From Mongrel Media

Who knew that breakdancing has something in common with the rumble in West Side Story? Fact of the matter is, breakdancing got its start as rival gangs postured for authority, somewhat like those Jets and Sharks, but without the guns and knives. Rather than die a painful (but necessary) death with other ‘fads’ of the 1980’s, breakdancing simply crossed the pond and took a major hold in Europe. It made its way back to North America with the rise of hip-hop, but do not confuse it, if you please, with gangsta rap hype or the pseudo-b-boying of boy-bands - the b-boyers of today make those posers look like Mickey Mouse, influenced as it is by martial arts, gymnastics and the style of James Brown. Planet B-Boy follows 5 teams as they vie for the chance to represent their countries at the Battle of the Year, the world championship of breakdancing, which annually swells the population of the small town of Braunschweig, Germany by eight or ten thousand fans. Fans aside, this is not a high-perk championship, as we learn by following groups from the USA, South Korea, Japan, and France as they overcome obstacles (many of which are personal) to win their regional championships. In the first round each team is judged on their choice of music/theme/choreography, their synchronization, and their stage personas, and the top 4 ranked teams then ‘battle’ for the top three places. The French team emphasizes inclusion and style, and has the littlest member, “Lil Kev’, who cartwheels around the stage like a demon; the Japanese team is the most imaginative, the US team is arguable the best at battling, and the two South Korean teams – one of whom is defending their title - have the jaw-dropping power moves. The teams are not only thrilling to watch the stage, but they are inspirational behind the scenes too – through the power of breakdance two of the boys reconcile with their families, one overcomes racism and two of the teams fly in the face of political oppression. In this particular year, the winners for the Battle of the Year went on to perform for a national arts festival, as well as at the World Cup of Soccer, plus star in a dynamic commercial for national tourism – but you’ll have to watch the DVD to find out which nation that was. If you think you know how to dance, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Click here to find it in SPL's on-line catalogue.


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