Hosted by the legendary Crazy Legs (who didn’t fail to keep us entertained), The BBOY Championships were in full swing on the day of the finals with an action packed line up of pure skill and jaw dropping awe. The audience were left in anticipation.
The event was broken down into various categories including solo Poppers, Breakers, Hip Hop freestylers and of course the ultimate finale; the B‑Boy crew battle finale which saw the World Champion title deservedly go to Morning of Owl of Korea. A dedication to creative detail which left nothing to the imagination, was evident in the final battle. They certainly saved the best till last. Check out the final battle here. (The winning routine by Morning of Owl, which did it for me, starts from 12mins 45s.)
I managed to catch up with a few of the dancers backstage.
Flooriorz crew of Japan who came a close second, showcased the super talented crew member Nonaka Taisuke in the solo B‑Boy round who was just beaten by Menno of Holland. Both of course giving a fierce performance.
Catching up with Nonaka he informed me that since Japan’s inception of Hip Hop in the 1980’s (much later than most other countries) it has seen an evolutionary uprising of talent amongst younger dancers. Starting from the age of 8 himself, Nonaka confessed to working extremely hard to reach his current professional standard. And since Japan is an Island country, it seemed more isolated, creating its own definition of Hip Hop in terms of its mentality and thinking from the rest of the world.
This got me thinking about the importance of difference when it came to Hip Hop and being able to identify with it on an individual basis, especially when expressing your art in a foreign country. With Breaking being the first hip hop dance style to be maintained and developed by the Puerta Rican community in New York, its evolution since the 1970’s has seen world wide coverage. And even though these distinct identities are rooted in these historical experiences, they have evolved to develop a profound impact within this underground scene. It appears that a rejection and criticism of mainstream media and commercialism is an important aspect of the underground culture, almost as not to tarnish its reputation. In a nutshell…you wouldn’t catch these cats auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent. However that rejection and even that industry has played an important role in developing the authenticity of Hip Hop as a culture.
“With the utmost respect the way I see it: what we do here (underground) is we teach others to be themselves, over there in the mainstream they teach you to be someone else…just to make money.”
Says Hip Hop freestyle winner Paradox, who has been dancing for 13 years and battled it out with runner up Shaadow. They both explained that the learning, for them, never ends. When asked what advice they would give to anyone wanting to become a freestyler they said “to learn and master the absolute basics. Only then develop your own sense of style and unique moves.” But more importantly it seemed that research was the focal point when it came to learning successfully — Something Shaadow experienced on his journey to becoming a self taught Freestyler. Originally starting out in Turfing – a style which illustrates storytelling through glides and mimes, originating in California – he was forced to do his own research and even learnt moves by creating his own spider map after being misled down the choreographed pathway.
The obvious pattern, that the mainstream has such an impact on the masses, is unmistakable in the authenticity of Hip Hop culture. Many are often left ignorant on topics, cultures and issues they know nothing about after creating understandings and prejudices from pseudo revolutionary ideologies, particularly in music videos.
Shaadow and Paradox reassure newcomers by quoting the Hip Hop dictionary as a great resource tool to perfect the craft and bring knowledge.
Truly a day of talent.
For further details about each winner – Find out more here.
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