Which B-boy will break the best?
Johannesburg - The Red Bull BC One Cypher has swept the local hip-hop community with a wave of excitement.
Dance is a thankless avenue for hip-hop and breakers have a limited shelf life, and this global tournament shines a well-deserved light on the scene.
With this year’s Red Bull BC One Cypher South Africa coming up, here’s a roundup of the provincial winners:
(Photo: City Press)
REPRESENTING: CAPE TOWN
This dancer has a pantsula feel to his uprock –the rapid steps or shuffling the dancers do just before they use their hands or bodies on the ground – and a weird sense of rhythm to his work. He isn’t as explosive in his movement as some of the other dancers, but his style works and it’s rather memorable. Bax started his dance career in 2001 and was mentored by Angelo van Wyk from the legendary Cape Town group Black Noise. He was trained in various styles of street dance by New York’s Kumari Suraj and coached by Renegade, a deejay from London.
Representing: Port Elizabeth
This man has a particular knack for nailing those freeze moves – elaborate poses in which the dancer suspends their momentum while supporting their body in a creative way. He powers on to the floor and suddenly stops or dramatically slows down his movement, which makes for graceful punches or highlight moments. At one stage that slow-mo effect dominated routines, thanks to crews like the Jabbawockeez. It is impressive when used by a
B-boy as it is harder to achieve this effect off your feet.
Bizzo has been break-dancing for 10 years. This stocky cat, which is not a common build in this world, has movement that packs power behind it. But he doesn’t rely on this only – I would say his musicality or flavour is his strongest attribute. He dances like he knows each song intimately and so his punches are calculated and right on cue. This brother dances to express, not to impress. “When I dance, I plan to show your eyes what your ears are hearing. I believe B-boying is the most free form of dance on this planet,” he says.
This man is not a newcomer by any means. I remember watching him catch waves alongside Switch, Vokes and Versatile back when YoTV had flavour. His style is almost militant and straight forward. He doesn’t concern himself with the inflammatory gestures or taunts that a lot of B-boys will add to their uprock. He just gets to it. Shorty Blitz has won the Red Bull BC One Gauteng qualifier twice, qualified five times for the South African qualifier and ranked in the top four. He explains: “For me, as a kid from the Cape Flats, dance will always be my form of expression, my voice and my way of uplifting myself, communities and my dance culture. Dance is an extension of my soul.”
The 26-year-old B-boy from Joburg has been dancing since 2005. “I have formed part of three local dance crews,” he says. “Having competed in four Red Bull BC One South African tournaments and getting to the finals of the 2017 edition, I am looking to go all the way this time, God willing.”
And he very well could, as Bashi is highly regarded in breaking circles. His downrock – the moves performed with one’s hands on the floor, where your feet would usually be – is clean. He also mixes an array of moves for a silky transition between moves – a style of breakdancing – delivery with a touch of that old school electric boogaloo – an old school form of locking, similar to a Charleston or Lindy hop – essence.