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I always thought break-dancing was just a quick trend, locked up tight in the 80s’ and only performed by odd balls wearing really bad outfits.
Watching “Planet B-Boy” revealed just how wrong I was. The 80s just took an art form was ruined it by turning the art into commercialized tripe.
Break dancing, according to this documentary, has nothing to do with acid washed jeans and more to do with a free form of self-expression. There aren’t really any set moves or guidelines, it’s more about what a particular dancer feels and wants to express.
Another misconception the documentary proved incorrect was the idea that break-dancers only originate deep within urban centers in the U.S. This is not a dance limited to New York or Los Angeles, it is a world- wide art.
In fact, the documentary focuses on an international competition, Battle of the Year, held in Germany. Teams from Italy, Greece, the U.S., Japan, South Korea and other countries practice, train and compete within their own countries for the chance to go to the international event.
The film addresses a few of these dance groups that earned the opportunity to compete in 2005. One originates from Las Vegas, Nev., two are from South Korea, another team is from France and the final group is from Japan.
While showcasing these young men’s incredible talents – their movements are like dough being spun into pretzels – completely fluid and seemingly effortless – it also showcases the dancers’ incredible character.
These are not just a bunch of artists hoping to win first place, they are really connected with a brotherly bond and they all seem to have their unique reasons for going to this competition in Germany.
The U.S. team hopes to bring back the title to the U.S., where the break dancing and the whole B-boy culture was born, while a South Korean team works to dance as much as they can before they are drafted into the army and barred from the art form.
Even the individual stories are compelling; one dancer works to please his father while another hopes to honor his deceased father’s memory. Through dancing, a 12-year-old French B-boy helps his mother confront her racism.
As a result of filmmaker Benson Lee taking a camera into this world of B-boys and filming an intimate look at the Battle of the Year, the viewers feel as though they are sitting among thousands of spectators in a enormous arena screaming as the different dancers take the stage.
You will find yourself picking your favorite team and crossing your fingers in hopes they will win.
The Reel Deal will be screen “Planet B-Boy” at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 22. Additionally, it will be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 20, 21 and 23. Matinee prices will be offered for people who bring a copy of this review and are also available through flyers posted throughout town.