When it comes to breakdancing, “there’s a right and a wrong, a funky and a not funky… It’s all about the funk and the flavour,” says Miles Faber, Toronto B-boy, popper, and one of the top four from CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance, Canada?
This weekend more than 100 Yukoners had their first taste of live, professional breakdancing, and the crowd went wild for the flavour. On Saturday, Whitehorse hosted its first ever national breakdance battle and Miles Faber made his special guest appearance as one of the three competition judges.
The audience was hooting, hollering, whistling, and clapping their hands to Toronto DJ, Kyle Hough’s groovy beats as they watched breakers from all over Canada battle it out and show off their unbelievable skills inside the Vanier secondary school gym.
It was a last-minute decision for Faber to come north. He is good friends with the co-ordinator of the battle, Nick Robinson, so he jumped at the opportunity to check out his buddy’s hometown.
From the minute Faber walked off the plane, he was struck by the Yukon’s mountains and beautiful scenery. “I don’t know how you’d ever get sick of this place,” he said. But for Faber, it isn’t the Yukon’s scenery that impresses him the most; it is GWS (Ground Work Sessions, the Yukon’s own breakdance crew) and all of the Yukon’s B-boys and B-girls.
For such a small town, the passion and the calibre of the dancing is just incredible, he said. Fellow judges, choreographer and hip-hop artist Sho-Tyme, and world renown B-boy,Wicket, agreed 100 per cent.
Wicket, who has judged the best breakers all over the world, and was most recently a judge for Battle of the Year in Shanghai, China, was impressed by how fast the Yukon B-boys pick things up. “They’re showing a lot of potential,” Wicket said. The Yukon breakers “have a long road ahead of them because they are very, very talented,” said Sho-Tyme, who has choreographed stars like Gwen Stefani, Shakira, J-Lo, Jay-Z and Katy Perry.
“It’s amazing how we’re theoretically in the middle of nowhere [here], but [the B-boy] language and culture is still the same,” said Faber. Using B-boy lingo, the battle turned out to be completely “sick,” it was “fresh,” it was “dope,”—it was absolutely “ill”
—it was everything Nick Robinson hoped.
Six visiting breakdance crews came up to the Yukon to participate in the battle: Albino Zebrahs, Conscious Souls, and MEC (Maximum Efficiency Crew) from Toronto, Midnight Souldiers and Filthee Feet from Vancouver, and Bread Crumbs from Ottawa. The Yukon’s GWS split into two different groups for the battle.
The B-boy community is super tight, said Faber. So most of the breakers in the battle already knew each other. Faber, himself, has danced, battled, and associated with all of these crews in the past.
In the battle, every crew had the chance to verse every crew, with the grand total of 21 matches. Each win was worth a single point. The Yukon’s crew, GWS 1 and GWS 2 mustered up four different wins. “We can actually go to a jam now, and not get completely smoked,” said Robinson.
However, in the end, it was Toronto crew, MEC that won the battle and took home the prize of $1,000. Some of the crews, including MEC, were not even aware that there were going to be any prizes, so the cash turned out to be quite an unexpected and exciting bonus.
Excluding judges, altogether there were 23 B-boys and 1 B-girl in the battle. The one B-girl, Kim Sato from the Midnight Souldiers, inspired a few younger girls to sign up for the under-14 battle.
“Really good B-girls are hard to come by,” said Faber, “but there is getting to be more and more, and Kim’s a dope B-girl.”
Kim Sato admitted that being the only B-girl in this battle, and most of the time, is a little intimidating, but she loves the challenge. “I’m finally starting to get comfortable with it,” said Sato, who is always thrilled to inspire more youngsters to start breaking and become B-girls.
The U-4 battle really blew the judges away. All of the kids were eager to get up and show off their own unique and developing styles. There were small children doing actual stalls and powermoves. Tiny eight- and nine-year-old Yukon breakers were grooving to the beat, doing moves, like the windmill and the worm, with ease.
Twelve-year-old B-boy Emile St-Pierre claimed the prize for the U-14 battle. “I was so impressed with all the kids,” said Faber with a grin. This battle was a giant step in the right direction for the Yukon, he said. It was the perfect opportunity for growth within the Yukon’s breakdance community.
Nick Robinson hopes to make this battle an annual event.
And, when asked if they would ever come back to the Yukon for another breakdance event, all three of the judges said, “Of course, absolutely, anytime.”
See audio slideshow at www.yukon-news.com.
Heidi Loos is a freelance writer
living in Whitehorse.