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The Commonspace

Aug 2003 / games :: email this story to a friend

Strength and Style
By Brian H. Marston

Ever since it first looked like the physical Commonspace would become a reality, I've wanted to hold breakdancing events there for the simple reason that I enjoy watching them. I read the article about breaking by Kenneth Pruitt in the December 2002 issue of Playback and set to work trying to get in contact with some dancers. From Kenneth, I got Arkimedez's email address. I also posted a message on The Science bulletin board in early January announcing my intention to set up a series of events to grow and promote the hip-hop community in St. Louis, and Guru emailed me back. I asked Arkimedez and Guru for advice about how to run a b-boy event, bought a 12' x 14' piece of linoleum at Hood's on Jefferson and set up a time for a practice run on February 8.

That first trial run attracted only three people — one dancer (Culture, the lone b-girl) and two videographers (Kenny and TJ). Undeterred, I set up another event for March 15 at The Commonspace. That one brought in 11 people, including three dancers (Arkimedez, Guru and Skytlez) and two DJs (Espi and Mike 2600). The following month, Breakin' @ The Commonspace turned out 60 people, and it's been going strong ever since.

We hold a breakdancing session at The Commonspace one Saturday each month from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The next one is on August 30. There's no admission charge; DJ Espi will man the wheels of steel. About a dozen dancers have participated in the event. No one, including the DJ, is being paid to be there. I'm happy to provide a place for them to do their thing.

Breaking is one of the four elements of hip-hop culture, the others being MCing, DJing and (dare we say it) graffiti. These days, breaking seems to receive the least attention of the four. As far as I know, there aren't any other regular events in St. Louis that focus on breaking. (The Science spin, held every Friday at Blueberry Hill, is more of a DJ showcase.) I love breakdancing because it combines strength and individual style. It also appeals to a racially diverse audience. Breakin' @ The Commonspace is one of the few places you'll see people with all different colors of skin having a good time together.

The pictures below were all taken at The Commonspace. Be on the lookout for a dhTV documentary about the b-boy scene in St. Louis produced by SMC Productions. See you on the 30th.

[Click a thumbnail image below to pop up the large version.]

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