And the winner is… SKB!!! SKB took out the crew battles, the senior battle (Bboy Blond) and placed 2nd in Juniors (Bboy Bred). Here is my recap of R16 Oceania 2014, I will keep updating this page with videos and photos as I find them.
What I love about R16
R16 is one of those few dance related events or competitions that I’ll go to in Australia, because I know the quality is always gonna be high. Here’s why.
1. You got the best MC possible – MC Mistery (who is also one of the main peeps responsible for putting on this event) is fucking hilarious. All the inside jokes and shit talking he does about the competitors deserves it’s own TV show. He always manages to make us laugh consistently throughout the day, and sometimes I face-palm myself at some of his more cringeworthy remarks. But I love him. He’s dope. He’s a true rep of what Aussie Hip Hop is.
2. DJ Naiki is the one of the best dance battle DJs in Australia – he knows the dancers so well and knows what beats to drop and when. Also important is that he is so clean when he cuts each track after each round, so that bboys keep getting fresh beats and they are at the perfect point in time, not messing up the flow. DJ Naiki truly complements the dancers at any event he spins at.
3. The battle format allows for people to enter with a crew or solo, and the solo is split into junior and senior sections. So there’s something for every bboy or bgirl that wants to enter. It can be tiring though, which I noticed towards the end of the event, especially for those who enter both the solo and crew battles (and Bboy Blond being the tank that he is, won both).
4. The reputation of the event and the fact that it contributes to the winners competing in the world finals in Korea. Most comps don’t do this, they make you pay your own way to get there. Now the competition is highly reputable worldwide and a massive shout out to Bboy Dyzee who conceptualised it and kept pushing for his vision to become a widespread reality.
The last thing which is the most highly contested aspect of the event, is the judging format. There are 5 categories – Foundation, Originality, Dynamics, Execution, Cypher. Personally, I like it (and I like battles without this system just as equally), and I like the concept of a consistent judging system to be trialled in a competition format. There’s plenty of other opportunities to battle outside of this format so those who don’t agree with it can simply not enter, and go battle somewhere else.
On the day
The event was pretty cool, lots of new faces and lots of familiar ones to me. It was moved from First Fleet Park at Circular Quay to Woolloomoolloo PCYC on the day due to wet weather conditions. It was also a fucking cold day, so I’m glad it was brought indoors, although these events usually get pretty sweaty ballsacks.
I arrived around about 2 and a half hours after it officially started, which was just in time to see my boys from SKB get into their first battle. These guys won the last two R16 championships and even got as far as the semi finals for the crew battle and finals for the solo battle (Bboy Blond) in 2013. So I had high hopes for them, always impressed with Blond’s ability to pick up choreography for the crew routines at the last minute. He’s been on So You Think You Can Dance Australia 2014 and didn’t have time to train with his crew until on the day of the event. What a tank.
The battles went on one after the other, the judges getting weary towards the end after looking at so many bboys. I think there was only 2 breaks during the whole time I was at the event, and I know what it’s like to spend hours at an event, judging and being super focused the whole time the performances are on.
I hadn’t seen the bboys for a while and saw a lot of crashes than I usually see from these guys, but they kept their energy high till the end. There was a lot of cheekiness as Mistery would keep saying, and it seems more of a distinction from Aussie crews because elsewhere in the world, the battles are usually pretty serious. The highlight for me was Bboy Don and Blond’s handshake as a transition move in the middle of the finals battle. A classic Don move.
I loved how the crews came prepared with some real creative choreography in their battle sets too. RAW just kept commando’ing SKB and throwing out bboy after bboy for one of their sets, Team Cream and SKB had some really cool stuff too. I always enjoyed the different ways they could come up with in flipping the bird to the other crew. Very creative and entertaining.
Junior Champion – Bboy Harry. He beat out Bboy Bred, the tiniest one in the competition, but he’s still got mad flava and can give it back. I think it was in the semi finals where after the other dude pretended he can’t see him because of his size, he danced over and kicked over that dude’s head while he was crouching. It was comedy gold.
Senior – Bboy Blond (SKB/Extreme Crew). Blond just kept killing it.
Crew – SKB. My boys. 3rd year in a row. I’m so proud of them.