B-boys Spin and Ajay say the form is battle and not dance. They are part of the London based b-boy group Soul Mavericks Crew

There’s rage, a lot of it, followed by that aggressive bad-boy attitude. Their expressions are intense as they flip, freeze and jump menacingly, and yet there’s a certain elegance and style in what Spin and Ajay do. But off the dance floor, the two b-boy dancers are a far cry from their on-stage avatars. They appear calm, laid-back and often burst into fits of laughter.

“A b-boy competition is a battle, not dance. The rage while performing is mainly because it builds pressure on your opponent. It’s not necessary that all b-boy dancers are angry people. Some may have rage, some may be cheeky, some happy...” say Spin (originally Juan David Gaviria) and Ajay (Anthony Jackson).

The two were in the city to judge the UK B-Boy Championship India Showcase presented by Sony Music’s Zomba. As many as 75 dancers from across the city participated in the contest. Btrixx was adjudged the solo winner and Graffitti Revolution, the winner of the crew event. They will now battle it out with other teams and performers from India. One solo winner and one crew winner from that will represent India at the finale to be held at the O2 arena in London. “The Indian hip-hop scene has witnessed a huge growth, and there is some great talent waiting to be nurtured,” says Ajay.

Spin and Ajay are part of the London based b-boy group Soul Mavericks Crew and have been b-boying for the last nine years. Spin dabbled in a few other dance forms, including salsa before discovering b-boying. As for Ajay, it was almost like love at first sight. This was the first dance form he tried and dived headlong into it. “I enjoy it especially because in this form you are always going to be a student. You have to keep improving and learning and trying new things. It’s that challenge that excites me,” says Ajay. There’s accolade and fame, but they’ve also had to endure dislocated toes and pulled hamstrings.

Busy calendar

The young dancers have a number of music videos and commercials to their credit, and have also performed at the opening ceremony of the recent London Olympics. “We were even part of a Bollywood song. We shot for it in February. Don’t remember the name of the movie or the actor or the song,” they laugh. On prodding, Spin says, “It was a good looking, slightly older guy paired with a really young heroine.”

The duo is busy participating in competitions throughout the year. In the last 10 months, they’ve been part of at least 20 competitions. How does it feel to be on the other side now as a judge? “It’s inspiring to watch the contestants. We have to pay close attention. Because we are working, we don’t get to enjoy it much, as we have to be focussed. Our credibility is on the line,” says Spin. And with that they go back to judging an enthusiastic lot of Chennai b-boyers that swivels and sways in loose pants, skull caps and oversized t-shirts, trying to outdo each other.