“THE BATTLE begins tomorrow. I can’t sleep; my body is burning hot. I see the battleground as my eyes close. I have to sleep, but I can’t. Tomorrow, nothing’s more important than winning….”
- Oh Se-bin, a member of Gambler Crew
B-boying, or break dancing, originated from street dancing in the South Bronx of New York City during the early 1970s. Break dancing is one of the four original elements of hip-hop. The other three are rapping, DJ-ing, and graffiti.
Korean b-boy teams became internationally famous when they won top awards from 2002 to 2008 at the Battle of the Year, an annual international b-boying contest. Since then, Korean b-boy teams such as Gambler, Rivers, Expression, and Drifters have attracted audiences from all over the world.
“The secret of success? I think it is in the enormous amount of practices. We urge one another to practice, on weekdays, on the weekends, and even on Christmas and New Years.”
- Kim Jeong-dae, the founder of Gambler Crew
“I don’t get tired of dancing. There is no end in b-boying. It continuously evolves. I can’t be merely satisfied by doing it ‘well.’ I want to be better tomorrow, much better the day after tomorrow, until I can be the best in this field.”
– Cho Tae-won, a.k.a. ‘JoTee’ of Rivers Crew
How they begin
While professional b-boys bask in the spotlight of fame, countless more amateurs dance away to receive the same spotlight.
“I have been dancing since I was a middle school student. B-boys’ moves look splendid, and it is also fun using the beat when making new movements. I will keep on b-boying and become the best like Gambler.”
- Kim Dong-sup, a member of Impact Crew, founded by high school students
“It is when I am on stage, listening to the music and dancing, that I feel truly alive. I can feel my body and soul finally breathing. I love the cheers from the audience as well. The cheers fuel us to dance on for many months.”
– Oh Se-bin, Gambler Crew
“Some people still have wrong perceptions about b-boys. They think b-boys are just street dancers consisted of ‘bad’ kids. However, after watching the performances, they realize that b-boys are not just dancers who impulsively vent their rebellious tempers through b-boying. I like such process of changing people’s thoughts on stage.”
– Baek Myung-hoon, the main male character “Seok-yoon” of *The Ballerina Who Loves a B-boy
*The Ballerina Who Loves a B-boy: This nonverbal performance is about a ballerina dreaming of becoming a Prima Ballerina Assoluta, who falls in love with a b-boy and gradually assimilates into his world.
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To live our lives doing the things we truly want: that would be the ideal life to lead. Korean b-boys, professional or amateur, are living their one-and-only lives to the fullest, doing what they want to do most and what makes them happy: B-boying.
“20 years later, I will still be doing something related to b-boying. It will be hard for me to do all those dangerous moves when I grow old, but I think I will be able to find my own specialty, like acting as an MC for b-boying events. No matter what, I will remain in the hip-hop scene by all means.”
– Kim Hyo-keun, a.k.a Physicx of Rivers Crew