Since the late 1960’s on the hard concrete streets of New York City, a combat of wit, musicality, and agility unfolded into a battle of dance movements, that today, has not lost its fight. Hollywood glamorized this unrestricted societal undertaking by showcasing it in films and television since the 1970’s. An incorporation of gymnastics and martial arts the creative plain of arrangements make Breakdancing just as popular than ever. The promoter Red Bull’s You Tube Channel, website and their major city events are proof that not only does Breakdancing have a following, but Red Bull also proved that it was a sport viable to play in the 2024 Olympic games. Respectfully, this B-dance sport, once mostly men, has also in recent years opened its doors to female challengers. If you want a preview these next Olympians, you need to see Red Bull BC One’s largest world- wide Breakdancing competition. The B-players took to the main stage to compete in this years Red Bull BC One Cypher Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this year, due to covid restrictions the public could not attend, however I was there, and this is how it went down.
The vibe was urban, amazing, and fabulously fun! And, wow, can Red Bull put on an event! Even during a pandemic. The hottest ticket in Los Angeles, the last weekend in July, was unquestionably the Red Bull BC One Cypher Los Angeles. The breakdancing contest defies the rules of gravity, builds to exciting skill levels, and promotes community swagger. The dance tournament was held at the Avalon Hollywood on Saturday, July 31st and the attendees were by invitation, friends, or family of the contestants. Red Bull made sure that the event was safe for the contestants by abiding by Los Angeles City mandates and guidelines. To enter the Avalon facility these, breakdancing fans had to show proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid-19 test. Once all were inside, audience members wore masks while DJ Lean Rock, host Kid David and large puppets got the crowd supercharged. The three judges headlining the competition were B-boy Roxrite, B-girl Baby girl and B-boy G-Wiz, who throw out a hand to the winner of each round as they saw through sixteen competitors.
I got a chance to sit down and interview Judge B-girl Ericka De Leon a.k.a. Baby Girl and founder of B-girl City on what she looks for in a champion breaker. Baby Girl ‘s criteria are as she calls it, “Traditional,” she explains, “I look for flow, musicality and character.” An old school fundamentalist based on breakdancing and hip-hop historical roots. Baby Girl is keeping breakdancing origins alive and likes to see how this era of competitors incorporate it all. She remarks, “Tricks are all well and good, but it’s how everything is put together that matters.” Baby Girl also added that her community grounds her back in Houston, Texas and she loves to see the next generation shift into the future. As the rounds blasted by, it was wonderful to see a woman judge representing the female division.
The ladies rocked the house and highlighted that their abilities are thrilling, boasting a variety of visual highlights. In the first b-girl rivalry of the night, a young upbeat Goldi Rox smiled her way through her swinging transfers and was a delight to watch. Lilly Breeze came in with a fast and furious style, while Vax chose a heavier more grounded foot work adding a spectacular power move full circle one handed head track. Sel had vigorous breakdancing power moves with handstand freezes. B-girl Sel then gave a pronounced final faceoff between B-girl Jackie Agudo a.k.a. JK-47. A Los Angeles, California native, JK-47, has a tall, long body type which makes the passages visually look more difficult. She was solid through her boasting back spins and head slides. Can’t wait to see all these female breakers hopefully representing the U.S. in the Olympics to come.
The men’s division stand outs are also prime contenders for the Paris, France Olympiads. On the third challenge, B-boy Conrad from Street Wizards in Mesa Arizona, displayed a nice current of steps and athletic flair. Another two stand outs on the eighth round, an exhilarating tie between San Jose’s Scareface and Los Angeles via Brazil Yuri. Both exhibited mad skills and crazy power moves, while bringing powerfully strong personalities. Scarface answered in head spins, while Yuri responded with impressive baby mills and flares. B-boy Yuri went on to face B-boy Mace from Glendale, Arizona. He rolled in wearing an El Matador shirt as he brought in attitude, motor motion, and unstoppable actions. His winding windmills, musicality and double back skins into halo’s make him a strong contender for the golden crown.
And so it is, the judges decided on B-boy Mace and B-girl JK-47 winning the LA West Coast breakdancing battle. There are seventeen world finals, and The Red Bull BC One Cypher duels are held in major cities all over the world. Los Angeles, California is one of the stops before the all-around final national competition in Orlando, Florida. LA is always a major contender in the arena of breakdancing and this year is no different. The grand Red Bull One World final championship will take plance in Gdańsk, Poland on November 5-6, 2021. You can see all the different world competition coverage on Red Bull’s You Tube Channel this year. If you are new to breakdancing, no worries, it is an exciting time to jump on board, since you have time to start picking your favorite athletes for the next Olympic games.
To visit the Red Bull BC website, click HERE.
To watch the full competition on demand, click HERE.
Written by Alice Alyse for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Participants compete at Red Bull BC One Cypher at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, USA on July 31, 2021. – Photo courtesy of Red Bull BC