BREAK! HUNGER, a charity event organized by the Vietnamese Student Association of UMass Lowell, took place at Cumnock Hall on Saturday. This charity fundraiser for The Walk for Hunger was Umass Lowell’s first B-boy competition, with 21 break dancing crews showing their dance moves. Between 150 and 200 dancers and audience members attended the event. The Vietnamese Student Association
raised $700 from this event and $400 from a walk, for a total of $1100.
Derek Huynh, Vice President of the Vietnamese Student Association, said the idea for the event started in the summer of 2010 at an executive board retreat. He wanted to put on an event that UMass Lowell had never done before. Since he knew a few people who were trying to bring a break dancing team back, he thought this would be a good way to help them as well as bring together the public and UML students.
Huynh comes from the popping scene, where popping is a dancing style often confused with break dancing. At the event, there were both poppers and B-boys. He said, “Many B-boy crews back in the day had poppers and some B-boys popped…they came from the same neighborhood…they came from the same style and I wanted to bring that out.”
He chose The Walk for Hunger because he had participated in that event for three years and liked how the non-profit organizes many participants for its events. He had seen “break for cancer” events in the past, but never had seen “break for hunger” events, inspiring him to put one on. He thought that a perception exists about some organizations at UMass Lowell not doing much to contribute to the community, so events like these are a great step toward disproving that notion.
Huynh said, “Honestly I felt amazed it turned out the way it did…I felt honored to have so many people come down and participate in my event.”
The biggest challenge of the event was UMass Lowell’s policy on admitting people under age 18 to events. Many B-boy crews had members under that age and Huynh said that it would be unfortunate if those members could not attend because they are the future of B-boying. He eventually worked out an agreement with the school so that B-boys under 18 could participate in supporting their teams but not compete.
These crews from all around the Lowell and Boston area had interesting names: Problemz Kru, Lawtown Assassins, Krazy Legion, Ace Legion, 1st Infantry, Kuda Air Max, UniverSOUL, Straw Hat Pirates, 2 Swift Chicks and 1 Orphan, Orphanage Cru, Red Devils and 1 Cambodian, Area 69, Bogey Breaks, 3-Dimensional, Hunger Crew, Dangerous Styles Crew, WTJ, Funk Skuad, Krazy 88′s, Heroes of Neworth, and Soul Step.
The final battle took place between Problemz Kru and Lawtown Assassins, but in the end, Problemz Kru showed some better dancing moves and won the competition with a cash prize of $300, not to mention the respect of the other crews. Huynh is looking to make Break! Hunger an annual event and grow it so that it has more participants and audience members. He would like to raise more money at next year’s event and make the cash prize larger to attract more groups. Next year’s event will also determine if Problemz Kru can keep its Break! Hunger title.