The normally silent and empty space of Ukraine's Vydubychi Art Factory on the outskirts of Kiev came alive last weekend with lights, music, and crowds of screaming fans as it played host to the Eastern European finals of the Red Bull BC One contest. Ukrainian b-boy and Kharkov resident "Robin," also known as Alexei Bulgakov, won the competition and will continue to the world finals in Korea on Nov. 30.
"I'm gonna rock Korea! It's on another level because it will be all the champions competing. If I will win just one or two battles, it will already be cool because all the best b-boyers in the world will be there," Robin said in a Red Bull press release.
The Red Bull BC One is an annual competition that includes b-boys from all over the world. "B-boying" is a type of dance commonly associated with hip-hop and rap music and is also sometimes referred to as break dancing, or breaking.
Red Bull BC One is the most prestigious competition of b-boying and has been selecting the best hip-hop dancers in the world since the tournament began in 2004. At the event in Kiev were the winners of national finals in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Slovenia and Israel.
The event was judged by three established b-boy experts from around the world: Storm, a German b-boyer who has been dancing since 1984; American Ken Swift, founder of the Breaklife b-boying blog and the VII Gems dance society in New York; and El Nino, an American b-boyer with many family connections in the genre.
The musicians at the tournament got almost as much attention as the actual contestants, and DJs MC Scream and DJ Smirnoff seemed to please the crowd, mixing songs for the duration of the events.
In the end, the contest came down to two Ukrainian contestants, Robin and Pluto, though judges were unanimous in awarding the victory to Robin.