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Breakdance 101 with the Beat Munchers

Meet some of the hottest B-boys on Syracuse University's campus. Wanna learn how to be a B-boy or B-girl, too? Watch for a "how-to" move that will have all your friends ooh-ing and ahh-ing.

From the graffiti-scribbled dark alleys within the streets of the Bronx to college campuses nationwide, the art of break dance has become a popular trend among aspiring b-boys and b-girls nationwide.

On Syracuse University's campus, one break dancing group called the "Beat Munchers", comprised of about 15 to 20 b-boys and b-girls, practice this form of dance with a fiery passion. They have competed against other break dance crews at other New York schools such as Rochester Institute of Technology and State University of New York at Oswego.

Photo: Allison Tong
David "D.Lyte" Lopez, dances to the beat.

 "Break dancing is that other side, it's my outlet, that's how I relieve stress, that's how I get my thoughts together, through dancing," said Jemal Kirkland, a freshman architecture major at Syracuse University.

 Kirkland describes the art of break dancing as a compilation of several other forms of dance including ballet, tap and hip-hop. But the fundamental aspect to break dancing is just feeling the music and moving the body into whatever shapes or forms feel right, said Kirkland.

"I have a talent for feeling music, and letting it control your body," said Kirkland. "Which is basically what break dancing is."

Sophomore David Lopez, also known as b-boy "D.Lyte", describes the Beat Munchers as his "family" on campus. The group holds intense practices at Archbold gymnasium up to three times a week, with some practices lasting until nearly one a.m.

Becoming a member of the Beat Munchers is not an easy feat. Kirkland said that in order to receive status as a member of the group, a b-boy or b-girl hopeful must "battle" with a veteran of the group.

"Battling" is when two dancers will show off their best talents to a crowd of onlookers, who may be part of their break dance crew or an audience.  Audience applause or a judging of crew members decide who "won" the battle.

"It's pretty strenuous," said Kirkland. "But if you have the passion for it, you can get pretty skillful at it." 

Once a dancer auditions and passes the critical eyes of the crew members, he or she is then considered a member of the crew. And each member is then designated a b-boy or b-girl name by another crew member.

 Lopez said he was given the name "D.Lyte" because "it just brings smiles to people's face." Brian Hill, a senior, said that he has competed under several names including "Soul Dado" and "Stud Muffin" - as a joke, that is.

As long as there is music, the Beat Munchers will keep the tradition of this popular art form, their bodies twisting and shifting to the rhythmic beat of the music.

"Break dancing is important in my life because it's the best form of expression," said Lopez. "You can express anger, happiness, and everything, collectively, to the beat."

B-Boy/B-Girl Lingo 101:

Battle: When two or more members of opposing crews, or two or more members within a crew, show-off their best moves and talents in a fast-paced surrounding with an audience typically watching.

Cypher: A more low-key move of break dancing, in which the dancer will typically dance to the beat of the music, executing less-strenuous moves.

Top-Rock: a basic two-step footwork often incorporated into break dancing.


More on the web: The history of breakdancing


How do I contact the Beat

How do I contact the Beat Munchers - I have an event I would like to hire them for. Thank you. 315.422.9400

Nice Job, Allison!! Go for

Nice Job, Allison!! Go for it!! Great interview with video. I hope you have fun with your future career.

Flora & Bill & Ben

That's a good question.

I didn't ask, but I know they had several other names before that name was decided on. ;-)

Who came up with...

the name "Beat Munchers"? I'm sure thats an interesting story. Does anyone know? If I became a member, my name would be "beet muncher"

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