The Soul Mavericks scoop victory at the UK BBoy Championship Qualifiers, London | Event Review

Nobody likes a biter. To be successful in any race individuality is key, but judging from the heated UK BBoy Championships Regional Conflict last Saturday, it was clear that to be at the top of the game you better not be trying to move to anybody else’s beat.

In a unique twist on the original formula, this year dancers from all over the country converged at Islington’s O2 Academy to contest for the opportunity to represent the UK in the World BBoy Championships in October.

In the main room, dancers from as far afield as Wolverhampton, Manchester and Kent warmed up, cyphering to a soundtrack of base heavy classics from Run DMC’s ‘Down with the King’ to Eric B and Rakim’s ‘Don’t Sweat the Technique.’ But if the Bboy soundtrack was 100% base-driven ’80s and ’90s mixes, the pure ’70s funk-fuelled mix emerging from the locker’s and popper’s competition room could not have given a stronger indication of the contrasting dance styles that my eyes were about to bear witness to.

The potent ambience of solidarity and love that I sensed among the close-knit community of dancers at the beginning was soon replaced by competitive spirit as the testosterone and bravado began to tease its way through the room as game time drew nearer. As soon as the competition got under way one thing was instantly clear, bravado and swagger are king in this game and if you have neither then you better kindly exit at stage left.
Everything from your chosen name to your outfit has to represent a certain inventive swagger.

Shouts go out to “Breakin’ Hearts”, a crew who deserved to win the bravery award as well as most suitable name. The group of ladies, who ranged from 14-17 years old, were the youngest and only all female crew in the competition and whilst their collective name takes a playful slant on their femininity, they certainly held no prisoners when it came to battling against men twice their age.

Yet whilst the young ladies hit the nail on the head in choosing a distinctive name other Bboys were more hit and miss. Announcers called weird and wonderful names from “Vanilla Killa”, “White Ninja”, “Ruffian”, “Ghost”, and “Sleepless” to “Innocent.”

Former UK Bboy champion and this year’s Judge BBoy Mouse discussed his criteria for a victorious BBoy soloist and crew: “As a crew I’m looking for originality on the routine as well as a strong solo. You can’t rely on one person to really kill it in your crew. Everybody has to work.” he says in his colourful Filipino accent.

Although he admits that the UK scene has not always been as creative as other countries on the global scale.
“In Eastern Europe everybody looks different, but here in the UK the country is so small that everybody looks the same. Dancers don’t want to innovate or be themselves, they just want to go and copy,” he says.

However the tough judge was at least impressed by one BBoy – Juste Debout UK Toprock Champion and La Familia crew member BBoy Spin.

“If you want to see a winner you need to watch Spin,” Mouse says seriously. “Spin is so impactful,” he continues. “Every time he goes out he does everything totally different and his energy is just there. He has such control with his body, even when everybody else is complaining about the floor being bouncy and being slippery he doesn’t let that phase him.”

His foresight proved correct, as Bboy Spin made it through to the finals in both the BBoy soloist and crew categories (with the help of compatriots in the La Familia crew)

After fighting his way through what felt like a nonstop battle-a-thon, one which saw Bboy’s ranging from the ages of nine (yes! pintsized nine-year old dancing protégés) and onwards lay down their most majestic aerial moves and most stylised toprocks, we had finally arrived at the highly anticipated Bboy soloist final.

Bboy Spin took on Bboy Dizzy. Whilst both shone with perfected power moves and gravity defying acrobatics, it was Bboy Dizzy who outdazzled going on to take the UK BBoy Soloist title.

Then in an equally dramatic final, the reigning UK champions The Soul Mavericks took on La Familia, in a tense battle to decide which crew would represent the UK in October’s World Championships. No tricks were spared as both crews vowed to outdo the other and win the swaying audience support, pulling their best synchronised ensemble pieces and individual specialist moves. Yet in the end, The Soul Mavericks took the title once more in what can be described a memorable qualifier- next stop World Championships.