By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor | Photo courtesy of Facebook.com
For the past 12 years hip-hop has had a home here in Albuquerque, and every b-boy, break dancer, DJ and MC in town has known where to go when they want to show their skills and earn the respect of their scene; Breakin’ Hearts.
Scheduled for Saturday, Feb 15 at Warehouse 508 and Sunday, Feb 16 at the Heights Community Center, the Twelfth Annual Breakin’ Hearts hip-hop festival will bring dance competitions, street art, rap battles and free vendor space to the Duke City, celebrating hip-hop culture in an all-ages, family friendly extravaganza.
Former student and Event Coordinator, Cyrus Gould is part of the United Hip Hop Family (UHF) Krew, a competitive dance crew that shares their love of b-boy culture with Burque’s youth in workshops and dance classes, and has helped put on Breakin’ Hearts and other hip-hop events locally for more than 15 years.
“It’s a really great, positive event, and it can change a lot of stereotypes,” Gould said.
Over the past 12 years the event has grown from a small, tight-knit community to a huge, two day event, with exhibitions and competitions that encompass every facet of street culture, Gould said.
On Saturday at Warehouse 508, there will be a 2 vs. 2 dance battle with a $1,000 prize, along with $100 prizes for a live painting canvas battle and a beat box contest, and a $50 prize for “Freshest Dressed.”
On Sunday the party moves to the Heights Community Center, where the one-on-one open style and pop n’ lock battles will be held, each with a $100 prize.
Each night also has a 21-and-over after party, at Art Bar on Saturday and Sister Bar on Sunday. Saturday’s after party will also have MC and DJ battles.
Throughout the weekend there will be performances from hip-hop groups like Diles, the 2bers, and L’Roneous, and dance exhibitions from the UHF Krew and their youth group, Jr. UHF.
“There’s all these chances to really be involved in a meaningful way as opposed to just being a spectator. I think it gives people an opportunity where maybe there was none before. People like to get a little bit of the limelight,” Gould said.
Former student and Event promoter “Shuga” Shane Montoya said that UHF Krew and Breakin’ Hearts has always been about creating a positive, creative scene for kids and people of all ages, by focusing on education, competition and reflection.
“It’s nice to be able to share what you love to do with other people that really get into it. We see a lot of shifts and changes in people’s lives too, where maybe they are a little more outgoing. Because it’s hard to get out there and dance,” Montoya said.
In addition to all the performances and competitions, and in the spirit of education, there will also be free community workshops starting on Friday and continuing throughout the weekend, where local spray paint artists, dancers and DJs will be teaching their crafts, Gould said.
They will also be offering free vendor space at the event, where anyone in the community can sign up for free space to sell whatever they want, Montoya said.
In the past, people have sold their handmade art, jewelry, screen printed t-shirts and clothing, b-boy accessories like head spin beanies, handmade hip-hop dolls, and anything else, Montoya said.
Dancers can sign up the day of the event, and the only entry fee is the cost of the admission.
“Just come early, sign up, and get ready to battle,” Montoya said.
Tickets are $15 at the door each day, and two-day passes can be purchased before the event for $25, and are available at Caps Paint Shop, LA Underground and Silver Skate Shop.
Gould and Montoya have been sharing their love of dancing and the hip-hop scene since 1999, when they first formed UHF Krew, Gould said.
The crew has competed all over the country, and they are passionate about community outreach, teaching the skills of break dancing to kids with their Urban Summer Hip-Hop Camp and regular dance classes at Marshall’s Performing Arts Conservatory, Montoya said.
They have also worked closely with groups like Children, Youth and Families Department, the Southwest Organizing Project, the Youth Detention Center and Title 1 Homeless Project.
“We work closely with a lot of these organizations, and they really believe in what we do,” Montoya said.
Montoya said that the crew learns as much from the kids as they teach, and that it is this cycle of learning and growing that is the most rewarding part of the job.
“Working with these guys has really been a blessing. It’s amazing to see what they can do,” he said.
Although hip-hop and street culture has often been sighted by many as being a bad influence on youth, Gould said that if people could see what they do and how much of a positive impact their work can have on kids, they would change their minds.
“I would just encourage people to come to the event and make their own judgments and opinions. Come out and have a good time, see how much of a family event it is and how great it is,” Gould said.