A Bboy – Persistence Rough Draft

An art in itself, a dancer. Telling a story while moving with such detail on the floor. A break dancer, a bboy, a culture part of the four elements of hip-hop. Which are Djing, emcee, graffiti, and breaking/bboying. I’m a bboy and been dancing since I was about 16 years old in the year 2005. So it’s been about nine years now and I definitely have a love for what I do. Something sparked inside me when I first seen it at a community event called “3rd eye open summer jam.” Immediately I wanted to be one of those guys doing these movements that seemed impossible at the time. I wanted to be a apart of such an underground culture and one day be called a bboy.

There wasn’t anyone at the time to teach me or even dance studios around that had break dancing classes so I can learn. Until I remembered my uncle who had told me before that he knew a thing or two about it when he lived in California. I asked him to show me the most basic move which was called a “six step.” I took time out of my day, almost everyday to practice this movement. At home, in my small not very spacious bedroom or at school. My uncle even let me borrow some VHS tapes at the time. I continued to watch it over and over. Practicing what I had seen in the videos. I felt like a sponge just soaking everything in. Evolving more and more to become a better dancer.

I started finding other students in school who also had the same interest as me. We began practicing together, finding places where we can dance. My training picked up and it started to show. The countless hours of practicing to perfect one move or even get close to it. All that training to create rounds that lasted for :30-:40 seconds for jams or competitions.  Always coming up with new moves or something that has never been seen before. Finding inspiration in different styles of dance or even dancing to different genres of music. Then when Youtube exploded onto social media it motivated me even more seeing how others thousands and thousands miles away knew about the bboy culture. What started here in the US has definitely made its way all over the world.

Now there are definitely downsides to break dancing. I mean it’s called “break dancing” for a reason. Throughout my nine years of dancing I have endured many injuries. Popping my shoulder or elbow out of place.Hurting my neck by doing a move wrong.  Having to let myself heal properly and stop dancing for long periods of time. It definitely frustrated me to the point where I asked myself ,” Why Am I still doing this?” Even my parents never understood why I kept dancing. Saying stuff like,”You’re always hurting yourself” or ” You’re not getting anywhere with it so you should just stop.” That kind of negativity did hold me back from continuing to dance for awhile. I then seriously began to have withdrawals from not being able to dance. It was and still is my addiction. I couldn’t let what others say ruin my passion for bboying and so I never questioned myself again.

After years of traveling to different cities to compete in different jams I finally felt I belonged in this beautiful underground culture. Something I longed for ever since I began to even enter jams was to gain the respect from fellow bboys. Trying to impress them. Showing them how I’m different from others and that I will give them a run for their money if they were put up against me in the competition. Even though I haven’t won many jams, I felt I still stayed true to myself. Never trying to follow others or learn something just because everyone else is doing it. It just made me more determined to go back and practice even harder so that the next even I can show more of what I got. If I put my mind to it I will become a better. And because of that I earned the respect from my peers and can say that they definitely earned mine.

I haven’t been able to go to many competitions lately but that doesn’t stop me from dancing and training hard. I continue to do what I love with others that also have that same love for it. My dance crew Swift Characterz who I can honestly say is like my second family. We make each other better even on our worst days. Striving for the same goal and will continue until we achieve that goal.

A video made from a few years back with fellow crew mates. Don’t mind the half gray screen. Hope you enjoy it.


  1. Wow, Pheaktra, this is an amazing rough draft! I was completely interested from beginning to end and I think you did a great job building your narrative and showing how you needed to persist through different obstacles.
    I think your passion for bboying shines throughout the essay and your attitude is amazing!
    I think your rough draft is very well organized. I’ve now reread it a couple times looking for some critique I can give you but not much stands out as far as substance. I wouldn’t mind if you gave more information in certain cases but then I wonder if that would take away from the aim of the memoir and the overall flow of the piece. The pacing and forward momentum is so well balanced and I love how you’re able to feel at home bboying by the end.
    If I have anything to suggest at this point in the editing process is that maybe you could rework the second to last paragraph a little bit. I think the first sentence is a great conclusion paragraph intro, and the body of the paragraph could come earlier in the piece, but again this is your work. I can’t wait to see the final draft!!!

  2. This is a great topic to write about–I’m always interested to read about something I’m not too familiar with (and a nice touch to add the video!)

    If it weren’t for the title, I wouldn’t be quite sure which one of CC or P it’s meant to illustrate though. It could be any of the three, but you should establish one, and then select details/description that support that main focus. (So if you were writing about persistence, you’d emphasize all the practice required; for creativity, the different types of moves you may have designed; for curiosity, your process of learning about and joining this subculture.)

    Especially because you know this subculture so well, I’d like to see it more clearly and vividly here. You make a lot of general points about bboy-hood (“Finding inspiration in different styles of dance or even dancing to different genres of music”), but you could *show* us this by bringing us into a particular practice session. You could even narrow your time frame more and just show us what a jam is like–by describing a particular one and showing us the inside view. As Ken says, you clearly *tell* us your passion, but I’d like you to *show* us. Where are you, who’s there, what happened, how does it work, who won and how is/was that decided? Tell it like a story.

    (However, if you’re writing about persistence, you’ll probably need to take a longer time frame. but here, give us some moments of practice, etc. not the summary-view.)

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