1. If anyone doubted whether there was a market for breakdancing in Las Vegas, Friday night’s Red Bull BC One North American Finals at Brooklyn Bowl answered with a definitive “yes.” Impromptu cyphers sprung up around the venue before the competition, and when the single-elimination, 16-man tournament kicked off, the crowd was at least 10 deep around the raised, circular stage.
2. The place went cold when local b-boy Maynard lost to New York’s Gravity in the first round. His battle was tight (and his ability to tear off a sweatshirt without upsetting his snapback pretty mind-blowing), but if you’re going to lose to someone, it might as well be the night’s runner-up. I know there are elements to the dance only other b-boys are fit to judge—or even pick up on—but I thought Maynard took it. Would have been fun to see what he brought in the next rounds.
3. Morris won the crowd with attitude—stroking his hair, staring down competitors and throwing some explosive power moves. The Cali native was a Red Bull BC One World Finalist in 2009 and 2011, and I thought he’d be in the last battle at Brooklyn Bowl’s North America Finals. I don’t feel sorry for him, however, as his Red Bull profile says he has a record-breaking 100 titles.
4. Gravity held one freeze for what felt like an entire minute. Hence the name. Turns out he was a tumbling champion before he was a b-boy. Even more awesome than his moves? His track jacket straight out of the ’90s.
5. If the winner had been determined by crowd reaction, Isaiah would have taken the sceptre. The Maryland-based breaker’s signature flexible style had the crowd shouting in amazement—and cringing at the sight of his legs seemingly dislocating as he tied himself in knots. Perhaps he should consider the name b-boy Pretzel.
6. Red Bull should add an award for Best Crotch Grab. Amid all the swagger and chest-thumping, nearly every competitor gave his nuts a tug at least once during the battles, some with serious artistic flair.
7. While all the b-boys showed their athleticism, no one had more pure physical power than Tata. The New York b-boy, who lost to Morris in the quarter finals, got so much air it would’ve made Jordan jealous. (Want proof? Just check out the picture of him flying above the stage in sweet coral-colored pants.)
8. Super Cr3w blew the lid off with a group routine and a spontaneous free-for-all, showing the world what the b-boys in this neck of the woods can do. You could feel the pride in that room—and the heat coming off so much movement.
9. By the time Victor and Gravity went head to head in the last round, endurance had become a serious factor. Each b-boy danced five times in the final battle (as opposed to three in earlier rounds), and while the moves were just as dynamic as earlier in the night, neither man seemed as eager to hog the floor.
10. Sway shouted out those 15 and younger in the crowd, the “future of hip-hop.” Having seen a local b-boy’s 4-year-old do a sick headspin, I’m thinking some of them are the present.
Bonus thought: Next up for North American champion Victor: The Red Bull BC One World Final in France on November 29, where he’ll battle winners from all over the world to be named in the coming weeks. In some ways, the competition is only just beginning …