Breakdancers battle for prize
Advertising junior Justin Gaines first joined the MSU Breakdance Club in 2009 as an outlet to show off his talent.
He never thought he’d gain a family out of the deal, but it’s exactly what he has.
“We all came into the club just looking for some cool moves to show off at parties,” he said. “But I realized there’s a culture and a community behind it. There’s always a warm welcome.”
Gaines and fellow members of the club brought the family atmosphere to other breakdance crews from across the Midwest by hosting the MSU Breakdance Club’s Red Cedar Ransom 3V3 Battle at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing.
The bracket-style competition featured 20 other breakdance crews from across the Midwest performing in front of four judges for the chance to win a $1,500 grand prize. For each round, or “ciphen,” three members from two opposing crews were given five minutes to freestyle dance against one another, with the determined winner moving on to the next round. In the end, Self-X Crew, a Chicago-based group that has been competing nationally since 2009, walked away with the prize.
MSU Breakdance Club adviser Carlos Fuentes said Red Cedar Ransom is the first breakdance competition The Loft has hosted, and he hoped it would be a unifying factor for breakdancers in the area.
“It’s a great way to bring together students of different cultures,” he said. “It’s hard to do because people like to stay in their comfort zones, but it helps them learn something different about themselves.”
Although most competitors were college students, Lansing crew The Fountain of Youth, whose members all are between the ages of 35-45, did not let this stop them from competing. Group member Wayne Deshazer, who was a part of hip-hop group K.M.C. Kru in the 1990s and whose breakdancing has been featured on both MTV and BET, was determined to prove himself.
“We’re here to show everyone that old dudes can still get down,” he said. “You can compete no matter what age bracket you’re in. If you believe you can do it, you’ll go out there and kill ‘em.”
Marketing sophomore Sara Cook, who has been a part of the MSU Breakdance Club for more than a year, said such competitions give her confidence to experiment with breakdancing.
“I’m normally shy and in my shell,” she said. “I’ve found my voice through dancing. Hip-hop is a community, and it’s cool to watch other people and see lots of different styles.”
Although he was not able to perform, marketing freshman Deon Howard, the newest member of the MSU Breakdance Club, went along for the ride to cheer on his team members and experience his first Midwest-scale competition.
“I was glad I got to see the showcase and the different breakdancing dynamics,” he said. “It gave me ideas, and it’s a fun, amazing thing to watch.”
Gaines said he hopes the event encouraged other breakdancers to embrace who they are.
“(The event) promotes individuality and acceptance,” he said.
“It turns a blind eye to people’s differences and welcomes other cultures for what they are.”