Taek Kim is the co-founder of Calvin’s first breakdance club, but he refuses to call himself a breakdancer.
“I’m just not at that level yet.”
He doesn’t have a breakdance name yet either. Friends of his are called “Blank” (Calvin Breakdance Club co-founder Matt Warren), “Raze” and “Christ-Like,” but he’s still waiting to discover his name.
“Your name comes with your style. Your style comes from your identity—and from practice.”
Wait. Isn’t breakdancing just breakdancing, with standard moves you learn to master?
“There’s so much freedom in breakdancing because once you learn the basic moves, there are so many ways to personalize it. You can do salsa, martial arts—you bring your knowledge and personality into it.”
Carmen Brummel, an exercise science major now studying physical therapy at Northwestern University, got inspiration for her personal style from another sport: diving.
As a diver, her signature style is based on what are called “power moves” in breakdance lingo. In other words, acrobatic moves that require lots of things developed in
diving: body awareness, strength and control. For Carmen, this means incorporating lots of handstands and “freezes” into her breakdancing.
Personal styles are most obvious when two breakdancers (or, “b-boys” and “b-girls”) compete against each other in a breakdance “battle.”
Calvin’s breakdance club hosted two of these battles in its first year. The first competition was so crowded that people were turned away at the door.
The second battle, called a 2x2 battle, drew 29 teams of two from around Michigan and moved to one of Calvin’s gyms in the Van Noord Arena to fit the hundreds of people who showed up for the event.
For Taek, the 2x2 helped him figure out exactly what he loves about breakdancing.
“It really breaks down barriers and stereotypes between people. Girls and guys compete against each other, kids compete—I even competed against some people who don’t speak English. Basically, it’s not about hierarchy, it’s just about how hard you try out there.”