Dancers eye Asian glory
Over the years, Red Bull has become more than just an energy drink. It has aligned itself with the counterculture youth, a strategy that has spawned one of the most celebrated B-Boy - or breakdancing - competitions on the planet. B-Boy culture prides itself on creativity and individuality, and Red Bull's annual BC One showcases the world's best.
Red Bull held the pre-qualifier for the regional greater China event in Hong Kong last Saturday. A total of 95 Hong Kong, Macau and mainland B-Boys were competing for the eight places in this Saturday's regional finals.
'It was my first time competing at Red Bull BC One,' says Liu Kam-fung, aka B-Boy Madman, who says his name describes his dance style. 'I'm in the regionals now and I'm very happy about that.'
The road to B-Boy supremacy is long and gruelling. Qualifying for the big show is one thing, but competing against the 'top dogs' is a whole other beast. Madman and the others will need to be at the top of their game when they take on the eight, preselected qualifiers, who received byes to the regionals.
'Today I feel nervous,' says Madman, as he looks ahead. 'I practise hard, but still feel nervous because I want to do well in the competition. I don't really think too much about winning - I've been [B-Boying] only for about 3 1/2 years.'
All eyes will be on last year's winner Yu Yuk-man, or B-Boy Monkey J - a moniker that comes from his high-energy style of dance that resembles a monkey; the 'J' is the first sound for 'boy' in Cantonese.
Monkey J received direct entry into the regional finals and is the favourite to take home the crown, so the other 15 competitors will be gunning for him the moment he steps onto the dance floor.
Last year Monkey J narrowly averted catastrophe in the semi-finals when he suffered leg cramps. He battled on before reaching the finals and eventually winning.
In recognition of his win, he was presented with the rubber dance floor covering on which he had dominated the regional competition.
In the regional finals, 16B-Boys compete in one-on-one single elimination rounds. The judges, B-Boy Hong 10, B-Boy Lil Han and B-Boy Drunk, pick the winners, who move on to the next round until one B-Boy remains.
The regional champion will compete in September's Asian finals, in New Zealand, with the world finals in Brazil, in December.
Monkey J teaches and practises B-Boying at Mind Studio. The day after the competition is the studio's second anniversary. If all goes according to plan on Saturday, the studio will have another rubber dance mat to display just in time for the celebration.
Red Bull BC One Cypher Hong Kong 2012, is at 3pm on Saturday, at the Youth Outreach. Admission is free.
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