Freestyle Session Reflection - Bboy Lancer NOV 2023
What up everyone. My name is Krysada, aka Bboy Lancer. I'm from San Diego, CA and rep The Calamities & Killafornia Crew. I've been dancing close to 22 years by the time Freestyle Session 2023 hits. I've been in love with this dance and culture for a long time, I'm here to talk about my time going to Freestyle Session over the years.
My very first Freestyle Session was FSS 10 Year Anniversary in 2007. Since then, I've attended every Freestyle Session every year with the exception of the finals that took place in Tokyo 2013. The first Freestyle Session I ever watched was FSS7 2004 on VHS. I was in high school at the time, the constant talk in our Breaking circles would be about the crews we saw, the moves they did, and all the moments shown from the tape. It inspired the bboys and bgirls tremendously. Before youtube, you would need to wait half a year or more to get the latest footage of an event that took place, it often took longer. That delay brought lots of anticipation and motivation to get better, while also seeing what the world has been up to. Since then I have watched many FSS events. before 2007. My favorites that I watched before attending were FSS3, FSS Seattle 2003, FSS Japan 2002 & 2003, and many others. Freestyle Session played a pivotal role in that through the decades.
I was quite nervous during my first Freestyle Session. It took place during the summer of 2007. I had done 1 year in college and was ready to hit up Fall Semester. I was active throughout the year training, but was especially active training for my first Freestyle Session. I wasn't able to battle with my crew at the time and was really bummed out. We were still young and without money, many could not make it to FSS. My thirst for battle was high and I wanted to represent the hardest I could because it was my first Freestyle Session, and the largest event I've ever attended up to that point. Luckily, I was able to battle with Portland City Rockers. I believe that was their name, shout outs to them for letting me battle, I truly appreciated that.
Outside of the preliminary battle, I was jumping circle to circle. Wanted to wreck every cypher I could to put my name out there; to have people witness what I can do. Of course, I was on the edge and pretty nervous. For the first time, I was seeing a lot of the dope dancers I was inspired by. They were right in front of me, in the cyphers or in the battles. Quite a surreal moment. It inspired me to train hard so that I would battle them and have that much of an impact one day. FSS 2007 was a beautiful start for me to acknowledge a whole world of Breakers feeling the same way as me, wanting to put themselves and their crew on the map. It was equally unifying as it was conflicting in the competitive sense. Cyphers and Battles were our space and time for moments, the music played by DJs were the ether we were all surrounded by.
Getting ready for Battle
To this day, Breaking doesn't have an off-season. We are year-round when it comes to battles. With that said, it's important to pick and choose the right events to attend and right moments to strike. When I was a lot more active, Freestyle Session was a no-brainer to enter every year. I tend to think about overall training for the year in the following ways:
- Think about my approach, what is my true goal in this Break Life? What is it that makes me love this dance so much and what is the impact I'd like to share? The simple answer for me is to be timeless. I never wanted to be defined by a move, I wanted folks to remember me for the entire package. To be original, powerful, and completely genuine in my dancing such that you will never forget who I am. This included my style, movement, fashion, and overall energy you get when you see me. My entire training focused on these elements
- After understanding what my big picture is, I thought about how to accomplish my goals through a training regiment. I think about it in a yearly cycle to review where I'm at and how I'm doing. The general approach here: I'd spend a few days out of the week dancing, creating, trying to come up with concepts through freestyle and being aware to catch odd things that can turn into a move. Other days, I would focus on strength and stamina, often incorporating cross training where I can push my body to stay in shape and push my physical limits. When I cross-train, the idea is for me to turn off my mind while keeping my stamina sharp. This is so that when I'm actually training for Breaking, I'm completely focused as a dancer and an artist, my main priority.
- Leading up to jams, I would ease off on the intense training cycle, then spend the last week dancing through movement scenarios while not going 100%. Practice battles are the same, I would find ways to battle and strike without going full energy so as to not harm myself or get fatigued come battle time. It was a harsh lesson learned over the years to not exert myself the last week leading up to battles. For Freestyle Session, the impact is larger. You know the best of the best will be coming into town. I study who's been killing it the past year and train with ways to counter them in the chance I would meet them in a battle. I'd watch everybody during my heavy competitive years, to make sure I know what to expect and plan to counter. Freestyle Session is one of the opportunities to test myself against the best, so when I trained leading up to it, I would spend a lot of training time mentally preparing for conditions that would potentially match battle time.
- One key thing I would absolutely emphasize to those who battle: Make sure you express who you truly are and do everything in your training and battles to emphasize that. Be memorable in the sense where you leave the judges and the people remember you as the dancer, not in a gimmicky way. This is especially true during prelims with a massive amount of competitors, you need to be unique and stand out (I know this is pretty damn easier said than done). What I'm hoping to leave you all with is that, you don't need to check all the boxes and think you've done what you're supposed to do in Breaking "correctly". You don't need to cover all the bases just to make sure you cover the bases. Doing so does not promote the dance in a way I prefer. Make sure you bring true elements of yourself via dance, signatures, and overall energy.
Every Freestyle Session I've attended, both in battles and cyphers, I needed to let yall know who Lancer is. Did everything I could to make you go home and remember what I've done. Whether I was successful or not in retrospect is a different story, but that was always my philosophy.
Got many memories at Freestyle Session. It was an honor to battle and share the same floor with many dancers. Here are some personal battle highlights:
- Making it to Top 8 at FSS 2015 Solo Battles
- SD Syndicate's run up to Top 4 at FSS 2010
- The Calamities vs. Zamounda FSS 2012
- Killa Calamity vs. Body Carnival FSS 2014
- Killafornia vs. Flow Mo Crew & Killafornia vs. Team Ukraine at FSS 2017
- Carpet Style Session next to the bar at FSS 2019 (for those who were there lol)
In terms of being a spectator, my favorite Freestyle Session was Freestyle Session 12 in 2009. This was the year that from the Semi-Final onwards, Fusik was playing live. I love live music, how organic it is and it truly brought a vibe that made me feel so present. Everything felt connected from the dancers battling, the music filling out the whole venue, the true sounds of the instruments paired with the movement of the dancers. It was so dope. There were mixed reviews regarding the live music, but I definitely would love to see more bands be a part of the battles and cyphers.
The cypher and cypher battles I was a part of were all important to me. They are hidden memories I carry. It didn't matter who was watching, who won, but more about how it forged me further as a Bboy. In general, there are far too many moments to name, but all played a part in my journey.
Lastly, the social aspect of it all. Freestyle Session is one big reunion. It's great to see everyone coming from all parts of the world. Some you will see on a yearly basis, others you haven't seen in years. It's been a trip to see kids and teens show up to Freestyle Session over the years and you are witnessing their amazing growth in skills. It's beautiful to bump into folks who are long time friends, rivals, or just community folks and you can check-in with the to see how they're doing in life. Time surely has had an effect on me when it comes to this event.
What Freestyle Session means to me in my journey
Lastly, the social aspect of it all. Freestyle Session is one big reunion. It's great to see everyone coming from all parts of the world. Some you will see on a yearly basis, others you haven't seen in years. It's been a trip to see kids and teens show up to Freestyle Session over the years and you are witnessing their amazing growth in skills. It's beautiful to bump into folks who are long time friends, rivals, or just community folks and you can check-in with them to see how they're doing in life.
Time surely has had an effect on me when it comes to this event. I love all the good times and encounters with people. They can be brief minutes, or be with your homies the whole day. I can't stress the importance of showing up and being present, in whatever event you want to be at. I see Freestyle Session as an integral part of my journey as a dancer, and as a human being. There can be much happening in my personal life, the work world, and the world in general. For a big event like this, I happily tune all of that out as much as I can in order to be fully immersed in the event. It doesn't matter if I'm battling or not, even though I always rather be battling.
Lately, life has made me take a step back to look at my journey holistically. Definitely not done, however, it is important for me to pause and reflect. Without Freestyle Session, I wouldn't have grown into the dancer that I am today. This is because of the experience, the dancers, the inspiration, and all the time leading up to the event. Proud to put myself out there, but even more proud that the event continues to be a space for dancers to express themselves, fully and completely.
Hope you all enjoy this year's event!
More Pics - https://photos.app.goo.gl/vswLribnVUBHF8h56