Calgary’s breaking youth came together for the first time ever this Nov. 9 during Battle City’s 2012 Breakdancing Finals.
The top youth breakers from all over Calgary came together to form five all-start teams, representing the NE, NW, SW, Deep South, the eventual victors from the SE, and threw down at the Eau Claire Market from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“The breaking scene is really underground, it’s a small community, and this provided the opportunity for youth to come out and spread out,” says event organizer Johnny Nguyen.
“There’s so much happening in Calgary that you don’t hear about.”
If a breakdance battle wasn’t enough, respected beat-boxers, a free-styling emcee and multitude of DJ performances round off the dose of Hip Hop culture.
“It’s been absolutely dope,” says Airis Lopez, who was out supporting his battling friends.
“It’s setting new foundations [for the breaking community].”
This first-time breaking competition is about to take a drastic step in bringing this underground community to the mainstream, which has been a goal of Nguyen’s.
“[Breaking] is about community, positive self-talk, self-expression; it helps youth apply self-awareness to everything they do.”
Respected and experienced dancers from all over Canada like Benzo, Boobjester and Mr. Clip graced the judging panel, bestowing dancers and audience members with over 50 years of breaking experience.
“Battle City is based on a mentorship model,” said Nguyen. Breaking is about passing on tradition and knowledge all while respecting each person’s own style.
Although most of what we get to see is people spinning and contorting, these participants are getting more out of this than just a good work out and serious bragging rights.
“[They] all started out so shy, and now [they’re] all close and all friends,” says breaker Charles Moreno.
“Hip Hop is all about community and having fun.”
Although the breaking community expands beyond the designated turfs set up for the battle, once on the dance floor, taunts are common.
“When you throw-down, it isn’t about the trophy or the title, it’s about your pride,” says competitor Kevin Palad from the team North Best (NW).
“You have two personalities: your dance personality and the one for you friends.”
For these youth, it definitely isn’t all about winning a trophy.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else brings; to experience different styles” says competitor Siah Go for the South East Elites.
For team-mate Jimmy Nguyen, it’s even simpler than that.
“[I do it] for the love of Hip Hop; it brings people together.”