The October 1 b-boy battle began simply enough. Individuals from the Dynamic Rockers b-boy group and other local Minnesota crews began to warm up on the “floor” as the crowds trickled in, crews stretched in back and people chatted casually. Suddenly, the music grew more upbeat and the warm-up became more serious. What began with some light footwork soon turned into dives down onto the floor, twists and strange contortions of the body, freezes in positions that didn’t seem possible, and flips that made the crowd cry out with excitement.
B-boying, or men dancing in the “breakdance” style, has much more depth than how it is typically perceived. B-boying exhibits the relationship between one’s physical strength and musicality. Not only does the dance require a great deal of physical fitness, as the b-boys train every day for hours on end, it also requires a great sense of awareness for rhythm and being able to integrate dance moves in time with the music. A b-boy must be able to think quickly, to hear in advance where the music is going and to plan accordingly. If his moves, despite how good they are, are not in tune with the music, his dance will not come across as strongly as someone who works their dance into the music.
In a b-boy competition, there is also a psychological aspect involved, where each crew must watch carefully and determine who to throw in next in order to outdo their competition, or “who to go after”, as Anne Paas, a freelance filmmaker following the b-boy group the “Dynamic Rockers,” said.
B-boying demands physical strength and aptitude, hard work, dedication, and little pay. Yet, according to Whorah, Gravity and Kid Glyde of the Dynamic Rockers from New York, the rewards counterbalance these demands.
Whorah began b-boying in junior high, when he saw some b-boying on TV and in school. As young as he was, he was mesmerized, and “kept at it, practicing” and watching older b-boys. Kid Glyde had a similar start, but at a much younger age. His father was large in the b-boy scene, and it became an inherent part of Kid Glyde’s life, starting from when he was two years old and would dance with his father. Gravity began in gymnastics, and then transitioned over to b-boying despite being given a hard time because he had an “advantage over the others.” The three joined the Dynamic Rockers, a reputable b-boy group from New York, whose members all agree it has become a tight-knit family.
“It’s a never-ending challenge, nothing that you can master in one lifetime. You meet different people all the time. It’s much harder than gymnastics, if I take a week off from breaking, I’m a month behind,” Gravity reiterates.
Kid Glyde nods in agreement. “I love competing and having to outthink your opponents. I love meeting people from all around the world, from such different cultures.”
Concluded Whorah: “It requires so much energy, it’s a place to take out anger onto the floor. It’s like a whole different world.”
To see photos of some of the b-boy groups who participated in the Oct. 1 event, visit http://annepaas.blogspot.com/.