After five regional qualifiers across the country, the Red Bull BC One National Final arrived in Hollywood on Saturday night, where 32 of the country’s top b-boy and b-girl competitors were vying for a chance to defeat the USA at the World Finals on March 12. November to represent New York.
At Eden Sunset, the circular stage was set up for a series of bracket-style dance battles. Competitors and their supporters ringed the stage and the DJ dropped custom beats for the performers to do tricks, aerials, floorwork, footwork and more while a three-person jury considered not just athleticism but demeanor and musicality. After some intense battles, b-boy Ali and b-girl Sunny took the titles in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively.
In the cavernous practice room next door at the Hollywood Athletic Club, performers focused on stretching and getting certain tricks right, but there were other concerns. The Olympics are upon us when breakdancing makes its debut in the Paris 2024 edition. Trials are held across the country, but Red Bull participants understand that there is a difference between the structured athletic competition offered at the Olympics and the artistic, attitudinal performances at the Red Bull event. .
“The Olympics are really serious and I can just freak out here. There are so many rules about what we can’t do in the Olympics,” said Pep C, an Indianapolis competitor B-girl who is also an Olympic hopeful. “I do this for fun. Red Bull is interesting. You only have to represent yourself. Your approach must be yours, but you can’t pretend you don’t know what you’re doing. It must be within the essence of breaking yourself. You can’t come in here and do stuff like that. And that’s pretty legitimate.”
“I’m looking forward to [the Olympics] sure, but it’s not an end goal,” says b-boy Conrad (Rodriguez), a semifinalist representing Mesa, Arizona. “I think the direction we’re going is healthy. We need to present our offer first to get people interested, then we will enlighten.”
“Honestly, it takes about 10 years to get to that level,” says Houston-based b-boy José. “[For the Olympics,] People who don’t understand the dance don’t want to see it for three or four hours. They only want to see the highlights and the best stuff. I think there doesn’t have to be an audience until the top 8, then let the audience come in and give that energy.
“There’s really been a shift from just local gyms where you can just have fun to places where I now have an exercise program and a trainer and just tap into that. For me, it’s a balance of discipline and enjoying spontaneous moments,” said Bay Area b-girl Rascal Randi. “I reached the quarterfinals in the national Olympic qualification. The Olympics is about figuring out how we treat ourselves as athletes. We don’t get the rehab and knowledge about recovery and personal care that a lot of athletes have.”
Here are pictures from the performances.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-09-18/red-bull-bc-one-break-dancing-championships-are-another-olympic-signpost Red Bull break-dancing championship showcases Olympic-level talent