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  Breaklanta 2
by Shane Bailey
Photos by Hahni Mramor

Venue: Atrium
Date: July 20, 2002

Oggy 3rd place b-girlBreaklanta II lived up to and exceeded the expectations they set themselves back in February when their first event was held. I figured the competitions that began when the doors opened at 3:30PM would only be lightly attended, but was surprised to see a fair crowd only an hour into the event. The first competition was the Poppin' Battle where DJ Trails from Miami, FL provided the beats. The contest was close and security squashed Rippin' Richie like a crucifix any potential controversy by removing those in the crowd that took the liberty to jeer the judges' decisions. Disappointed participants' disdain stemmed from either feeling the judges slighted them or from the opinion that they weren't given appropriate music. Security's actions made it clear from the beginning of the event that bad sportsmanship would not be tolerated. Reigning champion Breakz made it to the final round with the finals being between two of the younger contestants—pitting Fruit and Heat Heat moonwalking in a close one. Fruit seemed to always be moving and smiling while Heat's innovation allowed him to prevail with one creative idea after another. The final round between these two was intense with more physical interaction in their moves than you'd expect. Heat won the battle and subsequent $100 cash grand prize. Not to be overlooked, Rippin' Richie also made it to the final round with his old school style that is often taken for granted in favor of the new skool style of poppin' many of us are used to seeing. From the looks of him, you'd never guess he possessed such skills, but it goes to show you that anyone can breakdance if they put their mind and effort into it. After the competition, the poppin' continued in the side room where at one time, nearly all the final round contestants were freestyling off one another. That was truly a sight to be seen and perhaps a better showcase than the earlier competition itself.

Finesse, b-girl runner-up The B-girl competition was next, and DJ Rolando did the honor of laying down the tracks for the ladies. With a four minute format pitting pairs in the first round, it was tough to gauge the competitors and allowing everyone to dance twice alongside different opponents was fair. In all, there were six contestants who were all equally impressive, but three really stood out: Oggy, Finesse and Loki. Mobil-Enuf's Oggy had the balance of a gymnast exhibited in her long hand stands and freezes while also breaking out the occasional windmill. Finesse from Burn Unit was feisty and had style highlighted by a D.r.e.s tha Beatnik windmill of her own and head spinning. Loki, representing Motion Disorderz, seemed to have the most moves and was the most polished of all the performers. In the end, she prevailed winning the $100 cash prize with Finesse placing 2nd overall.

Fruit poppin' Following were the MC Battles, and there were many verbal tyrants ready to show everyone what they were made of. The first round consisted of a 60 second format and was hosted by Atlanta's own World Amateur Beatbox Champion D.R.E.S. tha Beatnik. He gave entertaining commentary and regulated the competition quite nicely. There were several unwritten rules broken during the competition that Dres stepped in and intervened the way he saw fit, whether it be disqualification or stopping it before it interfered with the competition. Some "ran out of gas" as Dres put it, not being able to fill the 60 second time span while others' routines were nothing but profanity laced tirades with little content. The basis of many of the lyrics revolved around talking trash about the opponent, which at least proved they were freestyling as opposed to repeating a rehearsed routine. You would've thought the crowd was MCing in between battles with their input since they were allowed to vote for the winner. Judges were used in previous competitions up to that point. The truly creative and innovative moved on with Corey Calica taking the crown and subsequent $250 cash prize along with a Shure SM58 microphone.

The final non-dancing competition was the DJ Scratch battle. Many displayed scratching talent along with style in their ways of interacting with the turntables, but DJ Gambit stole the show with his creativity and technical skills to take home the $100 cash prize and Rane TTM56 Mixer.

1990 airflair As the night went on, one thing was consistent that you couldn't help but notice—the amount of patrons in attendance dancing. Those not dancing were definitely in the minority. It didn't matter if you were there as a competitor, an amateur, or merely a passive onlooker, the vibe was definitely contagious. This led to many impromptu breaking circles that were often times more entertaining than the competitions themselves. Comprising these spectacles ranged from crew members practicing and polishing their moves to solo individuals showing what they were made of since there wasn't an individual b-boy challenge. There were even little kids breaking and showing up the "adults." All of this was only a preview of what was to be seen later though.

Although things were running a bit behind schedule-wise, no participants got shorted in their respective competition. The long awaited breaking crew battle began nearly 2 hours late, starting right around 10:45PM and ending a little before 3AM. This worked out okay though since they included a cushion in the schedule with DJ intermissions in between the competitions and DOC ROC among others scheduled to play afterward. For the actual Crew battle, DJ Rolando mixed the beats. The preliminary rounds consisted of a 6 minute format with the finals expanding to 10 minute sessions. Without reigning champion Mind 180 participating, Burn Unit became the early favorite going in after their runner-up finish back in February. They made it to the semi-finals, but ended up losing out to Trailer Pawk Tactix for the opportunity to advance to the finals. It seemed like they were holding back, waiting for the right moment, but it never came; before they knew it, it was too late. During the battles, all types and styles were showcased with Angelo doin' airtracks freezes and power moves dominating the stage. The moves seemed more technical than creative, which was good and bad in a way. Many flawlessly executed moves were seen, like Angelo of Trailer Pawk Tactix spending more time on his hands than feet with his amazing airtracks. Running flips were another popular 3-D B-boys' Kid move with one sequence during the finals featuring four consecutive ones in succession back and forth with each crew trying to outdo the previous one. But at the same time, more style in crew members' moves would've truly set some apart from the others. As for the competition itself, all dancers and crews were talented and diverse. Some crews represented both sexes and all sorts of ages. An example of this was the 3-D B-Boys from Dallas, GA that featured a father with several of his young sons among others. Twisted Menaces from Garden City, KS, featured the other youngest participants and had one of them doing head-spins and perhaps contributing most towards his crew's performance. Motion Disorderz Tribe representing Chicago, IL, were originally alternates, but made it to the finals alongside Trailer Pawk Tactix from Dallas, TX. The battle was so close that the judges extended the competition to an extra 2-man/2-round break-off. When it was all said and done, Motion Disorderz Tribe had too many weapons and took the $1,000 cash grand prize to split amongst their fellow group members. Trailer Pawk Tactix had a strong showing and were awarded a $200 cash prize for their runner-up efforts. Overall the event was top notch with friendly staff along with firm but kind security. The organizers deserve a ton of credit for putting together something of this magnitude. In addition to the competition prizes donated by sponsors, there were plenty of other free promotional items given away throughout the night, including but not limited to: T-shirts, CDs, posters and records. Coming up next we can expect a special two day event in the form of Breaklanta III slated for January 31st and February 1st 2003

Related links

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Official UK International Breakdance Championship (1999) from Amazon.com Official UK International Breakdance Championship (1999)
This video captures some of the essense of B-Boy culture. It contains
highlights from the 1998 competition. Dance crews from Japan, the U.S.,
Germany and Denmark take the floor at London's Brixton Academy and battle
it out for the title of UK B-Boy Champions.

Features Crazy Legs, Kurtis Blow, Afrika Islam, Malcom McLaren and the Buffalo Gals

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