Friday, August 8, 2008


Mostly in English with subtitles as required.

Breakdown sections of a musical piece (better known simply as breaks) are short interludes from all the other elements of the song such as vocals and basslines. Disc jockeys learned to string these breaks together as a strong rhythmic base providing dancers an opportunity to display their skills.

Breakdancing evolved as part of the hip hop movement among African American and Puerto Rican youths living in Manhattan and the South Bronx sections of New York City during the early seventies.

A b-boy or b-girl is a practioner of breakdancing.

The four basic elements of breakdance:
 Toprock: a string of steps performed standing up
 Downrock: moves done while on the floor
Power moves: impressive acrobatics borrowed from gymnastics such as the flare, headspins, backspins, handglides and windmills
 Freezes: halting all motion in a stylish pose usually to finish the set

A crew is a group of two or more BBoys (or BGirls) who dance together either simultaneously or separately.

Battles are head to head confrontations between individuals or groups of dancers who try to outperform the other by displaying a set of more complicated and innovative moves. There are two types:
 the cypher battle is the name given to a circle of b-boys and/or b-girls who take turns dancing in the center. There are no judges other than the participants, no concrete rules nor any restrictions except for unwritten traditions
 organized battles are just that: there is a time limit, a limit to the number of dancers that can represent each side and there are unbiased judges chosen based on their years of experience

Phase-T from France: mostly North African young men plus one blond white boy
Knucklehead Zoo from Las Vegas: a group of Latino-Americans
Ichigeki from Japan
Gamblerz from South Korea: the reigning champions
Last for One also from South Korea

For most people breakdancing had simply disappeared; apparently there has been resurgence since the early 1990s. This documentary profiles five of the groups that took part in the annual competition known as the Battle of the Year.

By taking time to interview some parents it soon becomes clear that some b-boys have more than difficult dance routines to deal with.

Obviously geared to those already familiar with this subculture, no attempt has been made to familiarise the rest of us with the terms noted above.


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