Time to give a serious shout out to the event that is Break Mission, and to Russell David, MC Swifty, Sugar Rush, D-lo, Dek One, KhanFu, Kub, Unpronounceable and the whole team! Last year I wrote an honest feedback post to try and positively communicate a few things that dancers had highlighted that could be improved or thought about. A lot of time feedback is listened to but a year later forgotten, or not implemented for various reasons, when it comes to events on our scene but Break Mission went above and beyond to do better and be better this year.
They needed more space for all the competitors who came to enter, and for the spectators who wanted to watch, so they moved to the sheltered Arcadian Car park, a massive space where they needed to build absolutely everything, from the stage to the DJ booths and dancer warm up areas. It was more work, it was more security, more staff, more variables that needed to be paid attention. It was no easy task but they did it because it was needed.
Timings ran over last year and weren't as easy to find for people so this year Swifty ran a tighter, smoother ship, constantly checking timings, constantly giving updates to the crowd or anyone who came to him to ask. He picked up time at moments they needed it but yet still allowed time for dancers to cypher, for spectators and competitors to chill in between battles, and for everyone to be able to enjoy the day and not feel rushed.
Russell got B-Boy Premier (Torrell) in with his Woosh Judging system, giving a young breaker and tech guy on our scene a chance to better test the judging system he created, and through using it to get honest, constructive feedback on his system. It's important to take note of this as If we don't give the young enterprisers on our scene a chance, who will?
The Woosh system also gave everyone the visual competition brackets wanted last year, displayed on the big screens added in above the DJ booth.
The qualifier day was smooth, with Swifty listening to, and adjusting to, on the spot feedback, immediately doing pop up B-Girl cyphers when it was realised that the B-Girl's weren't getting into the cyphers enough for the judges to see them.
I always say that a qualifier day will never be a super fun, easy task. It is an exhausting day, you have hundreds of dancers all coming to try and be one of the chosen, judges have to watch so much dancing and time has to be given. But Break Mission tackled it as well as most any event I've seen.
And those were just the technical things, the things that Break Mission sat down on and came back this year with a game plan to improve on. On top of that you then had the event! Which was an actual community event! People might ask, 'what makes a community event?' And I'd say it's an event that realises that as much as we all love breaking, and the stand up street styles, and are drawn to these events to compete or watch, to truly give people an experience there needs to be more for them to do than just sit and watch, or dance and compete. At Break Mission you saw dancers and spectators playing basketball games on the hoops provided outside. Dragon punches and fire balls were thrown at each other on Street Fighter Super showdowns, and even classic Duck Hunt shots were fired on the Nintendo games systems set up for people to enjoy. DJ's, dancers, young kids and more all lined up to get a fresh cut from Spin the Barber, and while all this was happening Graffiti writers were painting the walls with some of the ill art, turning the place into even more of a hip hop culture playground. I tell you now, at no point did it feel like you were in a car park, at no point did I look around, maybe wanting to take a breather and chill for a moment, and not see something else to do or see. For me, this is a community event, this is what makes a competition more than a competition, this is what makes it a true jam!
Break Mission even up'ed the ante on the after party this year! Drinks flowed, conversations went on in the outside area, and the DJs dropped beats that kept everyone partying until the club closed. If you were there you might have thought that no one would wake up to make it to the event the next day but that's hip hop! Partying is part of the event! We compete, we battle, we go out, party, and we get up feeling a little waved but then the DJ wakes our bodies up with a scratch and a beat and we jump right back into a cypher, get loose and head into battle.
And let's not forget that yes, top level dancers competed for money and prizes, but all this was put on, once again, for the community and the public, for FREE, and in the process help those who truly need it by giving food and clothing donations to the homeless. And no matter how big Break Mission has gotten that Mission hasn't changed and once again, this year, it was a Mission worth Breaking for.
The Vivid Scribe