Kulture by Conrad Hoyt October 8, 2020
Red Bull BC One E-Battle, the most prestigious, virtual global breaking competition in the world, is hosting its first live battle for 2020 on October 10.
The top 16 breakers (otherwise known as b-boys and b-girls) from all across the world are set to compete, and a virtual stage with a DJ, and host, and judges will decide after each battle who will advance to the next round.
U.S. based competitors Brianna McMillen (aka Snap1) and Jeremy Ives Viray (aka Icey Ives) are two fierce challengers looking to make a splash at the event this weekend. Both hail from Anchorage Alaska, and both have competed at Red Bull’s BC One Battle before.
We had the pleasure to speak with both of them about their crafts and the upcoming competition.
KH: From a dancer standpoint, what was it like growing up largely training around just boys? Do you think that has affected your style and approach?
Snap1: Up until about 2012/13 I really only did train and compete with just b-boys. Now I get to compete with b-girls which to me is awesome because it’s now a similar playing field. But, absolutely it has affected my dancing style.
I don’t dance like most females. I have a lot of powerful and explosive movements because I had to compete with men and stay somewhat at their level. Also mentally, it’s toughened me up too. Naturally, men tend to be more aggressive. And I’m a female (with a lot to prove). Therefore, I’ve developed an aggressive mentality and style, which aides me well in battles.
KH: You said before, “My biggest goal with breaking is to inspire others, that no matter where you come from (whether there be a lack of hip-hop scene or mentors) you can still go really far in breaking by changing your mindset…”
What did you specifically mean by “changing your mindset?” What does it take from a mental standpoint to get in the zone you need to be in to be successful?
Snap1: By changing your mindset I mean a few things. First and foremost, never be satisfied with yourself, (pat yourself on the back and reflect on accomplishments for sure). However, I always remind myself there is always someone better, faster, stronger, smarter. So never stop improving yourself.
Second, don’t allow, or even give yourself the choice, to NOT train. Rest is key, listen to your body, but the times when things are the most difficult is where real progression is made. I wake up sometimes not wanting to train. But I trained my mindset that’s it’s just not an option, until my body tells me it’s seriously time to back off. And trust me, my body is trained to take a lot, so it takes my body about day 5 or 6 in the week of training twice a day to finally say “ok, it’s time to recover.” The mentality I have learned as well is to push beyond limits.
And third, as cliche as it may sound, there are no excuses. I could blame some of my shortcomings on not having a huge hip hop scene here, being a female not naturally as strong as a man, having to spend so much money on airfare, taking time off from my full time job, life’s too busy to train, etc. But going back to my first point, it is not an option to NOT train to become the best I can in this dance. And that’s precisely why I wake up at 3am now to train at 4am. Because I have a demanding full time job, adult responsibilities, and a family to take care of.
KH: So you’ve competed at the Red Bull BC One E-Battle before. What is different about this time in your approach and vision?
Snap1: Last year I made top 8. This year is obviously different because top 16 is now live. I honestly do not prefer online battles because the energy of a live crowd and opponent isn’t there. However, what online battles and classes does give me is what I’ve lacked this whole time, the ability to connect on a larger scale.
Though I don’t use it as an excuse, the fact is Alaska is far. It’s expensive to travel and takes much more time. For example to get to the East coast of the United States I’m looking at $500-$700 easy and at least a WHOLE day just to travel there. Back to the battle, I’m excited it’s live, however still nervous because my style of aggression, power, and blow ups is sometimes hard to portray them same affect online.
And of course my room I dance in isn’t exactly huge (hence the hole in my wall). But this time around, even though I am facing a lot of pressure being the only US b-girl, I’m proud to have just made it this far and I just want to use this platform to show the world what I got.
KH: What does it mean to you that breaking is soon to be an Olympic event?
Snap1: As far as breaking in the Olympics, I know there’s certainly split opinions about it. And I respect those who aren’t for it. I personally cannot be more thrilled. Being an athlete my whole life, it’s been my #1 dream to be an Olympian. To be that is the highest honor for an athlete. It is currently my number 1 goal and I hope to be a part of the US Olympic team. To me being an Olympian is more than having the skill. It’s also about having the professionalism and the work ethic. As I always say, I may not be the best, but I promise I’ll be the hardest working. And I think that shows in how I train and dance.
KH: What did it mean to be crowned the Red Bull US National Champion in 2019, and how do you try to carry that success over to the Red Bull BC One E-Battle this year?
Icey Ives: At the time it honestly meant everything. All my hard work and dedication paid off and in winning that, [it] gave me many opportunities for the year. Carrying that to the Red Bull BC One E-battle… I honestly don’t have the same fire as if I am approaching a real battle just because it is online, but I am glad I can support, represent and overall just here to have fun.
KH: How do you approach your craft, or each individual set, creatively? What mixture of physical and mental acuity does it take to hone in on a routine you feel confident about?
Icey Ives: My craft 100% has to come from an authentic place. I love free styling and coming up with movements on the spot but also adding signature moves in between. As long as I know I am listening to the music and pouring out my 110% then I feel good about myself.
KH: You’ve mentioned before how music is the main foundation to the breaking. What do you pick up on specifically when you hear/choose a track, and how do you try and tailor your routine specifically to that?
Icey Ives: I let the music guide me and dictate how my vibe is depending on the intensity of the track. I usually just simply go for the drums (kick and snare) to not overwhelm myself since a lot goes on with music, so overall simplicity is key for me.
Having success in past Red Bull competitions does not mean that success will carry over here. Success dies in complacency, and Snap1 and Icey Ives know this all too well.
They have also both worked so hard to get to this point. The biggest breaking competition in the world, the most talented competition, the highest stakes with breaking in the Olympics approaching… these two Anchorage natives are gearing up for possibly the biggest moment in their lives.
Stay tuned for the link to watch these two superstars perform.