Thursday, 21 July 2011
I know it's been said before but I'll just re-iterate it here because I see that many people still don't understand it. If ure at an event to battle there are a few very important things to keep in mind if u wanna get thru the qualifiers, both as showcase or as straight battles like World BBoy Classic.
The first, and most important, is to look like ure there to battle!!
Treat the judges or the audience as ur opponents and battle for ur life.
It's doesn't mean u need to be rowdy and all up in people's faces, but u need some fire.
I see so many people with their heads down and zero intensity. It's not gonna work. Ure not in the training hall. U need to show an almost desperate need to qualify.
Or u won't.
Secondly, we wanna see u know what ure doing. Even if ure at a basic level. Lie to us. Present ur movements with conviction. The simplest step done with the correct power can appear impressive. If u can't do a move, don't attempt it unless ure just using the opportunity for practice. Can't hit it 90% of the time? Leave it out!!
Thirdly, I'm watching u from before u even hit the floor. Ur body language tells me what time it is. Be in gear. Don't stand there gawping. Look like ur gonna punish someone, like u can't wait for them to finish so u can show them who the boss is. And even after uve finished, r u gonna shuffle back to the line or return like u killed everyone on the room? I know what I wanna see.
Ur time starts the moment u step up to the line and doesn't end til the judges call a result. Seriously, people give so much information away in their body language. Were they happy with their run, did they do enough, did they mess up, r they confident, do they feel defeated etc.
Finally, I need to talk about form. For me it's very important. It really makes a big difference especially in a close call. I can tell straight away if someone understands their basics. If they have the condition to perform the things they r trying. Flares that scrape the floor; moves that are not under control and take u into the crowd; bad footwork shapes; no clarity in movements; rushed throwdowns with no finesse; no snap. There are so many giveaways.
So even if u did a good run, the final decision may be based on how cleanly it was presented and how clear it was visually.
And if I'm judging, it's MY decision. Not ur fans and friends. They r not looking for what I'm looking for.
Here endeth the lesson.
Think u know about these dances?
U been here a few years, done nothing, been nowhere and u think u have it all figured out?
Had a few workshops and took some pictures with ur favourite dancer and now ure an expert?
'Poe said this', 'Brian said that', 'Greg said...', 'Pete told me...'.
Without context these statements can mean anything. I have these lame discussions with noobs all the time. They actually think their opinion carries weight. It's a sad affair.
Can u imagine this attitude in any other field? U'd be laughed at. But for some reason, our dance is a free for all where even the most inept beginner feels that they have some deep insight into something they barely understand.
It's even worse when it comes to comments on judging. Then they really show their ignorance. Their opinion that so and so was robbed cos somehow they know more than Pete or Storm or Link or whoever.
Judging is subjective and people don't necessarily like what u like. Or what uve been told to like!
If u don't understand, JUST ASK! I know all these guys and they are all more than willing to fix ur lack of understanding. But don't look for one line sound bites. Try to understand what they are trying to convey.
Try to increase ur knowledgebase so u can know what ure talking about.
I've been here 30 years and I'm still learning. It never stops.
So don't think u have it all figured out when u just got here.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Soul Mavericks. 3x UK national champions.
This was a definite milestone in recent times for breaking in the UK.
For the third time in a row my crew won the UK Regional Conflict finals which qualifies them to represent the country at the World Finals in October.
It was a tense day for me. I had 2 Maverick crews, a new female crew I'm teaching, Soul Superior, and my grand students Breaking Hearts, in the comp.
There was a lot of expectation for us to win and of course a lot of people would love to see us fail.
All 4 crews performed superbly. It's not about winning or losing, of course we want to win, but more about getting out there and representing. Being fresh. Presenting ur skills. Showing ure part of this community and not just a tourist.
Both female crews did very well. Even as beginners, they performed in a way that made me proud. Heads up, dancing, battling, representing to the max. If they stick with it u'll be seeing a lot more of them soon.
Soul Mavericks had a sticky start facing what was probably the other strongest crew of the line up in the first round. It was a crew of Bulgarians and Dizzy from MDC!! They were international level and no joke.
Luckily, they were beaten 2 votes to 1.
Apart from that, both Mavericks crews brought fire with Mavericks X making the semi's and losing to La Familia who were beaten in the final by Soul Mavericks. An interesting fact that I think many UK crews should pay heed to, is that Mavericks will still be going to IBE to qualify and to put final touches on the preparation for October. Basically IBE acts as a qualifier for Champs where 3 crews will advance to the World Finals.
Spin gets MVP for getting to the finals in solo and team battles and repping hard as a ninja all day.
For me he is still the UK solo champion.
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
That was a busy one!
2010 has been another great year for me.
I did a LOT of djing and a fair amount of judging.
Covered many of the usuals but I've also observed a few things that are new.
I can't cover every event but some have stuck in my head...
At the beginning of the year Juste Debout added toprock as one of the categories at this major dance event.
I had the privilege of djing this milestone.
The winner, and deservedly so, was Y Not.
In my opinion he has been very instrumental in bringing toprock back into focus.
World BBoy Classic was dope.
The dutch seem to come up with these dope concepts all day!!
I was one of the judges and the competition was fierce.
Winners were Thesis and Keebz.
I was honoured to see Lamine KILLING it all day.
Showing everyone that older dancers can still compete at this high level.
(Along with Ness, Poe and others who also still rep).
Focus opened a dance school in Finland.
Called Saiffa, it's a step in the right direction for producing the next generation.
Flomo are one of the only true school crews in the world. They have stuck to their style throughout the years.
Not following trends, but making them.
They also have 2 of my favourite bgirls of all time. Taya and AT.
Hatsolo is also one of my favourite bboys. Raw character that only few dancers have these days.
This is THE mammoth event of the year.
Too many things to cover.
Judged the UK qualifiers with Lamine and Kwikstep.
Unanimous calls every battle except maybe one.
Heard so much BS after.
IF U DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW JUDGING IS DONE, JUST ASK!!!
Don't make shit up cos ure ignorant.
For the first time in 8 years a UK crew made it through the first round!
This may not mean anything to any of you, but for us it is a 'making history' achievement.
Not only that but it is the crew I gave birth to and train/ed.
I am so proud.
We still have a long way to go but things are definitely changing.
Overall winners were Vagabonds, making a great return, and Flying Buddha in the solos.
Battle of the Year moved venue, and country, to Montpelier, France.
12,000 people at a bboy event!! Insane!
Had a great time.
Dj'ed for the solo competition, which Thesis won.
Jinjo won the crews.
Redbull BC One was the last big event of the year.
Looks like Redbull are here to stay.
Absolutely crazy on a production level.
It was on the level of a TV program.
Interesting battles with a few surprises.
Neguin was crowned winner. Killed it all day.
I finished off the year by being voted best BBoy DJ of 2010 on BBoyWorld.
Thank you to all those that voted for me and recognise my hard work.
Monday, 13 September 2010
I have just returned from France.
There was a dance event in Valenciennes, near Lille, called Dance Evolution. Organised by Hot Clan crew it was a competition that consisted of 2v2 Hip Hop, 2v2 Popping and 5v5 Breaking.
Hosts were Youval and Maleek.
DJ's, myself and DLeek.
The day of the event consisted of qualifiers for Hip Hop and Popping. Breaking was by invite only and 8 crews were chosen(Norway, Spain, Poland, Slovakia and the rest from France).
I entered the popping with Sacha from Lille. I've known her for a while and we always play around battling each other for fun.
She didn't have a partner and wanted to enter and I suggested we do it together as a joke. She said yes!!
We signed up and the battle was on.
I have never entered a popping battle before.
Even though I have been popping on and off(mostly off) since 1982 this was new territory for me.
Jamming in a cypher or having an exchange with someone for a few rounds is a completely different prospect.
Add to that the fact I haven't had much time to practice recently because of all the travelling.
On top of that, we were in France. The average level in France is very high in all dance styles. So many heavy hitters come out of that country. It's no joke.
Then I found out that for the qualifier we had to battle. It wasn't showcase style.
There were about 20 popping pairs of which 8 would be chosen, so I figured it would be a very short performance then I'd get back to DJing. You would not believe the shock on my face when they read out our names!!!
Anyway. Long story short, we qualified and then battled our way to the semis where we lost to Pepito and Lemzo. I think people were very surprised a)that I entered and b)that I did so well.
Popping battles are way different to breaking.
In a breaking battle there is hardly any time to think. You have a much better idea of what you're gonna do. Freestyling is minimised(in general).
In popping it feels like you're out there for aaaaages. There's loads of time to think. To decipher the song. Choose which style(s) you're gonna display. Look in the opponents face. Be distracted. Then u get back to your side and completely forget what you did! This could all be down to lack of experience but I loved it. I do know one thing though. I didn't get to show half of the things I can do. More surprises to come.
Anywhooo, Team Schmetta won the breaking; C-pef Krew won the Hip Hop; Djidawi and Faouzi won the popping(very close final).
A big THANK YOU to Babette, Rachid and Sagy.
Organisationwise, everything was on point for me.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
You've probably reached this blog through a new portal called bboyinsiders.com
It's a fresh idea by BBoy Amjad, of 7$ and Circle Kingz/Princz.
Basically, it's a way to keep abreast of what's happening in the bboy world firsthand from some of the key players in the game.
I think it's a great idea. Many of us have been on this scene for a looooooooooong time and have amassed quite a bit of knowledge. In Hip Hop, we use the term 'Each One, Teach One' and this is an interesting application of the concept.
I am honoured to be included in the list.
I travel a hell of a lot to events around the globe and am quite opinionated.
I hope you'll get a few laughs from some of my blogs.
I'll comment/blog on other dances and dance events as well because I don't just DJ at bboy jams.
Anyway, nice meeting u. Stay a while.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
OK, OK. I admit it. 2009 was a washout for my updates. I have so many half written blogs it's crazy. Covering 30 or so events from last year and my reflections on observations.
It's harder than I thought. Things just get busy and u get sidetracked.
I'll try to 'Make It Happen' this year.
At least a lil more than last.
It was a great year though. Things have changed so much in the last few years. The amount of events and dancers. The quality of both. The emergence of 'dance' competitions on television and the stench of exploitation. Busy times!!
I start with a quick jaunt to Switzerland this weekend then Finland the following.
*As an aside, I started training a popping group recently. These guys are gonna be amazing. I'm hoping they put the UK back on the map as Soul Mavericks did with breaking. It's gonna be hard but they are definitely up to the challenge.
I need a name. The working title at the moment is 'Monsters Inc.', cos that's what they are.