Two days after Thanksgiving Day 2011, hardcore b-boy fans poured into Moscow's Nikulin Circus for the annual Red Bull BC One Championship. The event is one of the largest and best-known international competitions, tagging itself the "Official Breakdance World Championship." Sixteen of the world's top b-boys traded rounds of headspins, power moves and freezes in front of an amped crowd of 2,000. Just when it appeared as if Lil G from Venezuela might take the title, or last year's champion, Neguin of Brazil, a surprise but repeat contender popped up to take home the trophy.
California native Roxrite, aka Omar Delgado, who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Diego, proved to be the best b-boy in the world that night. It had been a long road to victory. After being beaten in the finals of Red Bull BC One in 2007 and 2008 -- and not being invited back for the next three years -- Roxrite had a lot to be happy about.
Check out Roxrite's winning moves.
Born in Guadalajara and raised in the Bay Area, Roxrite was introduced to b-boying in junior high. It was 1995 and he gravitated to how different b-boying looked from everything else he saw. "It totally blew my mind and caught me," says Roxrite, referring to one performance in particular by some high school kids, "and from that day on I went to my friend's house, and we just started practicing every day." He bounced from crew to crew, most recently landing in Squadron, which travels around the world competing.
Doing windmills on the concrete or in a friend's room is one thing. Being paid to b-boy, travel the world, compete, teach, judge and perform is an entirely different level. B-boying is the term most dancers prefer to breakdancing. It mainly refers to power (acrobatic) moves, freezes (stopping motion), Toprock (standing footwork) and Downrock (footwork with hands on the floor).
In one of the back dance studios at IDA Hollywood, Roxrite is showing the recently signed Angels of Anaheim pitcher C.J. Wilson and his pals how to b-boy. Red Bull is shooting a playful promotional video using athletes from different Red Bull-supported sports. After Wilson throws down some goofy moves, Roxrite sports his instructor hat and demonstrates some of his finer b-boy skills: fast footwork, incredibly controlled freezes and a death-defying headspin. As a member of the Red Bull BC One All-Stars, Roxrite represents b-boys worldwide.
"You're there to inspire new kids," says Roxrite, who turns 30 this year. "That's the payoff. You teach these kids [how to b-boy] and five years later you see these kids traveling, too, when they didn't even think they could leave their country. It's good to be able to share the knowledge that we have in America, where [b-boying] started, and spread it worldwide. That's what it's about."
Enduring arm, should and hip injuries throughout his career, Roxrite is persistence personified. Yet his body is only part of the winning formula.
"You can become your own superhero in a way," he says about his attraction to b-boying. "It gives you an identity." Roxrite is fast and strong, embodying a more traditional style of b-boying as opposed to incorporating other types of dance in his sets. He has perfected the fundamentals of a well-rounded routine and stresses technique. And, of course, he's competitive. "This dance is a battle dance, and you're always trying to be better. It's what keeps me striving," he explains.
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In the months leading up to the Red Bull BC One Championship 2011 in Moscow, Red Bull followed three b-boys, one of which was Roxrite, as they prepared to battle. The series, titled Break'n Reality, contains six episodes and is scheduled to air on RedBull.com in June.