Russian break-dancers top of the B-boy world

Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:09am EDT
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By Paul Lauener

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Russia and Korea confirmed themselves as some of the most stylish break-dancers in the world by coming first and second in the coveted B-Boy world championships in London this month.

The East, led by Russia and Korea, has taken break-dance from the West, where it was developed in New York in the late 1970s, and made it their own by adding a distinctly creative Eastern style of spinning and contorting hip-hop dance routines.

At one point in the final, the Russian dancers formed a human ramp to somersault one of their crew high into the air before landing straight into a dance routine, where he grooved on his hands and feet to the sounds of funk music.

"It's part of Asia, part of Europe. It's Russian style," said Maxime Shakhov, known as B-Boy Simpson, who, along with his crew, Top 9, defeated the Taekwondo enhanced dance skills of the Koreans to become the world champions.

But the loudest and most ecstatic shouts of appreciation went to 10-year-old Briton Karam Singh, known as Kid Karam, who spent several minutes concealed in a rucksack on the back of a team mate who went through an entire dance routine before Karam jumped out and went straight into a dance set.

The "Kid" strode up and taunted his Korean opponents, all with toned muscular bodies and towering in front of him, while the 5,000-strong crowd roared with delight and surprise.

But the night belonged to the Russians, who faced down crews from Korea, Japan, Britain, the United States and Europe in what are known as "battles," to win the championships.

Crews stand across the stage from each other and take turns to try and dance better than their opponents, either individually or in synchronized routines, using taunting gestures and mock violence against their rivals.   Continued...