The 17th annual International Breakdance Event (IBE), more commonly known as “The Notorious IBE” was held in Heerlen, south of Holland on the weekend of 4-6th August 2017. This is an event that needs no introduction amongst the Hip Hop and especially the Breaking community. It has indeed become notorious for all the right reasons. Many of us coming into the game in the early 2000s would’ve grown up watching the legendary All vs All battles, immortalising those dancers, DJ’s, MC’s, and the spectacle of it for the rest of time. So much so, that to travel to IBE is somewhat of a pilgrimage that every bboy and bgirl feels the desire to satisfy. Yet all this time, I had not yet been! Over the last few years, my focus has been on my own competitive dance training, DJing, teaching my workshop series and hosting jams.
I had not yet committed to getting myself to an international event of this caliber. But then two things changed:
- I picked up a serious knee injury in December 2016, forcing me to focus on my recovery rehabilitation process and giving me focus to get back to training for Breaking fitness. Fit enough to even consider starting to compete again. Fit for Battling 😉
- My #Fit4Battlin workshop series and my articles on ByBase’s Fitbase section caught the interest of the IBE event hosts. They saw something of value to be added to the event program and that meant that I was officially invited to be a contributor at the IBE 2017! Now I really had to go!!
Plans were quickly made to coordinate the dates with some other travels I was doing in the region, as well as a few other South African bboys and bgirls who made plans to meet there and represent SA in a big way. This was not the first time that SA was going to be at IBE, but it would be the biggest group of us together in the history of SA at IBE. The crew consisted of: Courtnae Paul; BBoy the Curse; Sonja Soul footwork; Eezzy Issh; Genetics, Vouks and myself. We also had Shaquille and Tanswell of Heal the Hood travelling to the event.
Day 1, Friday 4th August: STAR STRUCK!!!
We were all arriving from different ends of Europe, along with the rest of the Breaking world. Slowly, the small town of Heerlen was filling up with dancers, DJs, promoters and fans of the culture. Warm-up cyphers and practice areas were setup, along with a mini soccer tournament. Those who were just wanting to chill and connect were found eating and drinking at the bars and restaurants at the town centre. The evening ended with the official Pre-party at Café Bracke, where we got a taste of what the weekend would be like: FUN. DJ’s CrosOne, Hooch, Lean Rock and others kept the party rocking. To be honest, meeting international Breakers, legends, world famous DJs and much more had me feeling a little star struck. We eventually got to bed later that night, needing the energy for the weekend ahead.
Day 2 and 3: PREPARE FOR THE CULTURE SHOCK!!!
We all knew about the size of this event, its history & the standard it has set, but until you are there in the flesh, you realise that all the detail in this article can’t describe it well enough. The culture shock was seeing so many people from all over the world and the grand scale of this event. The entire program was jam packed with events for all tastes. All the streetdance genres were represented on different stages. There were also cyphers with DJs playing a non-stop mix of jams in chill and practice areas.
The festival saw:
- 200+ Undisputed Solo entrants
- 200+ crews for Freestyle Session qualifier
- Red Bull BC One Holland cypher final
- Red Bull BC One Allstars vs 7 World Allstars
- House battles
- Locking battles
- Breakdown the House battles (House & Breaking 2on2s mixed)
- Bonnie & Clyde Allstyles 2on2s (boy/girl mixed team)
- Live funk bands
- Hip Hop battles topstyles
- Cyphers all day long
- A massive contingent of the next generation of dancers hungry to cypher and battle
- Workshops in all styles
- Discussion panels
- Hip Hop culture clothing and gear stores
- Some of the hottest DJs
South Africa represented in the Bonnie and Clyde battles with (The Curse + Courtnae and Eezzy Issh + Nadine). The Footwork battles (Bear; Genetics). The Undisputed 1v1 qualifier (The Curse; Eezzy Issh). In the Freestyle Session crew battles (Bear, Curse, Courtnae, Genetics and Eezzy Issh repped hard against Speedy Angels from Venezuela!!!)
Even Tyrone (host of IBE) commented during the battle regarding SA’s presence and performance by saying, “This is the first time an SA crew is representing. Was nice to see you guys against Venezuela. Super International.”
To top it all off -> FUN WAS THE FOCUS. There was always a pre-party and an afterparty, tons of laughs and tons of chilling. I had lost my voice by day 2 from all the talking, shouting, laughing and screaming like a fan boy for the dope music and dancers. Meeting and hanging out with Poe One, Crazy Legs, Focus, Swifty, Tyrone, Lean Rock, Cros One, Renegade was a huge highlight for me, but I could hardly talk because I lost my voice hahaha.
I can’t even begin to describe how mind blowing and perspective expanding it was. It will change your approach to this culture forever.
It was particularly special for me, as it was my first time attending after all these years in the game and because of my contributions towards the festival through workshops and talk shows. It was truly special being there with my crew, friends and family as well as making new friends and family. I often found myself just thinking how surreal it all was – IBE EVEN ME!!
So, what to do?
You’ve gotta be there next year, you’ve gotta be out to more of these festivals too AND we need to create our own festivals of this standard here in SA that draws people to our beautiful country, to our beautiful people and to help us connect with the global fam. It’s one of the keys to growth. It’s expensive either way, but what is this culture worth to you? It’s a huge part of my life, and being there was a real question for me to face about how I would follow through on being at more of these jams in the future. I can’t wait!!
See you next year. And much sooner
With Love, BEAR
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