From sweatshops to food delivery, from breakdancers to Olympic dreams

THE B-BOYS who will see their sport join the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 are not panicking for lack of facilities. Leaving behind stories of ghetto education and sweatshops, of being the spokespersons for the economy of food delivery concerts and of moving beyond crime and drug addiction, they are among the 16 best dancers. of the country for this weekend’s Red Bull BC One in Mumbai – as India begins to identify who can target the Olympics from that culture.

Eshwar Tiwari, aka B-Boy Wildchild, starts off as one of the favorites. He remembers those first steps at BKC Auto Expo in 2013. “I was called to do flips all day while people looked at luxury cars. God knows if anyone even noticed me, but I bought a phone with this income of Rs 1,500 per day. Then I watched YouTube videos and sent Facebook friend requests to all the famous B-Boys to learn from them, ”he said.

Wildchild grew up dreaming of the Merchant Navy while cultivating his “superpower skills”. He failed in Class 9, and was taunted about his dancing. Then the 22-year-old Andheri came up with his own signature move, “Wild Spin,” where he spins on his wrist. And as soon as it went viral in 2016, he was invited to Taiwan and became a regular on the Asian tour.

B-Boy Jin, who spearheaded Delhi’s first generation of thugs, grew up in Dakshinpuri, where crime was right outside the door. “There was gundagardi, drug addiction, beatings and fights, and murders. Some boys I grew up with are now in prison. Some have become local donations, ”said Jin, 25, who was originally Vivek Nainwal.

His family wanted him to become a chartered accountant. When it didn’t take off, they sent him to an uncle’s food stand as a liner. He washed utensils for a month. But his mind was in the dance and he branched out to become a Cult Fitness trainer. “Busking (B-Boying in the streets where customers leave money as a thank you) was an option, but the police are chasing you, it’s not like Europe where he is respected,” he said. he declares.

Perhaps India’s biggest name is Arif Iqbal Chaudhary, three-time winner of BC One, known as the Flying Machine, who avoided the chaos of his locality of Jogeshwari East, where smoking, drinking and fighting were The most common. “I started working in bag sewing units at the age of 10; I cut the pieces and lined them up. In class 6, I stopped taking money at home, ”said the 24-year-old.

In the south, B-Boy Crazy Bright, aka Suryadarshan, 26, from West Mambalam in Chennai, delivered T Nagar Talk on a local night for two years before fleeing to Bengaluru to focus on dancing. “I did odd jobs and even slept in West Mambalam on the platform, spending money only on Odomos because there were so many mosquitoes. Last year I briefly became an employee of Swiggy, ”he says.

Chandigarh’s B-Boy Icon or Suraj also made stints as Zomato’s delivery partner during the lockdown, before qualifying for their first Top 16 domestically. “Customers can be cranky and yell if orders are late. The pandemic year and exhaustion drained my training energy, but I was happy to qualify, ”the teenager said.

The trip to Famous Studios this weekend will be one to remember for B-Boy Flexagon, Nasiruddin Chaudhary, who was not allowed to leave his home for three years from 2012 to 2015 by his mother. “I lost my older brother to heavy drug addiction, so my mom got scared and said I couldn’t lose you too,” he said. When the 20-year-old finally took to the station wagon at Mankhurd-Govandi in Mumbai, he developed a flexible and trippy style, which earned him the name of his crew.

But the fastest B-Boy in action will be Tornado, attempting to shatter what he calls an evil dream – of B-Boying overseas. Tornado aka Ramesh Yadav learned to break at a DJ party in a slum in Mankhurd when he was a child, but got carried away by the team when he harassed them to teach him how to turn on his head. “But I would look at them and copy across the naala (sewer line). Finally, they gave in, ”he said.

The 23-year-old started shopping for outfits at Chor Bazaar and working as a Dish TV technician before becoming the “famous Tornadoji”. “I was fixing their satellite dishes, but I saw the clean terraces as a stage,” he said.

In 2019, he won the Red Bull figure. “But Mumbai decided to host it, so I couldn’t sit on a plane! he said. He was due to visit France in March 2020 – the day the lockdown went into effect. He continued to save for the elusive overseas trip.

He says when the newspapers wrote about his victory in 2018, his family “thought I had committed a crime.” “This is my neighborhood. If you get into the papers, you are a lost cause. I told them to find someone educated and ask them to read what the news meant!

Breaking was included in the program for the Paris Olympics in December 2020, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to release the qualifying structure in the coming months.

Red Bull BC One, in its sixth edition, has been considered India’s premier competition for all these years, with the top 16 men and four women expected to compete on Saturday, after a fully digital qualifying process last month.

The famous Breaking All Stars, B-Boy Wing, B-Boy Junior and B-Girl Sarah Bee, will judge the fight format. The winners – a B-Boy and a B-Girl – will travel to the 18th BC One World Final in November in Gdansk, Poland, where all the top stars are expected to come together for the sport’s biggest final.

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