There’s perhaps no other elements of Hip Hop lack more media recognition than breakdance (Bboying or Bgirling). When it comes to Hip Hop, it is the music, lifestyle, and fashion that populates the headline and every media outlet. While Breakdance was just added to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and more corporate sponsors are stepping in for large-scale competitions, the dance is still under- and misrepresented. When Alexander “Smiley” Hayashi, set out to show the root of breaking with this event, Catch Wreck, he wasn’t sure how the community would take it.
It was always the cypher, the raw essence of breaking, which interested him the most in this art form. An experience that he didn’t just want to share it with other Bboys or Bgirls but also those in different art communities. In the Hip Hop terms “Catch Wreck,” means doing well. “I want a name that was easily recognizable and connected to the root of hip-hop, ” said Hayashi. A term that those who are more in-depth with Hip Hop would know but not common for those outside.
Catch Wreck sets itself apart from other Breakdance events by having the competition, not as the dominant form in the space but a supplement to the having fun, bugging out, and vibing to the music. Instead of the traditional showcase round in the preliminary selection, Hayashi chose a score based selection, where dancers will earn a score between 1 to 10 based on the quality of their round. The top eight dancers with the highest score after 45 minutes of dancing then competed for the title of the first Catch Wreck.
While Hayashi hopes to showcase the roots of breaking, he also wanted to remind us the power of Hip Hop. The idea of “unity, peace, love, and having fun” that Hip Hop represents is often disregarded when mixing with politics and current events. “People don’t think Hip Hop can be political,” said Hayashi. But in truth, Hip-hop culture tends to be a microcosm of the problem of the society.
“I hope that we are all committed to embodying the unity Hip-Hop so often speaks of, by a sustained engagement with critical thinking both outward and inward,” said Hayashi. “That we oppose the various forms of hatred based on race, nationality, gender identity, sexual preference, ability, class, religion, and any number of other human characteristics.”
With attendees from all over the Midwest and even Canada, given the small budget, Catch Wreck was nothing but a success. Catch Wreck happened on Nov. 19, 2017, at Links Hall. Checkout the playlist below for all the battles, provided by The Ways of Bboy.