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May 18, 2013 at 9:20 PM

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Northwest Wanderings: Just the right break in the action


This is not monkey business. It's Massive Monkees business.

It's serious B-boying -- break dancing in the hip-hop genre -- that's led the local crew to win the world championships last year in Seoul, Korea. They bested a group from Kazakhstan.



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

JustB (Brysen Angeles), Massive Monkees member and instructor, teaches a freeze move to Sean Ho, 9, who goes by SeanSteady, in the break-dance troupe's studio in the Chinatown International District. The freeze is the full stop at the end of a routine.

They've appeared on MTV and recently they performed during halftime at an NBA playoff game.

JustB, real name Brysen Angeles, says, "It's more of an art than a sport." But still it takes athleticism, acrobatics and precise choreography, as with any top dance group.

This local crew tries to dispel the notion that break dancing and gangs go together.

They run an after-school program and give lessons at their studio on King Street in the Chinatown International District.



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Nine-year-old Sean Ho has been learning hip-hop dance moves in the Massive Monkee's studio and wears a cap with their logo on it.

There's more to it than spinning on your head.

There's the music, recorded and played by the DJ to provide the rhythm, the backdrop.

There's the MC, the master of ceremony, to move the crowd, get everybody involved in the jam.

There's finding your own style.

And there's the freeze. It's like sticking the landing in gymnastics. It says the routine is over.

Ares, real name DeAunte Hall, has the group's name tattooed across his broad back, from shoulder to shoulder.



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ares, real name DeAunte Hall, has made a big commitment to the Massive Monkees, having it tattooed across his back. For more information on the dance crew, see: massivemonkees.com

He knows the importance of going from footwork to the freeze. Dancers go from full momentum to full stop.

"It has to be crisp, make a statement and be held for 2 to 3 seconds. You can have a run-on sentence but this is the punctuation."



For more photos, visit the gallery.

For more Northwest Wanderings, visit our previous post.

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