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A different perspective of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew

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I understand this article is a little behind for the times (3 months, in fact) but join me as I discuss the truths and the lies of the MTV hit show ABDC, otherwise known as America's Best Dance Crew. For those who do watch this show, I hope that you can gain some basic knowledge, but I'm targeting those that believe that bboying is simply a bunch of stunts, gymnastics inspired tricks, believing that the only true "DANCING" is just the choreographed story of a hit R&B song. For the haters out there; it's not your fault that you see only 1 side of dancing on America's Best Dance Crew. Ironically, it is only made for one style of dance. I'm sure those of you that watch the show can start to relate; relate to a modern style of dance which goes under the names "Modern Hip hop", "Hip Hop Dancing", or "Choreography." It's a very modern style of dance, an amalgam of dance styles from the past. And it's ironic because bboying DOESN'T BELONG on America's Best Dance Crew, yet the concept of "crews" in "Choreographed Hip Hop" comes from bboying and the old gangs of NYC.

It's hard to accept, because to spread a dance form you gotta have media exposure, but because the show is so restrictive on other dance forms, bboying stays in the streets, clubs, discos, and jams. Bboying essentially is underground, as is many a dance form like ballet, swing, and jazz. Here's the difference between "Choreographed Hip Hop" and "Bboying."

Bboying has a rich foundational form. There are steps you have to learn, comparable to dance forms like Waltz, Polka, Merengue, Swing, Cha-Cha, Tango, Ballet. And most importantly, there's a genre of music that you dance too. It is why you don't see dancers of different styles on America's Best Dance Crew (Bboys being an exception). The show only puts on the same type of music, and it's chosen by the judges, goddamn it! It makes no sense, because different dance styles are represented properly only when it is danced to certain music.

The judges are biased too, because they expect crews to adapt to the "Choreography," to the "R&B Story dancing" and compete, rather than letting dance groups choose their own music and style of dance. And in many cases, these exceptional crews only have one week to learn and coordinate these performances. I'd like to see a professional "Choreographed Hip Hop" crew learn ballet and coordinate a professional ballet performance in a week, all danced to ballet music and in tight ballet clothing. And the bboy crew (Super Cr3w) had to adjust in order to keep up with the times.

Now comes the Bboy's fault. There's a widespread belief among bboys that the mainstream media only appreciates the gymnastics/ power aspect of bboying. But why? Why not show them the real thing, toprock, foundation? Bboys have a rich one, moves that are not found in any other dance nor influenced by any. If I want to see flares I go to the Olympics, where buff gymnasts rip it up on the Floor Exercise. The stunts have had a huge negative impact on bboying. Many people consider it to be a watered down circus version of gymnastics, with only a few mediocre "krump" and "pop" moves in between. Bboys should just do what they do, and people will vote accordingly. Will the audience BOO good bboying? No, but they will if you suck. I mean, this is the first time bboying has been on such a large scale since the damned 80s, man! Show them what those bboys do, please!

And I mean to say that for every style of dance. Why should they adapt? Are they in the "wrong?" Dancing is dancing, and requires talent. If America's Best Dance Crew chooses the best of "Choreographed Hip Hop," then it isn't America's Best Dance crew anymore, is it? This is why bboys ( Super Cr3w) have weaknesses. They are forced to dance to bad music in a way that destroys their foundation, resorting to stunts to fill the gap of their mediocre choreography. But Bboying is not supposed to be choreographed. It's freestyle on the dance floor, like many club dance styles. It's danced with a level of control and execution that it LOOKS choreographed, while creating the feeling of soul and dance around them.

Have you been to a jam? It's different from a video; bboys and dancers create the dancing environment and give the people around them the soul to get sufficiently loose. I've been in the middle of the cypher and the boost of adrenaline is incredible. Your body is lighter and you're flying in the air. The adrenaline makes you better than you actually are, boosting your physical capabilities.

"Choreographed Hip Hop" in the commercial sector, however, is all about routines and rehearsals, telling a story through a memorized set of movements. Many dance forms are like that, but bboying isn't. It's a dance that connects to the music in a more instinctive and carnal manner. A dance move on the dance form represents the individual's style and character, and should be used with the music to emphasize many things.

"Choreographed Hip Hop" is like a staged Tennis match. It's a show, the audience gets excited, and it pays well. It's TV fodder, being perfect TV material. Bboying is a club dance, exciting the audience with SOUL, but it isn't staged and people don't get paid. Rather, it's the feeling of adrenaline and satisfaction of performing in the circle that people get from bboying.

It's unfortunate that America's Best Dance Crew chose "Choreographed Hip Hop" from the beginning.

 

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