By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
"Footwork tells where you're from," explains eighteen-year-old b-boy Snoopy. He motions to the dancers on the other side of the room by squinting his eyes. "They're from Broward," he notes. Without pausing the nail-biting that bobs his finger against his lower lip piercing in quick nervous motions, Snoopy breaks it down. "They're doing 'power': windmills, headspins. You can practice that," he says, unimpressed.
In contrast, the young, wiry dancer says his crew does "flavor," which he mysteriously describes as "crash and burn." "Flavor is how you show yourself to the crowd, all improvised," he says. This will be Snoopy's first Pro-Am. His friend RJ will be going for the third time. "I want to represent Miami and show off skills," the bright-eyed nineteen-year-old says through a mouth full of gold teeth.
Scanning the room, one can decipher the different styles and isolated movements. Some people are doing "flares" -- standing upside down, spinning on the hands with palms face down to create a rotating "flared" illusion with the legs. Flares can also be executed on the back, with the legs rotating in the air like flower petals.
Suddenly an overzealous dancer spins out of control, hitting the DJ table. A very loud "YO!" jumps out of DJ Magic's mouth as onlookers laugh. "Battle! Battle!" is chanted throughout the room and a semicircle forms in front of the DJ table. Snoopy takes off his shirt for battle. Another dancer, Kiddo, tucks his 'fro into a tight cap for better aerodynamics. An interesting kid with unusually tight-fitting clothes also approaches with confidence. His slim jeans, spiked belt, and matching bracelet scream Depeche Mode more than Mos Def. But he also has extraordinary upper-body strength, judging from how he holds an extra-long "freeze" pose by propping his entire body up in a fetal-like position using only his arms and elbows.
The kid has skillz. His name is David and he goes by the name Mex-One. This will be his fourth Pro-Am. "2000 was my first Pro-Am and I loved it," remembers Mex-One. "It introduced me to b-boying. It's the biggest competition in Florida."