Le petit ami de Madonna, Brahim Zaibat, est 'dans le groove'.
He's ‘into the groove’
Madonna’s newest boy toy, 24-year-old break dancer Brahim Zaibat, knows all the right moves
By STEFANIE COHEN
Last Updated: 1:52 AM, April 17, 2011
Posted: 7:59 PM, April 16, 2011
It's a tale as old as time: b-boy meets Material Girl.
In this case, the boy is a 24-year-old French break dancer who grew up in public housing, and the girl is a 52-year-old American who is the most famous singer the world. Brahim Zaibat is the newest man in Madonna’s arsenal — replacing blue-eyed Brazilian Dolce & Gabbana model Jesus Luz, who was even younger when the pair first got together in 2008.
But before Zaibat became Madge’s arm candy, forcing him to duck paparazzi like Linsday Lohan after a bender, he was a star in his own right, in the insular-but zealous subculture of break dancing. A dancer with sick moves and insane flexibility, he was known for never breaking a sweat.
Zaibat, from Lyon, France, has toured the world with his fellow dancers, the popular Pockemon Crew, which is one of the most well-known break dancing groups in France. So when he was asked by a friend to dance to the song “Material Girl” at the launch of Madonna’s clothing line at Macy’s in September, he wasn’t one bit fazed.
After he finished his solo, Madonna thanked him for performing, he told France’s Grazia magazine.
“It wasn’t like meeting a monster!” he says. “She’s just a woman like all the others. She’s an extraordinary artist and world-famous, of course, but a woman above all.” He added, “You know, she wasn’t the first well-known female singer I’d met. I was delighted to meet her, but not stressed out.”
Zaibat’s friend, legendary local b-boy Alien Ness, says he wasn’t too surprised when he heard the young dance phenom was hanging with the original pop princess.
“It was an exciting twist, but it wasn’t shocking,” says Ness, whose Bronx crew, the Zulu Kings, was the first break dancing group formed in the ’70s. “He’s not the type of person to be star-struck by anyone. I could see him being able to spark her interest.”
“He’s not a bad-looking kid, either,” adds Ness.
“Although he does look super-young.”
The duo were outed while doing what they each do best — dancing — at SL club in the Meatpacking District last fall, according to reports. “It was because it was Madonna that the affair took on massive proportions. Nothing was calculated by us. We had a nice night together without thinking that there might be paparazzi there,” he told Grazia.
Since then, they’ve made no secret of their love affair. They’ve been spotted going to movies in the West Village, clubbing in London, attending the Berlin International Film Festival and dining at various hot spots in the city.
Most recently, they were seen affectionately watching Madonna’s son Rocco at a gymnastics competition in the city, where Zaibat had his arm slung over her shoulder, and they kissed on the lips, despite the presence of cameras.
Neither is shy, that’s for sure. And while they may appear to be opposites — he’s considered a “street kid,” she lives on Central Park West; he’s a devout Muslim, she’s a devout follower of Kabbalah — they do have similar interests.
“She started in the hip-hop scene,” says Trac 2, a break dancer with the old-school Bronx crew Starchild La Rock, who hung out with Madonna in the ’80s at Chelsea’s hip-hop club The Roxy. “She’s done a 360. She’s going back to the b-boy scene.”
In fact, Zaibat is not the first b-boy to turn Madonna on. She dated Mr. Freeze — a breaker who runs the Ultimate B-Boy Championship — for a year in 1980.
Her old boyfriend approves of her latest squeeze.
“I think it’s fantastic that she’s dating people with great depth and flavor and artistry in what they do,” says Mr. Freeze.
And Zaibat, adds Ness, is the real deal.
In fact, Ness remembers being wowed by Zaibat’s unabashed bravado at the 2008 Over the Top 3 break-dancing exhibition he hosts in Poland each year. He says his flexibility made even standard moves look harder than they are. Meanwhile, Madonna continues to twist and turn her buff body during well-choreographed world tours.
“He didn’t even break a sweat,” says Ness. “A lot of people expected him to quit because he’s used to dancing with his crew, not solo.”
But at the end of the competition, the night belonged to Zaibat.
“It was obvious to everyone that he was the better-balanced and more well-rounded dancer; he had the arsenal of moves and the stamina to outlast his opponent,” says Ness.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether he can keep up with Madonna.