Universal BBoy League: All the right moves

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“I’m ending his b-boy career” says Brandon “Burn” Tumblod, a 20-year-old with floppy hair and a quick smile in a video aired ahead of a breakdance battle with Knowski – who had just accused him of stealing his hairstyle.

When the two meet on the dancefloor at The Great Hall, they go to touch shoes (as is UBL pre-battle tradition) but Burn pulls his foot away and twists it around Knowski’s. The crowd that surrounds them laughs and jeers.

The music starts and the two young b-boys trade moves in 30-second rounds, limbs spinning, trying to out-style each other.

In the end, the judges go with Burn.

The battle was part of Toronto’s Universal BBoy League, a competitive club helmed by Geoff Reyes, a Scarborough native who also runs community organization How Hip Hop Helps. He and his team gathered the UBL roster and have been putting on events since last August. His goal is to create professional world-class b-boys and bring “competitive arts and entertainment” to the masses.

Battles at the April event were judged by three respected veterans of the Toronto scene: Tryx, Longshot and Flex. They base their decisions on musicality, diversity, execution and the elusive “b-boy factor.” After the battle ends, the judges simultaneously point at the dancer who they thought won. If they want another round, they cross their arms. Majority decides.

The marquee battles between Onton/Styx and Quantum/Illz were impressive displays of style and substance.

Before the headline events, fledgling breakers competed in a preliminary tournament, won handily by Filthy Wizard.

Between the dance battles, DJs scratched and beatboxers RX and Spittz competed. (All that was missing was a rap battle…)

The night was expertly hosted by b-boy Mariano “Glizzi” Abarca, who kept energy high throughout the night with comedy and calls to “make some noise when you see something you can’t do.”

And the ring card girl? Holy smokes, the ring card girl. Worth the price of admission alone.

The next UBL main event expo is July 14 at The Great Hall in Toronto. Join the Facebook group to stay informed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter too.

Here are some super dope photos we got courtesy of FJ Sarmiento and Nadia Yen. Check FJ’s website or find him on Facebook for more info.

Knowski vs Burn
Knowski vs Burn


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