By Lori Vetrano
The University’s break dance club, along with Flock, a dance crew from Philadelphia, held its first-ever competition Saturday in the St. Mary’s gymnasium.
Villanova seniors Kenny Tsang, former president of the club and current Flock member, and Derick Lai, current president, collaborated with many individuals and organizations to make “Kingdom Come” happen.
“We actually had the ideas rolling as early as July ,” Lai says. “But our plans weren’t completely solid until late October.” Tsang and Lai began contacting local b-boys (the proper term for male break dancers) and crews in order to secure an MC, DJ and judges for the competition. Tsang planned all of the off-campus details, while Lai handled the logistics on campus—venue, paperwork, sponsorship contacts, etc.
“The process was arduous and stressful,” Tsang says. “But I was reassured by my possible obsession with detail.”
“A lot of props to Lori Blake and Marie Witman from Student Development,” Lai says. “I was very inexperienced in handling all of the paperwork and other legal aspects, but they were helpful. Devon [Jackson], as always, supported us greatly.”
Tsang and Lai secured sponsorships from Pro.Msks, a New York based clothing line, as well as ORLC Worldwide, a Philadelphia clothing line owned by Ralph Cy who works at the University’s Freshens in Connelly Center. VitaminWater also provided free beverages at the competition.
Members of the break dance club, as well as Flock, arrived early to set up and prepare for the competition.
The event began with two break-dance workshops taught by prominent b-boys, “Flexum,” a dancer from California who is currently part of Jabbawockeez, and Jason “Chem” Ng from New York. Several students attended the workshops to learn break-dance basics, as well as more intricate moves.
The format for the competition was 2 versus 2, which meant two dancers would “battle” two other dancers. There would be preliminary battles to determine who would compete for the top 16, and whoever won the top 16 would battle in the top four, finally moving on to compete for the championship. Three judges, who are prominent and experienced b-boys in the scene, determined who won each battle.
Over 220 people filled the gymnasium—54 crews entered the preliminaries. A few University students participated in the event: freshman Ben Ngai battled with a friend and junior Diamond Holland battled with senior Lori Vetrano as a b-girl duo. The crowd’s energy was high as the dancers performed incredible stunts and acrobatic feats.
Obsession Kingz, two dancers from New Jersey and New York, came out victorious against Lions of Zion, two members from a famous b-boy crew in the DMV.
Overall, the event was a great success for being the first competition held here.
“I was more than overjoyed with the turnout,” Lai says. “There was also good music, great talent and for the most part, we were pretty organized for our club’s first big event ever. This was a great team and family effort.”
“Kingdom Come” was an incredible testament to the power of hip-hop and how it brings people together when it’s not tainted by greed or commercialization,” Tsang says. “Everyone involved—participants, staff, judges, promoters, DJ, MC and sponsors—didn’t do this because they wanted to make a profit. It was all because of our love for hip-hop.”