Indisputable fact: Breakdancing is awesome. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a guy in baggy clothes fly around on the floor as if he’s riding an invisible pommel horse. The acrobatics of ‘breaking’ will be explored in The Arena, a new series on the DS2DIO channel where eight of the world’s best b-boys will put on their electrifying acts in a unique competition. The show premieres today and a new episode will air every Monday.
In The Arena, the eight b-boys will compete in four rounds of dance. One of the goals of The Arena, as expounded by host Ivan ‘Flipz’ Velez in a recent featurette, will be to introduce breaking to the uninitiated, most of whom are familiar only with the gymnastic ‘power’ moves that involve flips and spins. “In The Arena we get to explain, and people get to see, what are the fundamentals of breaking,” explains Flipz, “Is breaking just power moves? Is it all flashy stuff? What is breaking? What is b-boying? Why it’s in our culture, why it’s in our blood, why we do it each and every day.”
The eight contestants include DS2DIO veterans like Kid David and other experienced battlers including Floor Phantom and Kid Glyde. The judges are also breakdancing legends, especially Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon, one of the founding members of the Rock Steady Crew and an early advocate for the mainstream recognition of breaking. Each judge will bring his or her own personal philosophy to the table when grading each b-boy’s routine.
Each episode of The Arena will consist of four rounds, with shape-coded patterns instructing the performer to focus on power moves, fancy footwork, or ‘rocking’. The show will be split into four timed rounds, with Rounds 2 and 4 lasting 15 seconds and Rounds 1 and 3 lasting 30 seconds. It’s still unclear as to how a winner will be determined, but audience participation is expect to be a factor.
The Arena is one of several new shows that will debut in what should be a busy year for DS2DIO, a thriving channel founded by director Jon M. Chu (of Step Up and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never fame) and his production partner, Hieu Ho. Upcoming series include a show about fight choreography and another about ‘dance fantasies’. Until those shows are released, I’m content to marvel at America’s best b-boys while constantly reminding myself about how uncoordinated I am.