Gravity-defying head spins, twirling windmills, and rapid-fire footwork are hallmarks of “breaking,” an urban dance style that, along with graffiti, MC-ing, and DJ-ing are urban traditions that make up the expressive core of hip hop culture. Sponsored by Sprite, competitions featuring some of the nation’s most electrifying dancers will be held on Saturday and Sunday in the festival’s Dance Pavilion. Sixteen dancers will compete daily—b-boys on Saturday and b-girls on Sunday—judged by a panel of experts. DJ Mickey Slicks of the Raleigh-based crew Raleigh Rockers will provide the dance beats, and Chris “Check-It” Lim will emcee. With nearly 20 years experience battling, hosting, and judging breakdance competitions, Check-It is known in the urban dance community for innovative battling concepts, including “City vs. City” (CVC) battles like the one at this year’s National Folk Festival.
Popular media calls this amazing urban dance tradition “breakdancing,” but breakers prefer the terms “breaking” or “b-boying.” Practitioners are called “breakers,” “b-boys,” or “b-girls.” Breaking first emerged among African American and Latino youth in the South Bronx in the early 1970s. The first hip hop DJs began experimenting with the “break-beat,” in which short, percussive sections from existing records were isolated and repeated. The “break,” said famed DJ Afrika Bambaataa, was “that certain part of the record that everybody waits for—they just let their inner self go and get wild.” Across New York City, breaking became popular as part of informal competitions between dancing “crews.” B-boys eventually incorporated elements from kung fu, acrobatics, and Brazilian capoeira to further dazzle the crowds, and breaking spread worldwide as hip hop become an international phenomenon.
Interested in competing in the 2017 CVC Greensboro Open? Register Now!