“You’ve got 30 seconds… 30 seconds… show us what you got!”
That was the intro as each dancer took to the stage for the Dance Battle at the East Bay Express’ party Friday night, and the stuff these guys (and gals) could show in just half a minute was pretty mind-blowing.
The 2-on-2 “all styles” battle was hosted by YAKFilms and thePEOPLE and included an incredibly diverse group of dancers from the local area and beyond. I don’t even know what all these terms technically mean, but the styles included Breaking, Popping, Locking, House, and Turf, and it was easy to tell the difference once the beats were pumping and the dancers were gliding, spinning, folding, and flying across the dance floor.
The two emcee’s for the night were Kash Gaines and Yoram Savion from YAKFilms, who explained the rules, monitored the timing, and corralled the dancers to their respective places after each round of judging.
This first video is from the beginning of the event. One of the first teams to compete (Circle of Fire from Seattle) was the team that… spoiler alert… won the whole event hands down. You can see their first three challenges of the evening here, all of which they won, moving them quickly to the semi-final round, which meant we did not get to see them again until much much later. They were amazing.
This next video shows another 3 challenges and you can really see the range of dancing styles here… Some are classic breakers, spinning on the floor and exhibiting pretty incredible feats of strength and balance. Some dancers glided across the floor moon-walk style and used toe-techniques that looked like ballet. Some worked as teams pantomiming funny scenes, and there was a particular style that seemed to involve lots of folding of ones arms and hands (forgive me… I’m clueless!) A lot of freestyling tied it all together…
This last video is of the final championship round in which the four finalist teams all competed against each other. With four teams on the floor instead of two, the teams were positioned at each corner of the floor which made for some tough camera work from where I was sitting (you’ll see what I mean) but you can still see a lot of the final round of dancing. Each team gets two turns. First up was Turf Feinz, then Circle of Fire, I missed the name of the third team (sorry), and last up was the UC Berkeley Breakers…
Lastly, I love that the whole thing took place under a bank of American flags, because really… what’s more American than dancing your heart out to the king of funk, Mr. James Brown??? Thanks to all who put together this awesome event, most especially the dancers.