Break for Summer filled the Galleria in 1984.
Break for Summer filled the Galleria in 1984.
Photo by Larry Laszlo for the DCPA

Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017

It's Denver Arts Week, and one of the big events of the eleventh annual celebration, which stretches to November 11, is Breakin' Convention 2017. The break-dancing gathering hosted the family-friendly 303 Jam on November 4 and will bring local as well as international performers back to the Buell today, November 5. (See the full schedule here.)

One of the featured performers is French hip-hop expert Sala, who gave Mayor Michael Hancock a dance lesson to kick off Denver Arts Week.

Bboys, one of the local groups performing at Breakin' Convention.
Bboys, one of the local groups performing at Breakin' Convention.
Miles Chrisinger

This isn't the first time the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has hosted hip-hop artists; back in 1984, the Break for Summer break-dancing contest packed the Galleria to overflowing with fans of the art form just as it was breaking out into the mainstream (just check out the photo at the top of this story!).

I was one of the judges; it was one of the most enthusiastic, awe-inspiring crowds I've ever seen, all cheering on their favorite local crews. Thanks to the DCPA for finding these photos of that ground-breaking event 33 years ago.

Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017 (7)
Larry Laszlo
Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017 (3)
Larry Laszlo
Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017 (5)
Larry Laszlo
Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017 (4)
Larry Laszlo
Break for Summer Broke Ground 33 Years Before Breakin' Convention 2017 (8)
Larry Laszlo

Photographer Larry Laszlo took those pictures. "It was an amazing event," he remembers, "a real cultural capstone of the time."

Do you recognize any of the acts in these photos? Were you part of one of these groups?

Or maybe you were one of the thousands of fans who filled every level of the Galleria parking garage that day, to celebrate a dance form then just moving off the streets into the mainstream.  If so, share your memories in a comment, or send an email to editorial@westword.com.

And then head to Breakin' Convention 2017, or any one of the dozens of arts events around Denver today. Find the complete Denver Arts Week schedule here.

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