WBC: A Bboy (R)evolution
reading time 10 minutes
6 September –– 2019
This weekend it's time for World BBoy Classic in Eindhoven, the world championship breakdance for duos. A portrait of four people working in the spotlight and behind the scenes. "The body isn't necessarily made to turn on your head and to do thirty twists on one hand."
But first, World BBoy Classic for beginners: WBC is the world championship for duos. Through qualifying rounds in Japan, Brazil, South Korea, and other places, eight winners have been selected who will travel to Eindhoven this weekend. Here they will compete against the 'established order', eight dancers that have been invited by the organization itself. The underdogs against the 'great eight'.
The finals on Sunday evening in the Effenaar consist of several rounds. Breakdance is an improvisation sport, dancing to the beats of the DJ and reacting to your opponents' moves. A jury decides who gave the best performance. The prize money is 10.000 euros.
Breakdance started in the New York ghettos as part of the hip-hop culture. Dancing as an outlet and artistic expression. What was once a lifestyle is increasingly becoming a professional sport. In 2024, breakdance will officially become an Olympic discipline.
Terence 'Machete' van Lange
is host and MC during WBC. Born and raised in Tongelre (Eindhoven) and one of the founders of dance crew Head2Toe. He dances, boxes and writes prose. "Just before the lights go on, the tension in the audience is almost palpable. A few seconds of complete silence. Then I step forward, into the spotlight and I’m on. A feeling I enjoy.
World BBoy Classic is the biggest event in Europe. If you make it to the finals here, everyone knows who you are. Thousands of people from all over the world also watch the livestream. This year's battles will take place in the Effenaar, an intimate hall. I’ll be hosting together with Swift from England. We have the same energy, we know what we’re doing.
I've been breaking since I was twelve years old. I had a signature move, a grenade that I could use while dancing. A grenade that later exploded in my lower back. A double hernia and a year and a half without breaking.
The scene in Eindhoven is big and diverse. There isn't one Eindhoven style, that's what I like about it. Our crew also consists of boys with very different backgrounds, everyone does what he does best. Breakdancing has brought me all over the world, but I always come back to Eindje. I'm a Brabant boomerang."
is the father of the fourteen-year-old bboy Lorenzo. He accompanies his kid around the world and to the trainings in studio Fresh. "Lorenzo is an all-rounder. He's very good in powermoves, but also trains his footwork and toprocks. Usually we participate in kids' battles, but sometimes he also breaks against adults. Not to long ago he made it to the top sixteen of the world, that was crazy, and a boost for his self-confidence of course.
Breakdance is keeping us busy every day of the week. Lorenzo trains three times a week from 6 to 9 pm with his crew in the dance studio. The other two week nights I roll out a mat at home. Then we practice for another two hours. Two to three times a month we have competitions, often abroad. Federico, his younger brother, is also joining us now.
What our goal is? You can go in different directions. Training for the Olympic Games in 2024, Lorenzo will be 19 years old by then. Others prefer the more artistic element of break and join the international championships, a sort of grand slams for breakdance. And then you have the big Red Bull events, which are more commercial. I think Lorenzo wants to develop himself in all three areas.
I'm not a dancer myself, but I do guide Lorenzo to all the battles and help him practice. Then I am strict, yes. And during battles I get nervous. I usually videotape his runs so we can watch them together afterwards. Even if he wins a battle, we enjoy analyzing what could be improved.
Lorenzo has about twenty signature moves, movements that typically belong to him. They even have names, so we know which one we are going to practice. During WBC there is also a kids battle, the best duo goes to the big final and strives against the invites and qualifiers. Then you suddenly dance with the world top. Last year he succeeded. Hopefully he'll be there again this year."
is a member of The Ruggeds, the Eindhoven crew that travels all over the world, even to America's biggest dance show on TV. During WBC he wants to show the artistic side of breakdance.
"We used to dance a lot at home on weekends. I come from a large family, there was always a birthday here or there. Then we turned on the music, disco, motown. I still find it relaxing to listen to.
We started with The Ruggeds in a gym in the Achtse Barrier. A group of friends who are still together. Today we practiced all day for a theatre show. After that we have dinner together and in the evening we meet again for our practice in the studio at Strijp-S.
Everyone in the crew chooses their own direction, but we are still going the same way. Some focus more on video next to dancing, others on organizing stuff, like Niek and Paul who set up WBC. I've been working a lot on choreography myself. Break is an outlet and a form of expression and I like to show these aspects, especially at such a prestigious event as WBC, where the whole world is watching.
The scene is getting more and more professional, some kids have become athletes. That's often the way to win competitions, but the artistic aspect is disappearing into the background. I think it's great to inspire kids and show them a different side too."
Paul van Dal
founded World BBoy Classic in 2009 together with Niek Traa. It is one of the most important breakdance events worldwide with 1.3 million online followers.
"WBC is a competition with an enormous amount of excitement. The formula of underdogs competing against the world top makes it special. The first battle is always hype. Who is battling against whom? Will a qualifier win from an established bboy?
The big Puma shoe is now in the trunk of my car, but soon it will play an important role during the evening. Then we collect the names of the 'great eight' and draw lots. This is how we determine which invites will form a duo. That makes it exciting too: the underdogs have been able to rehearse together, but the top performers have to give an amazing performance together on the spot."