Global Breakdancing Competition Returns to Denver Today

Breakdancers will fill Sculpture Park today.
Breakdancers will fill Sculpture Park today. BC One Denver Cypher
After a seven-year hiatus, Red Bull BC One City Cypher returns to Denver today, May 28, and dancers from across the region will compete in the one-on-one breakdancing qualifier contest at Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

Admission to catch the action is free. The competition will be hosted by Ivan the Urban Action Figure, with DJ A-L spinning breakbeats; break icons Neguin, Ian Flaws and B-Girl Bonita will serve as judges. The top two B-boys and B-girls from today will advance to the Cypher quarterfinal in Philadelphia on July 23.

Ian Flaws is the founder and owner of the Bboy Factory, Denver’s premier breakdance studio, which he opened in 2012. "I want to see athleticism," he says. "I want to see musicality. I want to see some technique and foundation showing some real understanding of the dance. I also look for individual contributions, something that makes each competitor unique to their own style."

Flaws has taught in Korea, Cambodia, Morocco and Bhutan; he studied extensively with legendary Korean B-boys Born and Physicx of Rivers Crew, and volunteered with Tiny Toones in Cambodia, a nonprofit organization that uses hip-hop to empower at-risk youth. "A lot of people think that it [breakin'] is a lot of tricks. But there are a lot of small details, a lot of history and a lot of fundamental foundation that dancers have to learn to build to those higher levels of movement," he explains. "There is the interpretation of music and the relationship between the music and the dancer."

And there's the consuming lifestyle.
"I'm always telling my students that while they're at home playing video games, their competition is practicing. It's just like anything else: The more you do it, the better you're gonna get at it. The more you commit to it and the more serious you take it, the better you're going to get."

Flaws teaches everyone from preschoolers to university dance students, detention-center youth and Denver Public School students. He's also the head coach at the Bboy Factory and produces events, including Bboy Factory Anniversary Jams and two earlier breakin’ conventions at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

"Events like this give exposure to the general public," he notes. "But they're also giving dancers a platform to present their art and to have real performance opportunities — to see a path to a career or sustainable profession as a dancer."

Doors open at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 28, for the Red Bull BC One City Cypher
at Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex; competition begins at noon, with the main event at 2 p.m. Admission is free; find out more here.
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