The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Live Shots

Breakdance Competition

Reviewed by Christopher Coletti, March 15, 2002, Music

B-Boy City

South Austin Recreation Center, Friday 15 Defying gravity with acrobatic maneuvers fit, for most, only in the kiddie pools at Schlitterbahn, the South Austin Rec Center gymnasium was transformed into an interactive breakdancing haven as the annual B-Boy City breaking competition kicked off. Training all year, against all odds, these young competitors have kept their mind and bodies clean to endure the lengthy eight-hour, two-day competition, and more importantly, achieve bragging rights and fellow B-Boy admiration. With Texas already holding down World and U.S. titles, B-Boys and B-Girls arrived from around the world to see how their moves size up. DJs Panda, Baby G, and BlesOne sent breakers into a frenzy with jams blending funky hip-hop designed to keep them steadily rocking. Loose pocket change was frequently flung, as performers took flight, vertically challenging anything not tied down. All across the gymnasium crews set up practice circles that later combined to engulf other rivals into battle. The whole scene was like a bar brawl that finally leaves just two men standing, except that here the physicality is in getting down, and meaning it. There are basic foundations for maneuvers, similar to gymnastics, but what sets individuals apart is technique and attitude. As judge/promoter Romeo Navaro broke it down, "We're looking for originality, uprock dancing, and overall footwork with style." The main maneuvers scoped are freezes, in which the performer stops in mid-motion, defying momentum, and the modern Texas manipulation Funky Air Tracks, a gymnastic flair with alternating singular hand plants. Most important are the innovations designed to set B-Boys apart, many of which are seamed to the exact restraints of their bodies. New ingredients were consistently added, as individuals brought the stakes up for the entire circle, creatively devising combinations of dancing, tricks, and taunts made at rival competitors. "We're looking for the next big thing, and that is now in Texas," announced Navaro. There were more than 200 competitors, but unfortunately only a select group of 10 crews will advance into Saturday's brackets. Be there.

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