New York, NY – It’s been nearly 40 years since “breaking” — known popularly, perhaps, as “breakdancing” — first came onto the Hip Hop scene. What was birthed on the streets of New York as a form of expression for young Black and Latino/Hispanic men has now, thanks to the efforts of Red Bull, become a worldwide competition and global phenomenon.
For Richard Colon, better known to the world as Crazy Legs, this evolution of the art is a welcome — and indeed, expected — turn of events.
“Back in the day, this was really the only way for young black and Latin men to get out of the hood,” he told GroovyTracks exclusively. “Now, it’s seen as the true art form that it is — and it’s become universal.”
The universality of the art of “breaking” has culminated in the Red Bull BC One Tour, which kicked off in Los Angeles on April 25th. The Red Bull BC All Star One Tour provides a platform for the dance community to unite and celebrate. Breakers of all levels are encouraged to come out and partake in competitions that are sure to be unforgettable.
Colon, who is serving on this tour as a “BC One All-Star,” says that he loves to showcase breaking as an art form whenever he can and that he appreciates the “new guard” coming up from the underground.
“Groups like the W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew — see, I know them, because the leader’s father was an original member of Rock Steady,” he said. “And you know, the things they’re doing — the way they move — I appreciate it. They really brought the movement into the future.”
Crazy Legs’ history with the Rock Steady Crew collective is, of course, solidified: originally formed in the late 1970s, the Rock Steady Crew combined both breaking and Hip Hop music to create a unique sound and style all their own.
But, says Colon, Rock Steady specialized in breaking, whereas today’s collectives are more interested in “litefeet.” And he says that while many people conflate and confuse the two, there’s a world of difference.
“They all stem from the same place — the streets,” he said. “Now, people are giving back, both to the streets and to the community as a whole — all through the power of dance.”
Colon, himself, credits breaking with allowing him to help other communities, including his recent relief efforts in Puerto Rico and around the world, and he hopes that others use the opportunity provided to them through the Red Bull BC One All-Star Tour and other opportunities like it to make a difference in their communities.
“At the end of the day, it was all meant to help us get out of the streets,” he said. “But once you get out, you’ve gotta give back, too. Do something positive with your blessings.”
The Red Bull BC One Final will take place on May 19th in Houston, TX. For more information, and to get tickets, click here.
Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images