Post date: 21 September 2011
BC Does Notorious IBE 2011

Imagine a holiday resort for breakers in the middle of a small Dutch city where b-boys and b-girls turn up in scores. Or Breakin’ Convention taking over a quiet country village. The Notorious IBE took place in Heerlen, Netherlands, last weekend and is a pilgrimage of breaking culture for dancers and spectators alike.

BBoy Lilou at IBE 2011Now in its 11th sell out year and with ten different cyphers over three days, the Notorious IBE was a weekend of making choices between catching a battle from beginning to end, taking a masterclass with a superstar breaker or choosing to sit and listen to the many talk shows like The Story of Lilou (picture, right)

What looks like an average European high street in a former mining town in the Netherlands had its quiet atmosphere interrupted by the squeaking of sneakers upon cobblestone, enterprising hip hop clothing companies selling their wares in the town square market, and curious breakers getting ‘smoked’ in conspicuous looking coffee shops.

Breakin’ Convention's action is packed into the space of Sadler’s Wells Theatre; controlled chaos. At IBE, with cyphers spread across the town of Heerlen within five minutes of each other the action spilled out onto the streets with spontaneous throw downs popping up in car parks. Come midnight the town square was transformed into a massive public party as tourists mixed in with the locals enjoying their night out.

We even caught up briefly with Soul Lo who we met at Red Bull BC One Ireland and part of Floor B, who had brought over the winner of the Soul Sessions cypher in Belfast. She wasn’t the only BC One entrant around. El Nino, Kid Glyde, Morris, Ducky, if they had done a big competition then the world of b-boy was there to strike up a conversation on a plate. Heerlen was a breaking resort, and if you wanted to tell your b-boying idol how much you admire them over a Bavarian ale, you could.

Battle, battle, battle!

IBE plays host to some amazing high profile battles and international qualifiers. We B*Girlz, the annual battle only for female breakers curated by photographers Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer, was the first major battle on Friday night which will culminate at the next We B*Girlz festival in Berlin. The seven to smoke, Octogon, and let's not forget the kids battles, showcased the high standards and abilities dancers can reach when pushing themselves to the limit.

The UK B-Boy Championships European qualifier was also the last chance for lockers, poppers and crews to make the final line up for the finals at Brixton Academy in October. While they had already qualified in the nationals, Soul Mavericks still entered the crew battles and made the finals.

Storm at IBE 2011

Although the emphasis of IBE was on the battles, one showcase performance that stood out for everyone we spoke to was ILL-Abilities, an international crew of breakers with physical limitations to their bodies, uniting to show off the illest ability to represent as b-boys - could this be possible BC material...?

Meanwhile, Storm was awarded European Appreciation Award after the Rock Ya Soul Cypher Session (pictured, above right) for his contribution to b-boying culture, something a long time coming considering how he spread the word in Europe while the media focused on the US.

Overall, IBE was an experience. Be that through losing feeling in your legs from sitting and watching an entire qualifier, learning from a legend or coming home deaf from the booming break beats playing all weekend, everyone took something home with them.

IBE is me: IBE is BC.

IBE 2011 highlights

The seven to smoke on the opening night: The energy jumped to a whole new level, the breaking was energetic and aggressive and some incredible power was pulled off in a battle format that tests even the best b-boy’s stamina.

All Battles All battles: This really was the cream of the world’s best b-boying crop. In these battles no crews won, but the sheer might of some of the moves was incredible

The Octogon: Alien Ness’ infamous battle within a confined space saw many a b-boy get to big for their Puma suedes, and for the cypher. By the top 16 the judges only had to call a couple of rounds, the rest of the b-boys fell victim to the Octogon.

Longest b-boy move: Air flares are impressive power moves in themselves, but doing 59 in a row is taking a holiday.

IBE battle and qualifier results:
Seven2Smoke: Niek - Rugged Solutions (Netherlands)
We B*Girlz Battle: Rose and Pauline - Styles Confidential (Netherlands)
3on3 Generations Battle: Momemtum Crew (Portugal)

UK BBoy Championships qualifying crews:
Rugged Solutions - Netherlands
La Smala - France
Illusion of Exist - Russia

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