UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Breakers are triumphant at Battle for Boston

The UMass Boston Breakers pose for a photo after their win of first place at a regional competition. Photo submitted by Aidan Phuong / Mass Media Contributor.

On Oct. 28, the UMass Boston Breakers claimed victory in the collegiate 3v3 at Battle for Boston, a regional jam hosted by Harvard University. The dark horse win was a huge upset in a field of familiar faces and placed UMass Boston second in the East Coast rankings of the National Collegiate Breaking Association.

Breaking, colloquially known as breakdancing, is an athletic dance born from the hip-hop culture of the Bronx in the 1970s. The dance is composed of four main elements: toprock, footwork, power moves and freezes. Toprock generally refers to the moves made by the dancer, or breaker, while standing whereas footwork refers to movements performed on the floor. Power moves are acrobatic moves that require intense skill, strength and control. Conversely, freezes are stylish poses in which the breaker will suspend themselves off the ground, usually to emphasize a beat in the music or a transition within or at the end of their set. Together, the four elements of breaking give breakers substantial freedom to express themselves through their dance. This freedom has allowed breaking to spread and flourish around the world.

In the Fall 2022 semester, the UMass Boston Breakers club was established by Joshua Do to bring breaking to UMass Boston. A year later, Do led UMass Boston to victory at Battle for Boston. In the collegiate 3v3 contest, squads of three from various schools compete in a tournament.

Three of the five squads sent to Battle for Boston to represent UMass Boston made it through the preliminary rounds into the Top 16. However, only one made it to the final and ultimately clinched the top spot for UMass Boston.

The winning squad was composed of two freshmen, Arthur Le and Rinat Rizvanov, as well as Do himself. However, the three champions did not win without stiff resistance. Double Take, as the squad was named, cruised through to the semi-finals to face Tufts Medical, a one-man squad. The solo show managed to battle his way through opponents to face UMass Boston’s Double Take. Tufts Medical came well-equipped with a plethora of power moves to wow the crowd and the judges. However, Rizvanov responded with his own arsenal of power moves. Le showcased his captivating toprock and Do demonstrated his fantastic footwork.

Once both squads completed their rounds, the judges were left to make their ruling. However, the battle was declared a tie between the two squads, forcing one more round from each side.

The tired Tufts Medical was ultimately bested by Double Take, who moved on to the final to face Bulletproof Funk, a squad from Boston University. After six hours of intense battles, the exhausted Double Take was tested one last time.

According to Do, “It takes a lot of energy to make it to the final round, [and] you have to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready.” The final battle required not just one, but two rounds from each person for the judges to declare a victor.

Unfortunately, the advantages that led Double Take to the finale would no longer aid them in their quest to defeat Bulletproof Funk. The squad from BU was well-balanced and highly skilled, a formidable force in the fight to the top. Any power move by Rizvanov was met with more elaborate acrobatics, Le’s funk was met by something funkier and Do’s smooth moves faced impressive freezes. To judge solely on skill, Double Take seemed to have met their match. Double Take, however, seemed to be the crowd favorite, garnering more lively applause and passionate cheers, indicating Bulletproof Funk lacked something that Double Take did not. Maybe it was their musicality or maybe it was their stage presence, but it was enough to make a strong impression on the audience and influence the results.

Once the time came to determine the champion, the judges were in no hurry to come to a decision. After a long and suspenseful pause, the judges eventually ruled 2–1 in favor of Double Take and UMass Boston.

After the surprise ruling by the judges, Double Take and UMass Boston were declared victorious as the crowd erupted in jubilation. Double Take brought it home for UMass Boston. Le, Rizvanov and Do walked away with custom vinyl records as their prize and left behind an audience stunned by their accomplishment. The UMass Boston Breakers went to the jam with the goal of having fun and they left with a win because of it. For Do, he went home with “a smile the whole (bus ride)” and “winning the jam was just the cherry on top.” Double Take’s victory gave UMass Boston a total of 33 points, placing the school second behind Rutgers by only three points.

Fortunately, the champions won’t have to wait long before their next opportunity to amaze the community. Double Take and the UMass Boston Breakers are headed off to the next jam at New York University, Pass the Torch, on Nov. 18, looking to repeat their hard-earned and well-deserved success.