Strong winds and a day of rain didn't keep a large, loud and diverse crowd from filling the Grand Ballroom of Monona Terrace for "Breakin' the Law," an international bboy and bgirl break dancing competition held in Madison on Friday night.
This fifth annual edition of the free event -- dubbed "5inal Sentence" -- drew break dancers from here in the Midwest and around the world, with teams hailing everywhere from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Canada to Hong Kong, Japan, and South Africa. The dance competition marked the last big event in the ninth annual Hip Hop as a Movement Week, a series of music, art, and academic events presented by the UW Multicultural Student Coalition (MCSC). By all accounts it was a resounding success.
"The week has been going great," said MCSC organizer Matt Forrest. "Everything has been really well-attended and tonight is the biggest event that we have; all the elements of hip hop are represented in one spot. It's just really cool to see this many people come out to see people break dance."
The competition was organized similar to an NCAA tournament bracket, with the numerous slate of "crews," each comprised of five dancers, facing off in a series of six-minute rounds. The winner of each round was determined by a team of five judges from crews around the globe. They were: Babyson (from Wanted Crew of France), Pakorn (from Brickheadz of Chicago), Alien Ness (from Zulu Kingz of New York), Dyzee (from Supernaturalz of Canada), and Shie-Chan (of Air Real from Japan).
Music was supplied by a diverse team of four DJs (E Double, Swann, Kid Cut Up, and Madison's own Vilas Park Sniper), and the dance floor face-offs were punctuated by ensemble performances by ViBE2 of Madison, as well as C.O.D.A. and Skrip & Milano Box, both of Chicago.
Hosting the event was ManOfGod, the breakin' name for Jarius King. The dancer from Chicago founded Breakin' the Law five years ago as a freshman at UW-Madison, and continues to play a lead organizing role in the growing tournament.
While attendance totals are not definitive, Breakin' the Law 5inal Sentence looked to draw at least as many as last year's 2,200 attendees and likely ended the night with many more. The show ran well past its designated end time of midnight, with the last crews standing facing off around 1:15 a.m. Images from competition can be viewed in the photo gallery above.
Crew highlights and crowd favorites included Gravity Benders of Milwaukee, Hong Kong's Rhythm Attack, Toronto's Supernaturalz, Chicago's The Sidewinders, Elgin's Self-X, Milwaukee's Motion Disorderz and the Madison-based Soul Hydrauliks.
The night's final battles came down to a showdown between Motion Disorderz and Self-X, leaving the latter with a third place win. With this, Motion Disorderz and Supernaturalz were the last crews standing. The boisterous crowd cheered on as the final battle ended with Supernaturalz taking a definitive win.
All three top crews received artwork from Oddworx, a Milwaukee artist; the second place team also won a $250 prize while the winners took home the $500 grand prize.
"I would say that out of all the events on campus, multicultural or not, this is the dopest event by far," said MCSC member and competitor Minhzy of the Soul Hydrauliks crew. "This is hip hop at its purest form. Even though this is made up of so many people of such different backgrounds, it's a common language we understand. Everything that needs to be said gets said on the floor, and to share that with so many other people, that's just the best feeling."