Tuesday, May 19, 2009

South Korea B-Boys

This article is about the R16 Urban Arts Festival & World B-Boy Championship in South Korea. South Korea has some of the best break dancers/B-Boys in the World. The competition is located in Seoul and the Korean government donated $2 million to the competition. B-boy dancers come from all over the world to compete in R16. South Korea’s the Gamblers were announced the champions in 2008. They donated their winnings to the victims of the earthquake in China and Myanmar.

Another interesting point noted by this article is the required military service for young men in South Korea:

Because South Korea is still a country at war, looming over every young man's life is mandatory military service. For working-class b-boys, it acts as a passage into a bleak future. "If they're not in college, they have to do some kind of menial job," according to Shin. Many say that the prospect of military service is the main factor that has accelerated the Korean breaking scene's development. "You see that hunger and that drive," says Korean-American filmmaker Benson Lee, whose 2007 hit documentary "Planet B-Boy" featured a DMZ scene with members of Gamblers and Rivers as battling soldiers.

They know that the freedom of b-boying can't last. "The service will come up when you're 21, 22. But they can always extend that using some excuse," Chon says. "A lot of the b-boys -- now they're like 26, 27, they haven't gone. They have to go soon. They keep putting it off because the culture is kind of peaking now."

He estimates that four out of five b-boys currently competing in South Korea have postponed their service or have illegally evaded their conscription. Chon and Shin say they know many b-boys who have mutilated themselves to dodge the army. Kim "Bang Rock" Hyun-jin of the Rivers crew says through a translator, "Everyone tries to avoid the service." Then he switches to English for emphasis. "It's like going to hell."

If you like break-dancing, you can check out videos and photos from R16 here.

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