Last ‘dance-off’ features spectacular breakdance talent

Take a look and you’ll see some of the unbelievable, gravity-defying dance moves that attracted hundreds to the Arcane Arts III Breakdance Battle – to watch these talented young people have fun, while they ‘bust a move’ …

Parkrose High School was again the location for the 2009 Arcane Arts III Breakdance Battle.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For the third year in a row, dance teams competed for bragging rights as Portland’s top “breakdance crew” at Arcane Arts III Breakdance Battle, an annual contest.

“Each of our 33 competing crews feature three members who each dance during a ‘battle’,” said the prime-mover of the event, Trevor Todd, the outgoing site manager for Parkrose SUN Community School. “We have competitors coming from Seattle, and all over Oregon and SW Washington.”

Dancers like this man seem to float through the air, as they dance, twist and spin.

The thumping beat of the dance music filled the gym on April 18, being played by dueling disc jockeys, B-Boy/DJ Jyant, and DJ Sugarman – a recent Arizona transplant.

“Each one of the three crew members will come out and dance their combination of moves to the music, matching beats,” explained Todd. “Then, they’ll step back and the next dancer will come out and do their moves, until all three on each side have done their routines. The crew judged to be best, by our local breakdance celebrities, will get the $903 grand prize.”

We asked Todd how they arrived at a $903 purse for the winner.

“Not really much of a back-story,” Todd explained. “Our first year, we had established a $101 prize for each member of the three-person crew. This being our third year, we wanted to triple the amount!”

Here’s a close-up look at one the dancer’s moves.

One of the “Mini-B” crew from the Mt. Scott Community Center, this young man shows that he can move with as much strength and dexterity as the older competitiors.

Parkrose SUN Community School has become one of Portland’s hubs for breakdance in recent years, Todd noted. The school offers instruction and practice space for youth and young adults. The school regularly sees 30-50 dancers at their three weekly sessions, which include two for youth and teens, and a new session for young adults out of high school. The sessions draw not only from Parkrose, but also from David Douglas, Centennial, Reynolds, Madison, and Benson High Schools.

In all, about 600 people came to watch or participate in the contest.

Showing off the tee shirts for this year’s competition is Trevor Todd and Faith Maxwell, both with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Todd says farewell to Parkrose
However, the director of the program will be soon leaving the Portland area, we learned.

“I’ll be moving my wife and son to Colombia,” Todd told us. “I lived there for about six years before we came up to Portland in 2001. I’m going back so my son can learn about his Colombian heritage in my ‘other home city’, Bogotá, Colombia. We’ll probably move back to Portland when he reaches school age.”

This dancer is really using his head!

Seattle B-boys win the competition
The winners of this year’s competition were the crew affiliated with Seattle’s crew, “Knucklehead Movement”; B-Boy Thesis, B-Boy Flexum and B-Boy Junior. “They’re all recent transplants to Seattle; originally from Las Vegas and elsewhere,” Todd noted.

The competition is part of the larger SUN Community School partnership co-founded by the City of Portland Parks & Recreation and Multnomah County.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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