They literally “broke” the floor. For three hours, 64 teenagers stomped and spun until the makeshift dance floor had to be administered “first aid” to keep it from falling apart!
After every performance, maintenance personnel would scurry around, sticking plasters on the floor to keep the colourful decoration from peeling off (in the early days, breakdancers would dance on oversized cardboards that serve as a dance floor on street corners).
If the torn and tattered stage was anything to go by, the Gurney Plaza ‘Break the Floor’ Hip Hop Dance Competition, opened to those aged from 13 and above, was a smashing success.
The 16 teams that participated in the recently held event danced their hearts out to impress the judges.
Attempting popular breakdance routines like the Top Rock, Foot-work, Drops, Freezes, Spins, Thread-ing, Swipes, Tornadoes, Hand Glide, Floats, Windmills Kip Ups, Rubber Band, Broncos and Head Hollows, the hip-hoppers drew hundreds of young teenage fans to cheer them on.
Breakdance, also known as breaking, b-girling or b-boying (yes, hip hoppers believe in gender equality), is a street dance style that evolved as part of the hip hop movement that originated among African American youths in the South Bronx of New York City during the early 1970s.
Having garnered a strong following around the world, it is arguably the best known of all hip hop dance styles.
Dancing to cool breakbeats (a compilation of samples taken from different songs which are then looped and chained together by the DJ), the aspiring dancers turned up in nylon tracksuits, beanies, oversized shirts and of course, retro-inspired sneakers to strut their stuff.
Although each group was only given between two to three minutes to show off their skills, their funky gear was drenched in sweat after each performance.
While most of those who entered the competition were amateurs, there were those who had clearly been at it for some time.
The champion, Shadow Crew, and first runner up, Penang Island Breakerz were clearly a class above the rest.
Eddie Chan, 22, from Shadow Crew said the group that comprised dance instructors had travelled all the way from Ipoh to participate in the competition.
“We were the first runner-up for last year’s Malaysia Battle of the Year competition in Kuala Lumpur and we have been dancing together for some time now.
“Dancing is our full time gig but we still did not expect to win. We arrived late and didn’t catch most of the performers, so we thought our chances of winning was 50-50 only la,” he joked.
He said the group was planning to participate in regional competitions this year.
Among the guest DJs were DJ Fuzz from the Teh Tarik Crew and rappers Collabo8.
Among the prizes were Nike vouchers, Echo Park Hip Hop Wear vouchers, Popular Book- store vouchers, Pallas Jazz Star Sneaker vouchers and Dome dining vouchers.