Red Bull BC One Philadelphia Cypher 2014
Photo by Jeff Brockmeyer
Date: May 31, 2014
Location: Skybox, 2424 E. York Street
Winner: B-Boy Tony T-Bags
The Red Bull BC One Philadelphia Cypher went off without a hitch on a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon at Skybox Studios. The event itself was an overwhelming success, with more than 400 people in attendance and with an atmosphere that was palpably electric. Local dancers from Philadelphia made strong showings in the event, with Mighty Mouse, a crowd favorite, making it all the way to the finals. However, Boston native Tony T-Bags proved himself to be the most formidable contestant of the evening, walking away victorious from the final battle.
The event was held at Skybox Studios, a spacious and historic factory building that was originally an anti-aircraft machine gun parts facility in the 1940s. Talk about your perfect backdrop! The venue's hardwood floors, art gallery walls and tremendous sound system provided a wonderful setting for the Red Bull BC One competition.
Artists work was displayed during the event: one, a commissioned piece by the graffiti artist KAS, was a conceptual painting that combined 17 panels into one image. Sixteen of the panels were given out at the end event to the competitors, and in this each image existed only once, that one time beging during the competition. And that was the point of the piece, to represent the fleetingness of the moments that we all share. It was truly powerful.
The other artist, YNOT, is a well-known dancer/artist who also happened to judge the days event. His exhibition was a mixed media piece on canvas and used traditional B-Boy/Hip Hop imagery as a stylistic commentary on image and icon in our society. Both artists works complimented the venue and the event rather well, in original Hip Hop style.
DJ Skeme Richards and Cash Money, both Philadelphia natives, kept the room in a constant state of motion with their beats the entire night. It is thanks to them, in large part, that the event went so smoothly. Everyone was kept on their toes, dancing and grooving, throughout the night, right up until the final moments of the jam.
Sixteen competitors from the Northeast traveled to Philadelphia to battle against the best of the best. Boston, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were all represented by incredibly talented individuals. Veterans and new-comers alike faced off in some of the most memorable battles this year.
Two battles from the evening stand out against the rest for the sheer energy shared between the dancers. The first such battle was between Napalm and Box Won, both from Philadelphia. Napalm is a veteran of the battle scene and has a great deal of wins under his belt thanks to his dynamic style and impressive powermove abilities.
Box Won is a young, up-and-coming B-Boy with far less experience, but with a raw, rugged approach to the dance that reflects is life growing up on the streets in West Philadelphia. These two faced off during the second round of battles for what proved to be an intense match-up. The crowd kept the energy level high while they battled for not just two but three rounds thanks to a split decision from the judges that called for a tiebreaker round. After all was said and done, Box Won bested Napalm.
Another memorable battle came about during the semi-finals in a match-up between New York and Philadelphia. Mighty Mouse, a Philadelphia favorite and dancer with the world-renowned theater company Rennie Harris Puremovement, is known for his explosive moves and relaxed style. Whorah, a Queens native, is also known for his relaxed, yet dynamic style of breaking. Both dancers are adept powermovers, with a great deal of control, which, when coupled with their talents for musicality, makes them formidable opponents. The battle between these two titans was nothing other than amazing. Each B-Boy displayed a full arsenal of moves but, as always, there can only be one winner. Mighty Mouse captured the crowd and the judges approval with his dazzling display of firepower.
The final battle of the night was between Boston’s own Tony T-bags, from Del Fuego Wolf Pac, and Philadelphia native Mighty Mouse. To say the least, this battle was intense. With three rounds to prove themselves, neither competitor was willing to give an inch in advantage to the other. For the first two rounds, they were neck and neck. But in the final round, Mighty Mouse showed signs of fatigue and ended his round early without a big one-two punch combination to wow the crowd. Tony T-bags responded with a clean, strong power combination to a chair freeze and finished the round of with a few footwork techs that sealed the deal. Until that point, it was anyone’s game, but Tony proved himself the best B-Boy of the evening.
Pete Nasty / Tony T-Bags
Tiger / Kid Glyde
Napalm / Manji
Box Won / Bombi
Diego / Ookie
Soapy / Whorah
Mighty Mouse / Atlas
Lil Tony / Uncle Will
Tony T-Bags / Kid Glyde
Napalm / Box Won
Ookie / Whorah
Mighty Mouse / Uncle Will
Tony T-Bags / Box Won
Whorah / Mighty Mouse
Tony T-Bags / Mighty Mouse