B-boys break it down, vie for King of the Hill

Arthur V. "DopeyFresh" Garnder Jr. "pops and locks" in front of a captivated crowd at "Ca$ino Royale" on Jan. 28 at SF State. Edward Chow | staff photographer

Surrounded by a circle of cheering fans, drenched in sweat and exhausted, a dancer stood before a gauntlet of seven others hungry to topple him from his position.

In an effort to reach out to the community, SF State’s Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor collaborated with b-boy dance crew Jive Core Legion and many others to organize last Friday’s “Ca$ino Royale”, a dance competition inside Jack Adams Hall. Judges encouraged competitors to go all in.

However, the casino-themed event was more than just a dance competition; its intent was to encourage self-expression and give attendees another perspective of hip-hop culture.

“Our core team is really into hip-hop, so we were excited to help put this together,” said PACE’s History Coordinator Lauren Daus. “It’s a good turning point (for PACE), it shows how much we’ve networked, reaching out to other people, schools and the community.”

Break dancing – also known as “b-boying” – is the style of dance most commonly affiliated with hip-hop music and encompasses various styles of hip-hop dance.

Different dance maneuvers such as “power moves” consist of full body spins and rotations, while “toprocking” refers to upright footwork and shuffles. Dancers were judged on their skill and technique, as well as on personal style.

The event itself consisted of three contests. The two-versus-two all styles competition in which teams of two dancers battled for a $200 prize.

​The night’s main event, “The King of the Hill”, was an endurance test, as two dancers would face off with the judges deciding who was best. The “king” would then face consecutive dancers in a cycle where the challenger would put his own $10 chip on the line in hopes of dethroning the king and taking his spot.

This casino-style competitive twist was the hook for the event, since it gave competitors the ability to rake in more cash than just the $100 prize.

King of the Hill judge Edwin “B-boy Black” Johnson praised the effort to change up the competition this year. “I like how they switched it up; it’s cool,” he said. “It’s always a plus in b-boying when there’s a chance to win some money.”

The King of the Hill winner, Joshua “Josh Shinobi” Peri, ended up taking home $30 in chips in addition to his $100 grand prize.

“This was the first competition I won,” he said.

David Chan, one of the event’s organizers, felt it was a success.

“It’s good, PACE helped us a lot, they got us the venue, helped organize, etc.,” said Chan.

And although events like this may be rare, the dancers did not seem too concerned, preferring to just enjoy dancing.

“There hasn’t been a big competition in San Francisco in a while, so it was fun just to put this together,” Chan said.