I summarize my entire 2012 year with this picture. The cypher was where I found what Hip Hop really meant for me. The floor, with all its grime and filth, built me to be the dancer that I am. There were nights after performing in Vegas where all I wanted to do was go to Insert Coin(s) Bar. I would go, grab my drinks, buzz myself up, then get down because the DJ’s there just knew how to rock a party. With the sounds, I immersed myself in the dimly lit space and liberated all my thoughts of who I am. I became a mover, a waveform with the music. I didn’t care. There was nothing to be sad about, to be angry about, or even to be happy about. Its a drive, a reaction to something deep down inside and had my legs moving. I would throw down and dance so hard that when my round finished, I’d be kneeling on the floor, huffing and puffing, but smiling because it was all that was joy in its purest form.
The first jam I went to was all Hip Hop based. Hot Monkey Love Cafe was the spot, MC’s were getting busy on the mic and there were only two people getting down in a cypher - Me and another Bboy. I was around 15 years old at the time. I am 24 now. The moment above just locks itself in some dimension for me to unite with overtime I go down and break.
This year was my roughest year that I remember. I can only compare it to when I was 17 and going through a lot of stress handling responsibilities for myself and other loved ones. I put so much pressure on myself and was able to grind through that year. It was full of dancing, schooling, and handling whatever I could at home or at my Mother’s shop. 7 years later, I found myself in a place that upped itself in magnitude. So many transitions occurred this year.
I moved to Las Vegas in 2011, but it was 2012 where I found a breaking point. As some of you may know, I pursued dancing professionally with Jabbawockeez MUS.I.C LLC. I performed in their show in Vegas doing solos, routines, acrobatics, and a little bit of comedic skit acting. It was an amazing experience. Performing for thousands upon thousands of families, couples, and drunk people who paid their money to watch this iconic dance crew perform. That kind of dancing on stage was something I always wanted to do, to be a performer on stage, I accomplished a dream. As a note though, I am NOT a Jabbawockee nor will I ever claim to be. Those are my boys, my family, but I will not take credit for all their amazing work. I danced for them and was part of their company. Damn it was dope.
Living there for a few months in 2012, I noticed a similarity of living that I had when I lived in the Bay Area. I desired something that I couldn’t figure out. I felt empty, always have from time to time. It wasn’t only the environment but it was something with me. I fell into a lot of bad luck, or maybe it was just unfortunate happenings in Vegas that made me decide that I had to leave. It became clear to me that I needed to go back and help out my family again. It became clear to me that I needed to represent myself as a Bboy and my crew The Calamities. 2012 was the year of The Dragon. It was my year. I set myself out on a journey again to put my craft out there.
I battled A LOT this year. It was my busiest year as well as my biggest year for Breaking in terms of challenges. I started off with an exhibition battle in January with Ja-Soul from Battle Born. Dope Battle. From there though, everything sped up. Jams just kept popping up and usually I don’t want to saturate myself and enter all these events but I trained really hard leading up to 2012 and it was time I put it out there. I was nominated by Rox Rite to do the BC One San Diego Cyphers. This was a first huge step in the league of international competition. I wanted to so bad to go overseas. I see myself as a battle Bboy that can do well in both crew battles and solo comps, but I found a lot of my rhythm in solo battles. I think that is where I like my groove the best only because I have only me to fight with, and I am accountable for myself. I came up short, losing in the Semi’s to Villn. It was an awesome experience to be in that setting though. I think I will see more of it in the coming years.
But this year, I had a lot more losses at jams than I did in victories. I recall winning The Bug Out in San Diego, Schools for Fools with Berzerkeley, and Battle Born Anniversary in Vegas. Two very hard fought jams that ended up with good 1st place wins. I lost a lot though, and it got to me. I wanted to figure out what the fuck was wrong. I had to find my errors. This was not because I wanted to win. It was because I needed to be able to express myself completely and I felt that these losses signified that I had a lot more work to do. I care about being a dancer, and complete dancer. This does not mean I have to get every move ever created. Being complete to me is understanding the essence of a dance and learning the craft so well that I can create ideas, feelings, story, and fire with ease. I always wanted to learn for the sake of this. I feel it was a terrible mistake to learn this dance and this culture only to want to win a battle at a jam. To me, that is not the path to go. I can want to win my battles, but these battles are ones with a true testament of self in combat with the persons or people in front of you. Those are the truest battles to me. So when I came up short at a jam, it was back to training, back to figuring stuff out.
The cyphers though, man…they are lovely. Absolutely. I danced in cyphers with so many people this year. Battled a couple of kats along the way, and that ignites a light inside. I love battles that are raw and that’s what I got. That’s what I give back. No buddy buddy bull shit, no “let’s be happy shit”, the cypher was very meditative so I took out all emotions except instinct and intellect of battle feel. When it came to just getting down though, of course you found me smiling.
I also am very happy to know that we battled in family kats into The Calamities. We battled people who put in the work and was family with us for many years. They were patient, they stuck with it. It was a blessing to have new members battle in during our 10 Year Anniversary. We threw a jam and it was a great success to welcome people into the gang. We are 12 members strong and will be training hard to strengthen the crew. My crew is still going after all these years. Glad I get to battle alongside them as one unit.
This year marked my transition of going back to San Diego and pursuing a career in the science world. After moving back in May, I was jobless for the whole summer looking for employment. During that time, I had a blast enjoying one of the best summers of my life. I never enjoyed the beach the way I did this year, it was most likely because I was living in a desert paradise aka Sin City. So while I was grinding hard trying to get money, I was out in the beach enjoying the water and the sun. Two contrasting things. I think my life is embedding in contrast. Anyway, I was in debt, still am in debt. School Loans, Bill Loans, Car Loans, living stuff. All of this was my choice though, so I blame no one for the choices I make. I still had to find a way to break even though. I finally started a job in September as a temp worker, being an Engineering Technician. Finally, in December, I was given news that they would hire me permanently. A satisfaction never felt before hit me. I will become an Engineer in late January working for a company that I feel is really trying to make shit happen in this world. I will be the first of my family to do this, it might be a small step for some, but it is a huge one for me. All these years of toil living the immigrant life of working and this is an advancement that I am thankful for. I look forward to next year as I will be able to break even and support my family like I always wanted to. It left me sleepless at night when I knew I wasn’t able to, I have this chance now.
Which leads me to another reflection that I feel artist, mainly Bboys / Bgirls, have to think about. The way I see my life, I react. My choices in my life have been from reacting and making big decisions about what I needed to do for my family growing up. These were also reactions to learning, dancing, and writing poetry - all conglomerates of my art life. These reactions lead me to believe that I must sacrifice hours of my day to get the kind of liberation that I want. I can’t walk away from my responsibilities that I set. I have to make money to help out my fam. Once I know it’s stable, I can do whatever the fuck I want. It is that kind of financial freedom I am fighting for. I don’t believe this is the golden way to do things, it is simply the one I chose for the time being. I realized that I will not get my opportunities handed to me. No one is going to fly me out to battle in their country just because they feel like it. I gotta pay my dues, and I’m still paying my dues. Repping to get myself out there, but also for the love of Hip Hop, supporting whatever functions I can. I cannot do any of this shit if I’m broke as fuck. To alleviate those things, I work. I am on my 9-5 grind so I can keep tabs on my finances so I can fly myself around and do these jams, hit these cyphers, dance and vibe with people. I do it this way because I know it is a freedom that I worked hard for and did myself. So in order for me to all of this, I gotta make use of my other half, the physicist half, to make things work. It is all for love. I love this dance, I love the culture, I love my family, I gotta make these sacrifices. In the end, I know that do a lot of my work by myself. I don’t always like operating alone, but I know that I get a lot done when I’m lone wolfing it. I gotta do all these things for the ones I care for, in order open up some wolf time for me to do what I want to do.
I look back at this year and think about all the crazy events. I was able to enjoy life as well as experience true harsh realities of life. I drift onward, never wanting to plan for the future, but always staying disciplined and focus in order to react and make the best decisions at that moment. I only hope that it gets better in 2013. 2012 was also a year of many marriages attended…and many funerals. A lot of people got married this year, as well as people who passed away. I want to give my blessings to both parties as they are parts of our lives. It was very interesting how both went back to back in some months. It also made me realize two things.
1) Ah Damn Man, people wonder when I will get married. I’m around the age for that kind of talk. Shit though man! A lot of crazy girls out there, a lot of headaches!
2) I will fight and remind myself always that I can’t take my life for granted as well as the lives of my loved ones.
Bonus 3) Fuck man a lot of crazy girls out there.
I hope that 2013 is a great year for everyone. We can all say good bye to 2012. It was lovely, it was harsh, grind on folks.
I go back to the picture above. After all is said and done, my night completed knowing I became timeless in that cypher. That moment embeds itself in the cyphers I take upon my life, in all its glory, in all its grind, in all its love.
11 Years of Breaking and still going.
~ Lance La Rock
Highlight Footage of this Year:
Round Midnight 2012 Kick Off Solo Concept Video
The Calamities vs Freakshow - battled with my Brother Eranetik, always an awesome thing.
Winning Schools for Fools, this was the second time we won and it was super hype
All my battles at Red Bull BC One San Diego Cyphers, Here’s my Top 16 Battle. Watch more on my channel or StrifeTv
Battle Born Anniversary, all my battles are on www.youtube.com/bboylancer17
Here’s the final battle
R16 North America Qualifiers -When I battled with Battle Born against Renegades
When Me and Omeed (Body Poets) battled Larry from Les Twin and Bail Rock from RSC
Prove Me Wrong, Solo 80’s training Montage hehe
StrifeTv + Coup Street Interview Promo
Battling with my boy Shyism for the first time in a Two on Two Battle - versus Skill Methodz
Our Crew’s Concept Choreography Video titled “Mercy”
Collaborating with Vinh in his Concept Video titled “Fakin’”
Battling in people into the crew. My family
Lastly, Me and My Brother’s recap dancing of 2012