Red Bull BC One has grown to become the biggest on one breakin’ competition in the world, thus the title is much sort after. Holding world finals in different countries each year it reflects the global appeal of this artform and the competition is fierce, bboys and bgirls must battle through their country qualifiers for a place in the finals. This UK cypher was in invite only. The most skilled 16 B‑Boys and 8 B‑Girls picked to battle it out one on one for the top spaces at Village underground in Shoreditch. Solo B‑Boy and B‑Girl Champions of the UK cypher will go on to represent the UK at this year’s Red Bull BC One World Finals held in Mumbai, India.
As a nice little extra, during the day Red Bull in collaboration with the UK B‑Boy Championships organized a free workshop with the infamous Red Bull BC One All Stars — Roxrite and Neguin. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for B‑Boys and B‑Girls who wanted to learn from these prolific dancers and it didn’t matter how long they had been dancing for, you could learn a lot from these B‑Boys.
The main event was held at Village Underground in Shoreditch — outside the venue was adorned with art and murals. As I joined the queue I was asked if I had a spare ticket as there were several people who couldn’t get into this sold out event. Tickets were also available for free with a promo code for those attending the UK B‑Boy Championships the following day. This weekend was all about breakin’ in London and this night kicked it off in a special way.
Security shouted down the line, ‘no liquids allowed, there are free drinks inside’ in true Red Bull fashion drinks were available for free at this over 18’s event, it was going to be a party. Entering into a quirky underground venue comprised of a warehouse and shipping containers I loved its intimacy. Ambiently lit it was filled with familiar faces mostly dancers from the scene. The limitation on the number of guests was an advantage so everyone could be closer to the main stage and the action.
Filmed for the Red Bull live stream contributing to their 36 hours live stream, it felt like it was a part of something much bigger. Hosted by none other than Crazy Legs from the Rock Steady Crew, he brought his usual charisma and wit to the stage. Each dancer was called on stage to be introduced before the battles began, which helped put names to faces or rather moves, it was a moment to appreciate who had been invited to compete. The 16 B‑Boys: Marius, Enos, Sheku, Shoggs, Kid Kelvin, Daz, Izaak, Victor J, Infante, Eggy, Razzleroc, Echo, Sunni, Jackson and Gribz. The 8 B‑Girls: Rawgina, Jenn, Fidget, Shortbread, Munirat, Zana, Vanessa and Angel. The judging panel consisted of Red Bull BC One All Stars – Neguin and Roxrite with the previous winner of BC One Cypher UK – Spin (Soul Mavericks). DJ Khan Fu from Manchester was spinning music for the night, restricted to what he could play due to copyright laws as the event was being live streamed but he still continued to keep the selection hype for the battles.
Sunni won his first battle against Jackson but had to unfortunately pull out of the competition due to health issues. Before he stepped out, Crazy Legs brought him out to the stage to give him a shout out for his consistency. Each dancer pushed the limits of physical and mental endurance to give all they could, but there could only be one winner in each category.
Red Bull BC One UK Cypher Solo B‑Girl Winner — Vanessa
The final B‑Girl battle was between Vanessa and Raw Gina. Both came out really hard with both style and technical moves. Neither lacked energy. As a woman it was inspiring to see so many B‑Girls on this platform. The win was taken by Vanessa who thanked the people who practiced with her and helped her reach this level. Crazy Legs reminisced on seeing dope B‑Girls as he grew up with one in particular Headspin Janet from the Bronx. He told Vanessa she now has the opportunity to take it to the next level and continue the legacy of dope B‑Girls and inspire other women. Vanessa then took this time to congratulate and thank all the other B‑girls in the competition battle who managed to reach this level. I caught Vanessa after the battle to ask her a few questions.
Cy: Vanessa, huge congratulations on taking the win! What does all of this mean for you?
Vanessa: Thank you. It means a lot to me, especially because this was a major battle against myself and my own mind. It’s a lot of pressure and expectations we put on ourselves. Letting myself down is my worst fear. So by winning this is proof that I can do whatever I believe and put my mind into”.
Cy: Breakin’ is very much mentally demanding as it physical and takes a lot of training. How often did you train for this?
Vanessa: I practice really hard for this, my work been consistent, is not something we just do one day, its every day! I always say we need to practice twice as hard to get half as much. So I’m really happy for this win.
Cy: You should be very proud. What’s next?
Vanessa: Well hopefully this win will give me more opportunities to travel the world and help me share my story and knowledge about this culture and dance.
Red Bull BC One UK Cypher Solo B‑Boy Winner — Jackson
The Final B‑Boy battle was between Jackson and Izaak who both went all out with what seemed like boundless energy and style. Jackson took the win thanking his crew Battalions and giving Bad Taste Crew a shout out without whom he said this would not have been possible.
Cy: Congratulations on the win Jackson! I know you must be buzzing right now what does this win mean for you?
Jackson: This win means the world to me! Just to get to compete on a Red Bull BC One stage was amazing!!! So to be able to have a chance to compete on the stage at the finals is crazy!!
Cy: It’s most definitely a massive achievement. How do you think this will influence your journey in breakin’?
Jackson: It’s made me just want to break more than I ever had and definitely been the biggest motivator for me. I think in terms of helping my journey in breakin, it’s just going to make me get better, train harder and experience new opportunities which I think is definitely the main thing.
Cy: That’s great to hear, I look forward to seeing more of you in future. How do you think this win will open up new doors for you?
Jackson: I’ve had so many people message me who I don’t know and it’s amazing to get support like that! It was super overwhelming! So yeah I think it’s going to open so many opportunities for in my journey, I feel like I’m just getting started now haha.
A great night filled with high level breakin, both Vanessa and Jackson will be going to Mumbai to represent the UK at a world level.
Wishing them the best of luck!