B-Boyelujah, they’ll drive you crazy
Ready for some power moves, freezes, toprock and downrock? If you didn’t already know it, Floor Wars is back in town for the eighth year in a row at Vega. It’s a spectacular three against three dance-off where the world’s leading top eight international crews will battle it out against eight of the best of the rest. In total, 45 b-boy crews who will be trying their utmost to impress the judges. Qualifications for this internationally renowned competition have been going on in individual countries for the last six months, and crews from all over the world are heading this way.
But don’t call it breakdancing. Although the media-created name of breakdancing is something most can relate to, the original name is actually break-boying, which is why the dancers are often referred to as b-boys. B-boying originated on the streets of New York as an integral part of the hip-hop movement of the 1970s.
B-boying is in essence a free dance, but consists of at least four fundamental elements: toprock, downrock, power moves and freezes. Toprock is the opening display of style that can set the mood and attitude for the b-boy’s show, and it is based around varieties of fancy footwork in a standing position. Most of downrock is done entirely on the feet and hands as the arms and legs thread impossibly through each. Gymnasts may find some of the moves highly reminiscent of those performed on the pummel horse. Power moves are what most members of the general public associate with the term breakdancing: acrobatic full-body spins and breakneck rotations. Those b-boys whose repertoire consists almost solely of power moves are given the moniker ‘power heads’. Freezes are where the b-boys strike a stylish pose – the more difficult and balance-defying, the better. They display agility, musicality and upper-body strength.
The doors open at 16:00, and at 17:00 the eliminations for the 3 x 3 battles begin. Eight crews, the aforementioned ‘Great 8’, have already been invited, and this year 45 crews will be selected in a qualification prior to the main battle at 20:00. The 3 x 3 elimination will be held as classic battles, where each dancer does one solo. The judges don’t give the thumbs-up to a winning crew for each battle, but will select the eight crews who they think made the best overall impression. These eight crews will then go head-to-head with the Great 8 crews in the final later in the evening. The organisers aim to “inspire both newbies and professionals of the break dance scene, and to provide a forum for networking and exchanging of ideas and experiences”. As you can guess by the name Floor Wars, the action takes place on the floor, arena-style with the audience breathing down the necks of the b-boys, which only serves to heighten the intimacy and intensity.
Last year’s final was a classic confrontation of differing styles. The world-respected, Denmark-based Natural Effects are a charismatic crew that make full use of flavour: that is to say that their style focuses on musicality, personality and rhythm, not just power moves. Their opponents, the all-out, bust-a-move, blow-up style of the top-tuned Korean crew Cay Fusion showed off a more traditional style. Check out the incredible final on Youtube to get a feel of what to expect. Natural Effects ran out winners – but it was virtually impossible to call.
While the favourites are hard to predict, there are sure to be some unearthed gems among the qualifiers, of which the top pick has to be Super Cr3w from the USA. As the winners of the second season of America’s Best Dance Crew in 2008, Super Cr3w have built up an international reputation and will feature one of the very best in the world in Ronnie ‘Ronnie Boy’ Albonado. A keen student of the opposition, Albonado says: “I look for a specific charisma, something that separates them from the rest. I think it’s important for a b-boy to really have their own style. It’s like a superhero with their own special powers.” And hot off the press the Russians are coming in the shape of Life International. Their performances in last week’s Russian qualifier were impressive and will take the dancefloor by surprise at Floor Wars.
This is a day to watch the superheroes and be amazed at the incredible energy and acrobatics. If you want to bust a few moves of your own, then the legendary Floor Wars After-Party is the place to be. This year the walls will be shaking at KB 18. With an impressive DJ line-up, this is sure to be an intense night of partying to wind up this year’s event in style!