Monday, October 20, 2008

Breakbeats, Pops, and Locks

So I just woke up from a long and satisfying nights sleep after having stayed awake for 37 hours. Why was I up for so long? Breakdancing. Now I cannot dance to save my life but when you throw b-boys and b-girls from all over the world into an arena, you can make a sure bet that there are a lot of people around who can. On Saturday night, the Battle of the Year 2008 World Finals were held in Braunschweig. We took a train there and when we got off, finding our final destination was piece of cake. First we looked around to see which bus stop was surrounded by kids breakdancing, and that was our bus. Our BOTY passes doubled as bus tickets for the day. When these kids got off the bus, we hopped off and listened for music. This was the direction to walk. We got to Volkswagon Halle about two hours early, but no worries about being bored. There were two djs set up on either side with rather large crowds surrounding breakdance circles. [Oh yeah, in case you are not sure what breakdancing is or what b-boys and b-girls are, click on the respective terms to find out. I've had some people ask me to clarify.] We got to see a dance-off between these two awesome little kids, probably 5 or 6, who seemed to be having more fun dancing than focusing on the fact that they were trying to show each other up. Once past the security checkpoints and inside, the arena floor divided up into several dance circles dancing to the house music. One of the djs came out and scratched out some beats for them while the camera crews projected video feeds of them on some of the arena screens.

When the contest started, 19 different teams from countries around the world got to dance their way into the semi finals. Canada had a cool team. Props to Japan for having a chiptune set. Their whole routine was set to mixed up Nintendo music, including the music from Mario that alerts you that the time in your level is running for when the time in their routine was running out. Brazil had a cool set that included some capoeira. The US was awful. They took the opportunity to showcase their breakdancing skills to the world, and instead turned it into some silly vague political statement meaning of course that there was no way that they would place, and they didn't. The entire list of crews were as follows: [includes links and the BOTY2008 hosts, djs, and judges (who were also breakdancers).]

Qualified and confirmed crews:
Tsunami Allstars (Brasil) Now or Never (Canada)
Smokemon (France) TNT Crew (Germany)
Dead Prezz (Greece) Unstopabulls (Israel)
Kaiten Ninja (Japan) TIP (Korea)
Extreme Crew (Korea) La Halla King Zoo (Marocco)
Groove Kingz (Netherlands) Bad Taste Cru (Northern Ireland)
Crazy Twisting Tribal Team (Poland) Top 9 (Russia)

Fallen Angels (Spain) Octagon (Sweden)
Ghost Rockz (Switzerland) Formosa (Taiwan)
Furious Souldiers (USA)

Hosts: Spax ( D ), Trix ( GB )
DJs: Element (USA), Kid Cut (Germany)
Judges: Crazy (Switzerland), Born (Korea), Vartan (Germany), David Colas (France), Kid David (USA)
International Dance Showcases:
Flying Steps (Germany)
Salah (France)
Hilty & Bosch (Japan)
Also, watch this highlight video of the competition and in the crowd shot at the beginning you can see me for a split second up front before the camera pans away to the stage. I'm wearing blue on my head.

The contest was awesome! Russia ended up coming out on top winning best show and first place. I was personally pulling for Korea at the end. Oh well! After the show we took off and found a place to grab some falafel and ate in front of a closed bank before walking back to the train station.

The earliest train going out was at 6:17 in the morning so Braunscheig Hauptbahnhof was converted into a huge after party. Imagine a few hundred people in the photo of the station. A dj showed up and someone even brought a drumset. Breakdance circles popped up everywhere. People danced all night! I even saw an old lady hop into one of the circles and breakdance. Salah, the French pop&lock/break dancer (cool video link) came out to the train station. A bunch of girls made fun of his performance at BOTY and thus challenged him to a dance off in which he showed them up so hard. It was cool to see him hanging out and interacting with all the other dancers. (He reminded me of doseone freestyling with all the kids in the parking lot before the Subtle show.) After the dj took off, kids busted out their boomboxes and continued on dancing. We tried taking a quick nap in a corner, but with this much going on it didn't work so well. People were collecting bottles for money, the stores stayed open late in the station, kids were trying out all the moves that they learned that night, people were teaching each other moves, and all in all everyone was having fun. All you kids who went to the sleek corporate-sponsered after party at the club, missed out and are fake anyways. I looked at pictures of the official after party and it looked like a lame college night at a club with a bunch of dressed upclub kiddies running around with their cocktails talking about how cool hip-hop is, but whatever; I'm sure they had fun too.

So until noon the following day it was nothing but train stations as buses until we finally made our way back to Solingen. I chose not to sleep right away so that I could stay up not mess up my sleep schedule. Success! I went for a walk to keep myself awake and found these cool tunnels and the botanical garden here in town. I also walked downtown and wondered about for a bit. Ok, this is getting boring. Hope everyone is doing well stateside!


TF said...

Hey! Just tried to post a comment, but there was an error. Happy Late Birthday!!!!! I haven't checked your blog in a long time, but I'm really happy to read things you write! How are you guys doing? I hope everything else that's not in the blog is going great. :) I love the post about the trip to Berlin.

I've been applying for a ton of jobs lately, and working on two papers for the dissert, so that's been keeping me buys. Sorry i've been out of touch. Will you guys come back to the US for that wedding or whatever was going on in November? Can't wait to hear from you in person.
Much love to you both.-Tricia

elgringo said...

You are so damn lucky.
I would give anything to go to the Battle of the Year. Amazing.