Battle of the Year 2011 - Vagabonds Winners!
It’s fast becoming apparent that Vagabonds are undisputedly the world's best b-boy crew at the moment, after scooping the UK B-Boy Championships title twice in the past two years and taking both the title and best show award at Battle of the Year (BOTY) 2011.
Battle of the Year is known historically within b-boy circles as the ‘World Cup of B-Boying’ so it was only right that it took place in a massive 12,000 capacity arena in Montpellier, its new home since it moved from Germany two years ago. The last time France won a World Cup (in football) was when it hosted the tournament in 1998, and with the home team taking the silverwear home again it leaves potential for WAGs to scrap their designer handbags for shell toes and phat laces.
What do 12,000 people look like? This.
"They had energy, control and precision. They seemed relaxed and kept their smiles," said Poe One. "A lot crews feel the pressure and pull out all the guns and it doesn't work. But Vagabonds looked at ease."
"This is for us a great comeback after last winning in 2006," they later said. "All eyes were on us but we worked so hard for this all year. We won the UK B-Boy Championships last month and it's so exciting to win the title again."
No doubt. Being the crew flying the national flag saw, or rather heard, audience scream down the arena and the crowd support kept spirits high after a controversial decision to put Battle Born of USA through to the finals. No other crew got the same response, bar Jinjo from (you guessed it) Korea.
In order to qualify for the BOTY 2011 finals each of the 19 crews that qualified for the world finals (see them here) had to perform a six minute showcase. Highlights included a smart dressed Nine States B-Boyz from Japan dancing to an Austin Powers soundtrack, Dead Prezz from Greece going for a poignant political storyline and TPEC from Taiwan bringing energy and attitude that some other competing crews forgot to bring to their set.
BOTY organiser Thomas Hergenröther said: “It was an amazing night. All crews practiced hard to win a spot in the final and there were some great battles. My congratulations to Vagabonds who are now officially the best crew in the world.”
The night before in the BOTY side cyphers the b-girls represented at Nika Kramer’s We B*Girlz battles on Friday night with Lil Fenesis and Yurie from Japan taking out the crowd favourites Aliyah and Marion from France in the finals; B-Boy Niek (formerly Just Do It) of Holland won the 1 v 1 battles, another victory for him since winning the seven to smoke at IBE 2011.
Watch Battle of the Year (BOTY) 2011 highlights
Battle of the Year 2011 results
Top four crews
BOTY 1 v 1 bboy results
We B*Girlz results
It’s bigger than hip hop
France is hyped for street dance. Flicking through the channels on the television at the hotel and who do we see on TV? Bruce, organiser of Juste Debout, as a judge on TV talent competition Dance Street - which was airing on repeat until the early hours of the morning! Brahim, a member of Pockemon crew who also happens to be dating Madonna, was in the gossip headlines, and Vagabonds were clearly the stars at the show as demonstrated when the standing audience pushed forward for a better view.
It was interesting that looking around the arena the apparent amount of breakers that had travelled from overseas to watch BOTY in person were limited. It's a shame more hadn't travelled to Montpellier as the audience seemed unfamiliar with hip hop fundamentals such call-and-response, giving it a feeling of a theatre crowd than a hip hop concert - and you know how hyped the Breakin' Convention hip hop audience gets inside a theatre!
The smelly, sweaty excitement of a cypher you get in packed, intimate venues was full of seated individuals that looked like a hard job to excite. A spectator sport, maybe? If only Breakin' Convention had reporters the last time we went...
What are your thoughts? Were Vagabonds deserving champions? Was the judge's decision to put Battle Born through to the finals right? Maybe you were there and thought the atmosphere was live? If you have something to say leave your comments below!
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