Back to the future: Students flip for "new" dance craze

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To the pulsating rhythms of Busta Rhymes, Tri Trang ’12 spins wildly on the floor on his back. Holding one foot, he turns and flips gracefully back to his feet, ending the move with a spin.

One of the hottest new activities on campus may not be so new. In a throwback to the dancing battles on the streets of New York City in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a new club is introducing novice and experienced dancers to the hip-shaking, head-spinning world of breaking.

Marty Cole '13

Members of U Break, which usually attracts a dozen or so students, rehearse their moves several times a week in the Alumni Gym.

“I had never even seen anyone break dance before,” said Ben Rubin ’13, who discovered the group at Club Expo last September. “I’ve actually never danced before in my life so it’s kind of funny that I’m break dancing now.”

Breaking has evolved and become more physical since the height of its popularity in the ‘80s, said Trang, U Break’s founder. The bulky, old school boom boxes have been replaced by razor-thin iPods. Parachute pants have been swapped out for low, baggy jeans.

“Break dancing kind of died and went away after the whole ‘80s fad,” Trang said. “Other countries worldwide…took it to a whole new level. Now it’s bigger than ever, and break dancing is a whole new style.”

Besides Trang and Rubin, regular club members include Marty Cole ’13, Zoralys Molina ’13 and Stef Charles ’12.

Matt Milless, director of Student Activities, said Union has had break dancing clubs in the past, but like poofed hair and shoulder pads, break dancing keeps coming back. “It adds another dynamic group to the 100 clubs and organizations we have on campus,” he added.

U Break has performed at several events around campus, including a recent Black History Month celebration at Old Chapel.