September 30, 2023

FALLINGFILM

Make Some Fun

EPIC JAM by EPIC and Hip Hopera Basis | overview

4 min read

Phrases by Tom Cherrie. Tom is on our Visitor Writers growth programme which is supported by Arts Council England.

Climbing the steps of Peckham Ranges I discover the partitions buzzing increasingly each step. By the fifth ground, the tectonic rumble of Increase Bap Hip-Hop, funk, soul and breakbeats swallows me up. Individuals gathered in sporadic circles elevate their arms to the fast scramble of the MC’s freestyle. To the facet, graffiti artists throw up tags on canvases or cling movie draped throughout some fencing. There are even market stalls promoting classic data and customised denim jackets. All these components carry collectively EPIC Jam, a group celebration of Breakin’ and Hip-Hop tradition.

EPIC is an acronym for Each Individual Is Succesful, which is the heartbeat philosophy of the occasion. After arriving, I’ve not been requested to sit down, browse the present’s programme and wait quietly for the home lights to dim. Instantly I’m immersed within the bustling power of all these transferring components. There is no such thing as a such factor as passive viewing at a Hip-Hop Jam like this.

The primary components of any Jam are the DJs and the dancing, the concord of the 2 ensuing within the cypher. The ‘cypher’ is a circle that’s open for individuals to take turns dancing in, however past definition, it’s far more than this. It turns into its personal world, every cypher has its personal ecosystem. Breakers maintain conversations right here. One second they are going to be hyping one another as much as a tune they love. They are going to share the house freely and encourage these with much less expertise to hitch in. However this could possibly be disrupted the subsequent second when one dancer, with a sign so simple as some extent, will name one other out to trade in a battle. That is the place individuals can get smoked, though it’s not essentially at all times a fierce rivalry, extra typically a pleasant problem.

I really feel just like the host of a nature documentary, I come into contact with all types of species watching the EPIC cyphers go off. Some are musically pushed, they concentrate on each accent of the music and methods to illustrate it. Their instinct is surprisingly enjoyable. Others are extra acrobatic; they leap from one hand to a different, then crash down onto their backs earlier than popping up onto their head spinning. Typically I’m wondering how they survive it. There are additionally these with a much less conventional method to Breakin’, who’ve their very own interpretations of the foundations of the dance. They could float like a cloud earlier than crossing the ground like squid, then hit a freeze like M.C Escher’s illusionary staircases.

There is no such thing as a one approach to Break. Watching, I discover my affinity for some dancers stronger than others. That is Hip-Hop; the model which one embodies is the echo of their character. Every particular person’s distinctive qualities make the Jam so compelling to navigate. It’s additionally essential to notice the encouragement the cypher affords. There is no such thing as a licence wanted to hitch in, simply the love to bop and the braveness to commit. 

The day ends in a battle. 4 dancers from throughout the day are picked by a secret choose to compete in a call-out cypher, the place the 4 people battle to music by the funk band EOTO. These moments are the place we see the actual artwork of Breakin’ come to life. It isn’t merely a sport of one-upmanship, however a call-and-response problem. Dancers have to be intuitive, understanding methods to concurrently reply to the earlier dancer, play to the gang, and execute their very own signature strikes – all while being fully influenced and in contact with the music. B-boy Sure Kev’s animated model took the win of the occasion. Whereas his fast footwork might match the band’s depth, his playful misdirection stored subverting expectations and delighting the gang.

The expertise of EPIC Jam embodies the core values of Hip-Hop: within the well-known phrases of American DJ Afrika Bambaataa; ‘’Peace, love, unity and having enjoyable!’’ The significance of this occasion’s place within the scene is essential; 2024 will see Breakin’ be launched into the Olympics, additional projecting it right into a worldwide phenomenon. This carries the danger of overshadowing some components of the tradition many contemplate essential (comparable to cyphering). Qualifiers main as much as the Olympic video games have been held by WDSF (World Dance Sport Federation). Like most massive competitions, WDSF constructions its occasions in a knockout-style competitors; beginning with a round-robin after which transferring on to elimination battles. The scene is seeing fewer occasions formatted like EPIC Jam, which assumes the model of a celebration. It’s essential in a time of quickly evolving company tradition, that there’s nonetheless initiative to carry down the cypher for the group.

The air of spontaneity, the sound of genuine Funk and Hip-Hop, and the varied, optimistic collective of individuals are what made EPIC Jam an expertise I wish to return to time and again. Possibly subsequent time I’ll catch you there, simply don’t name me out to battle, or they’ll should name the fireplace brigade.

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