#TBT Breaking Battles: Red Bull BC One All Stars vs Pockemon at Chelles Battle Pro 2012

Posted by on Jan. 29, 2015

As the international battle season begins to pick up its pace in the new year, the first of the leading European B-Boy jams, Chelles Battle Pro, is just around the corner. Since its inception in 2000, the event has grown from a gymnasium jam into a world-renowned event that combines the highest level of breaking competitions with shows, entertainment and crowd participation.

A top example of the hype for which Chelles Battle Pro has become known is the famous 2012 two-on-two battle between Red Bull BC One All Stars Lil G and Neguin and Pockemon members Billy Boy and Niggaz. Every once in a while, a battle is so intense and fun to watch that it transforms from being just another competition round into the perfect display of the beauty of the culture.  

#TBT Breaking Battles: Chelles Battle Pro 2012 Two-on-Two

All four dancers became the lead players in an amazing battle that was rewarded with a standing ovation from 4,000 hysterical spectators even before the judges revealed their votes. 

Right after the Lil G’s final round, all four competitors collectively seemed to realize that they had just delivered a great dance battle and thanked the audience for their energetic support. For just a brief moment, the dancers’ excitement and the reaction of the audience mattered more then the outcome of the battle, which is a reminder that there’s more to competitive B-Boying than just winners and losers.

A few months after this historic moment in Chelles Battle Pro history, Lil G and Neguin faced Billy Boy and Niggaz again when the Red Bull BC One All Stars battled Team France in the All Battle All cypher at The Notorious IBE 2012. 

#TBT Breaking Battles: Chelles Battle Pro 2012 Two-on-Two

This year, Chelles Battle Pro celebrates it’s 15th anniversary at a new venue, the Chelles Centre Culturel, on March 7. The anniversary edition features an international crew battle, solo kids battle and a solo battle for the 2015 Undisputed World B-Boy series. Chelles Battle Pro can be followed via livestream presented by Dailymotion

Photos by Little Shao

Ask RoxRite! On Travel & Style vs Power

Posted by on Jan. 28, 2015

Each week, Red Bull BC One All Star RoxRite answers your questions from Facebook about breaking and its culture. Watch this week’s edition, as he discusses the value of travel experience and picking the right battles, and the age-old B-Boy debate on style versus power.

Got a question for RoxRite? Visit the Red Bull BC One Facebook page and ask. Answers are posted here on the blog the following week.

Cover photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool 

Music to Break to: Mixtape 16 (DJ Help)

Karima: France’s Queen B-Girl

Posted by on Jan. 27, 2015

Karima is the indisputable, old-school queen of French breaking. Having gotten her start in 1988 with the legendary Aktuel Force crew, she has never stopped dancing since and still remains today as an icon in the international scene.

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima
Karima at Paris' La Villette before the Red Bull BC One France World Final 2014

Having graced the World Stage in November, she was also and was one of the dancers presented in the We B*Girlz book back in 2005. Read on as one of the globe’s original B-Girl superstars shares her thoughts on the scene today, what it was like being nearly the only girl in the early days and what she calls her style.

When did you start breaking?
I started breaking in 1988. I was first introduced to dance by watching black women dance at a party in September of 1982. I was 13 years old, and that was my entrance into it. A year later, I went to parties at Le Bataclan with my sister, who is two years my senior, and other friends. There was a slowing of the culture by 1986 as the legendary TV show H.I.P. H.O.P. was taken off-air, and my sister became interested in other cultures, as did many of the dancers. But all the disciplines of Hip Hop were available in my neighborhood, and I had real luck in that fact since the underground scene there never stalled alongside the mainstream.

Karima at Paris' Trocadero, 1988.jpg
Karima & friends at Paris' Trocadero, 1988 

Why did you want to start breaking?
Well, I tried out graffiti and rapping without a single shred of talent! The dance was called “La Peewee,” then later “La Hype,” but I never really saw myself as differentiating between the two. I frequented B-Boy practice spots and I watched many power moves and footwork transitions that they would execute quickly. I hardly had the time to understand. One day in 1988, I saw Gabin do a footwork variation slowly, then more quickly, and then he re-started and it lent him a new path. That was a revelation for me. I asked him to teach me variations that I found and could develop. That really made me love and understand the art of B-Boying.

Were there other B-Girls dancing with you back in the day?
There were many dancers doing Debout (upright) before the 90s. I had my first shows with the female French rapper, B-Love, and since Sophie was also a Debout dancer who had integrated elements of boogie into her style, I later did my first show with Aktuel Force with her. I also danced with Natacha, a former member of Ladies Night crew, who did Double Dutch and La Hype. Our mutual bond was La Hype, but I started dancing closer and closer to the floor and then went my own way.

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima

What is the difference between the French scene now, versus back in the day?
This goes for scenes outside of France as well, but there is now an openness and visibility that never existed before. It’s a different way of doing things that is somehow less human today. Technical skill has evolved, but the spiritual side of the dance has diminished as a result and the stakes just aren’t the same.

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima

Who are you dancing with now? Are you mostly dancing with men or women?
My environment is about 95% male, but I dance with the people with whom I feel good. I mainly train with Xavier and Karim, and I go to Gabin’s Blaise practice space too. I also love to share footwork with Bruce Wayne, and with B-Boys like PacPac, who is a little genie. I have an eye for and help some B-Boys from the upcoming generation too, like NoosTaz, Matéo, and the younger members of All School. I have a certain feeling for some people and how they function, the way that they emit their personality through dance. I get a good sense from good spirits and the rest just becomes detail.

Ultra Magnetic MCs with Gabin and Karima.jpgUltramagnetic MCs with Gabin & Karima

Do you have a crew?
I am Aktuel Force, and just like every other member, we together create the crew. We are Aktuel Force. Even if there is a member on the other side of the world, it’s what keeps us together. We’re more than a crew, we’re also  Brothers of the Floor. In a crew, you have to find an equilibrium– a balance between listening and hearing, between making concessions between all the different personalities and above all things, keeping melded together as one.

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima

Was it hard for you as a girl to find your place in this culture? 
There were girls who were breaking before me, but not a single one kept with it for more than a couple months. Everyone thought that it would be the same for me. I was never really encouraged by the people around me, but I wasn’t rejected either. I learned to find my place. I didn’t play the girl card, but I was of course never accepted as a gentleman either. 

Are you able to make a living on dancing?
I have been living off dance since 1994, and it’s a complicated life. There is not stability that can lead you to retirement. It’s not easy, but it’s a choice I made and would never change.

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima

How do you see your style?
From the gates, I never wanted to do what was already done. It’s for that very reason that I turned against a footwork-only approach. I could tell the story of each of my variations, if you really wanted to me define my style. But if there is one word to describe my style, it’s “personal.”

Spotlight On: B-Girl Karima

Who inspires you? 
There is an inspiration that comes from within, and that takes time to recognize not only in yourself but another dancer. Today we have a massive amount of dancers, but few of which are truly inspirational. It’s becoming easier to reproduce a series of the maximum of moves, yet it’s hard to say why, exactly, those moves are being made. I have a nice variation that was inspired by B-Boy Deep Trip, that I saw in a video. I thanked him for it and I showed him how I reproduced it as soon as I had a chance to meet him. The variation was then re-worked by other dancers. It became a ready-to-use move of sorts but that’s just a tiny example of the evolution of the state of the B-Boy spirit today.

What’s your advice to upcoming B-Girls?
Be you a B-Boy or B-Girl, just be you. And persevere. God is great.

Photos from the Red Bull BC One World Final 2014 Nika Kramer/ Red Bull Content Pool; Historic photos courtesy of Karima

#BCONE Instagram of the Week

Posted by on Jan. 26, 2015

Presenting the best #BCONE Instagram of the week. Check out this head dope snap from @bboymatrix