Stop, Pop and Roll

The Furious Styles Crew, Arizona's preeminent break-dancing crew, knows how to throw a birthday party. This year is the 10th anniversary of the crew's inception -- and the seventh year it has celebrated with an anniversary party.

"For the 10th year, we wanted to really make it as involved as possible," says B-boy House, the crew's de facto leader. In that, they've succeeded; the event kicks off with a pre-party at Fate on Friday, November 7, where graffiti battles and live painting begin in the late afternoon. On Saturday, November 8, and Sunday, November 9, the main event pops off at the Arthur Murray Studio on Indian School. A Sunday-night after-party will be held at a to-be-determined location, and workshops continue into next week.

The Furious Styles anniversaries always attract hip-hop luminaries. Crazy Legs, Alieness, Mr. Freeze and DJ Ervin from the Bronx's legendary Rock Steady Crew will be on hand, as will top breakers, poppers and graffiti writers from across the country. The event will feature crew battles, individual battles, poppin' battles and b-girl battles, as well as graffiti battles -- all with cash prizes.

Sound like a lot of battling? It's much more than that. Alieness, Terry Wright from NYC's Mop Tops, and StuntMAN from L.A.'s Style Elements Crew will teach break-dancing workshops throughout the weekend. Crews including Furious Styles, Future Styles, Arizona All Stars, Bgirlology and others will perform routines, including some that incorporate more traditional forms of dance.

"A lot of us work at dance studios around town," House says, "and the purpose of the whole thing is to educate people and to bridge the gap between the studio world and the street world."

Furious Styles grew out of the Styles Upon Styles graffiti crew 10 years ago; the core of the crew is B-boy House, B-boy Rehab and B-boy Ugly, all of whom will be reunited at the anniversary. Current Furious Styles dancers include Denote, Anywhere, Miracles, Evade, Lr, Cricket, Atome, Define and B-girl Stride.

For the uninitiated who think hip-hop is Ja Rule and Eminem, the event will be a lesson on hip-hop's four elements: the DJ, the MC, the B-boy, and the graffiti writer. Break-dancing disappeared from the public's radar in the '80s, but it continues to thrive underground, as demonstrated by events like the Furious Styles anniversary. Last year's event attracted around 500 people; this year, House expects more. "We're gonna get a lot of people here in Arizona that wouldn't be here ordinarily."

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Brendan Joel Kelley