By BRYAN TERNG
B-BOYING is not just a hobby; it’s also a culture, a lifestyle of hip-hop.”
That’s how Mohd Rizwan, 24, a member of the Titans b-boy crew, perceives b-boying.
Titans represented Malaysia in the 5 on 5 B-boy category at the finals of the international street dancing competition New Taipei Bboycity 2014 in Taiwan over the weekend.
Titans gained entry into the competition by winning the Malaysian preliminary selection rounds, which consisted of four categories: Hip-hop 1 on 1, Freestyle Girls 2 on 2, B-boy Solo, and B-boy Crew 5 on 5.
Judges for the preliminary round, held in Pavillion Kuala Lumpur last month, included Indonesian dancer Semmy Blank, Taiwanese dancers Jill Chen and Shiuan, Malaysian b-boy Zero, b-boy G1 from Thailand and b-boy Taower from Taiwan.
Unlike most b-boy crews who fine-tune their routines before competitions, Rizwan claimed his 14-year-old group – comprising his childhood friends – doesn’t focus on practising. Instead, the troupe develops its skills, technique and teamwork by participating in numerous b-boy competitions.
The absence of fixed routines could hamper any team during competitions, but Titans wowed the judges with its energy and enthusiasm.
But it’s not all about fame and glory for the members. “Being talented and winning competitions are just bonuses,” Rizwan said. “What matters is that you immerse yourself in the culture to know yourself better and have fun.”
Echoing that belief, G1 stated that the four aspects of hip hop – peace, unity, love and fun – are an integral part of every b-boy and b-girl. “You have to enjoy your dance, too,” he said.
The five members of Titans aside, four other dancers represented Malaysia in the world finals. They were hip-hop dancer Ogawa, b-boy Lego Sam, and dancing duo Waack Be Twins.
Ogawa – whose real name is Kho Kar Hua – had to dance through eight rounds (from 12pm to 10pm) at the preliminaries before being crowned winner of the Hip-hop 1 on 1.
Kho, a dancer of four years, competed under strange circumstances in the finals – he was pitted against his own girlfriend Yap Foong Yin, who also happens to be his instructor at SIM Dance Studio, Johor Baru.
“My girlfriend and my friends are my role models in dancing,” Kho said.
The Malaysian preliminaries was organised by MYND Production Entertainment Studio director Nikki Cheang, who wanted to showcase the skills of Malaysian dancers.
She said: “The Malaysian dance scene is not recognised internationally, so it was definitely risky to host an event like this. We could have easily lost money.”
Fortunately, the event managed to snag approximately 200 registrations, making it a pretty decent success.
Sadly, in the world finals – which saw hundreds of dancers from over 20 countries participating, including the United States, Finland, China and Korea – none of the Malaysian representatives became champions.
But being from a country where street dance is still not a big thing, what they achieved is nothing short of amazing. Waack Be Twins and Lego Sam made it to the top four in Freestyle Girls 2 on 2 and B-boy Solo, respectively, while Titans made it to the top eight in B-boy Crew 5 on 5.