At The Union, we love hearing about and sharing students’ success stories.
Recently, the Breakdance Society went down to Coventry for the 'Step & Style Vol.1' jam, where they battled against eight other universities to win first place.
We spoke to Tan Reuel, first year Physiotherapy, to find out more about the society and what they have planned for the rest of 2017.
Tell us a little bit about the society
It’s been running for two years now, and it’s been tough but we are slowly growing towards our goals. During the first year, Fred, our founder, saw break-dancers training at Manchester Piccadilly train station and spoke to them. He decided to set up a society so we could all train together in a nicer environment, and then reach out to students. When I took over as Chair, I wanted to have more structure, and the members wanted something more out of the scene, not just a place to train and make friends. Slowly we became the central hub of the Manchester break scene, where everybody works together to learn, teach, socialise and grow. We train in The Union on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, after office hours, so people can come in and help us out, with Wednesdays being our open day for beginners to learn.
What events have you taken part in this year?
As you know, we recently attended a competition in Coventry and won! The event was hosted by University of Warwick Breakdance Society, and was the first edition of the Step and Style jam. They had an open category, 2 vs 2, and then they had a university crew battle, so all our students attended that. There were eight universities, who all had to battle each other for seven minutes, and after that, the judges decide who makes it to the top four, who then go on to the knockout stage. We made it into the semi-finals by a 3-0 decision, and then we won the final. It was the first kind of this event, so we won a couple of t-shirts, not any massive prizes, but it was still a good experience.
This year was a learning process, a lot of trial and error, but we have worked out an infrastructure for next year. We are going to have a proper instructor; he’s actually pretty famous in the UK. He’s an international b-boy that flies all over to judge, at the moment he’s in Singapore, as he got invited there to battle. Three days ago, he was in Tel Aviv judging a competition, so having him here to teach would be really good. That’s our plan, to build good structure for new people to come in, and actually learn from someone they can search on YouTube, find videos of him and get inspired.
In the coming week, we are planning to head to Newcastle for ‘Unichamps’, representing the society again. We are also trying to set up more smaller jams and friendly competitions between other neighbouring universities.
What else has the society been up to?
We did the mannequin challenge in November last year, just for a bit of fun, like an icebreaker event as it was quite early on in the semester. It turned out better than we initially expected and it’s reached 2.9k views so far! After that, we did another training video, and we are hopefully planning to do another one soon outdoors as the weather gets better, maybe closer to the Easter break. For the rest of 2017, we plan to drop one or two more videos to promote the society, and to build an infrastructure for the next academic year.
Finally, what would you say to anyone interested in joining the society?
It’s tough, but there are a lot of benefits to it because you learn how to dance and you gain a lot more confidence outside of breakdancing too. I started from scratch just last year, so anyone can start, and outside of breakdancing, I feel a lot more confident in my daily life. It changes the way you think about things, the people you meet are great and as a society, nobody tears you down. The inspiration is to create a community where new dancers are encouraged to start and learn about the culture! The society and people in Manchester are really great, and all the beginners were able to pick it up, so I would say if you did want to start breakdancing, here would be the best place to start.
If you want to learn more or join the society, check out their page or their Facebook group.