think it’s pretty amazing to see somebody who’s genuinely an artist and doing what you’re doing and then being a success at it, like from the ground up. When you first started, was this ever a goal that you were going for or did you just roll with it?

Nonstop
Definitely… Definitely did not imagine that one day… I mean, I wanted to be successful and make a career out of it but it is definitely not what I imagined. I almost thought that I’d be able to, y’know, get a gig here, get a gig there and make it okay. But it’s far beyond that now.

HS
So what are you working on next? Anything that you can elaborate on?

Nonstop
Yeah, I have a couple of concepts that I wanna do. The next concept video that I wanna do, for instance, is underwater.

HS
Wow… That’s cool.

Nonstop
That, and a feature film maybe. There’s some offers on the table, but I have to wait until the concept is right.

 

View Ballantine’s Scotch whisky Presents Nonstop’s Breakin’ Gravity film and check out Nonstop’s YouTube channel.

Words by Jack Drummond
Branded Content Editor