The Hip Hop and Breaking scene in Poland is a pure and thriving one and the event Warsaw Challenge is the perfect representation of that. When the French Pockemon Crew met with USA’s Killafornia at the 2011 final battle, no one could predict the great energy and quick responses from world-renowned dancers such as Lilou, Niggaz, Billy Boy on the France side and Machine, Lil John, Ruen reppin on the USA side. But Warsaw Challenge is more than just a battle. Main producer since the beginning in 2004, Peter explains why:
The energy in the battle of 2011 was incredible. Both sides responded so quickly to each other. What do you remember from that battle? This was such a dope edition. We had many great crews with big personalities and I remember that in these battles (not only this one) there was a lot of energy overall. The dancers definitely wanted to prove something. I think that’s why this was one of the best battles that happened at Warsaw Challenge.
In the end it was Killafornia who took the title. Why do you think they took it? In my opinion this battle was very close and could have gone either way. When I spoke with the judges after the outcome of the event they told me that Pockemon did a great job, but it was too much of everything. This is a B-Boy contest and Killafornia showed more Breaking pureness and better quality overall.
How did you manage to bring these crews to the event? Each year I have the opportunity to meet with new people, build new relations, and what is most important is that I have big support from other B-Boys who have trusted me in the past editions. Without them, without B-Boys, without trust, there would be no Warsaw Challenge. I always try to do my best as a promoter.
Warsaw Challenge is more than a B-Boy Battle, correct? Yes! This event has a big history, which unfortunately started with a big tragedy. We began with this idea as three young guys, teenagers. Artur, who came up with the whole idea passed away before the first edition in 2005. He had cancer. So me and Michael decided we must continue his vision of a great Hip Hop event, which consists of all parts of our culture.
Since 2005 we’ve organized more than 30 events, with great rap concerts of Polish, European and USA stars. Just to mention a few, we had IAM, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, DMX performing on our stage. Also in our philosophy we always try to do something for the first time in Poland and I think this can be the key to success of the event. Warsaw Challenge is supported by the City Hall of Promotion all the way. That’s why we have free entrance for all our events which of course is also a great way to help people get in touch with the culture.
What can we expect from the 2016 edition of Warsaw Challenge? Even more great things! This is still a two-day event and we still have free entry. With big support from our friends we’ve invited very good crews like TOP9, Squadron, Rockforce, Jinjo and many more. We don`t wanna change many things in this event. What is new, for sure, is that we have some new space for activities like parkour, skateboarding and graffiti. There is also a new idea to show people what is Hip Hop, by sandart. But this is something you have to see, as no words could describe it! Also we have some great concerts from Polish rappers plus headliners: Masta Ace and Ghostface Killah.
"I feel most breakers were drawn towards this dance 'cos of the crazy moves they've seen someone else do – whether on TV, the Net or live – doesn't really matter," says B-Boy the Curse (aka Brandon Petersen) who won his second Red Bull BC One South Africa Cypher title in 2015 and will be in the hunt for a hat trick come 30 April.
"Once you've managed to get some moves right and feel this is for you – as with anything else you do in life, I suppose – building the foundation is a must," he says, explain how in breaking that entails researching the culture and getting to know the global pioneers as well as the local ones.
Local ones such as Vouks, who has been an integral part of the South African scene since the beginning.
The five milestones according to Vouks:
· Winning battles and pushing your level · Creating (and then mastering) your unique style so that you can stand out from the rest · Creating your own move · Moving on to become a competition judge · Giving back to the culture by coaching and mentoring
"Moving up doesn't always show in your moves but also in the way you understand the dance itself and living the culture," says The Curse. "There's a lot of moves I've mastered over the years but that doesn't really secure that you've got it on lock. Going back to the drawing board is a must, every move needs attention, it doesn't matter for how long you've been doing it."
The Curse is all for giving back. "It's a must," he says. "That's the only way we're going to keep growing and discovering new talent."
"There were people supporting me when I came up, so it's only right I do the same. We (Concrete Apostles) host weekly open sessions in Athlone, Cape Town at the Dance For All studios. Creating a platform and training space for all street dance styles to have a space to get down – jam, train, ask for advice, that sort of thing."
The Curse and his crew are working on the second generation of Concrete Apostles now. "In this crew you'll see talent like Toufeeq and Bruce who'll also be competing at this years Red Bull BC One South Africa Finals."
See The Curse and the best of South Africa's B-Boys battle it out for the Red Bull BC One South Africa title next April 30th.
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