Hong Kong's B-Boys Take to the Street


By: Laurella Jose


Everyone is one of two types of people. Type A: People who have been utterly enthralled by a street dancer. Type B: Liars. 


Looking into Hong Kong’s street dance world was fascinating and exciting. I started by asking a friend about how he got started over Facebook and next thing I knew I was at the Poly U bobbing my awkward head to some sick beats some blasting outside a bank where students were just practicing. I would then come to learn this set up had some history. After the funding got pull for dance at Poly U a few years back, dancers started practicing in public areas were the reflective glass worked as mirrors like in a studio. 


It’s this sort of resourcefulness and adaptability that really impresses me about dancers (second of course to all the dope moves they bust). People were constantly passing by to get to the ATMs as a dancers were spinning like it ain’t no body’s businesses a couple of feet away. It made me realize for something that seemed to me to be so complicated – the complexity of movement, precision of timing – it was simple, all they needed was the beat. They didn’t grab opportunities like a funded programme, they made opportunities with some shiny glass and decent speakers. 


The mix of people at these sorts of practice spaces range from just checking it out to I’ve done this half my life. This really shows how street dance is something one can’t truly master – you have to constantly improve yourself. And these sorts of open areas available to everyone provide that platform. 


This practice space is a microcosm of what’s happening in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s scene is young. It isn't quite there yet – but it’s on its way.  Recently Hong Kong has been getting a lot of exposure through guest dancers coming over from the places like the US and Japan which is helping develop the heart of street dance in Hong Kong. 


A huge proportion of street dancers are high school and university students. It’s when the passion starts and develops, with spaces so accessible to them and their schedules very accommodating, its no wonder dancers that come to represent Hong Kong on the big stages are so young and full of potential. Seeing these students in the big leagues make local budding dancers proud to be part of this revolution.


Most recently Hong Kong was host to the Asia preliminary of a very famous Europe dance camp, SDK Asia. This did a lot for Hong Kong street dance culture as it was finally being recognized as a street dance country with local dancers getting far in the competition.


With Hong Kong being as multi-cultural as it is, locals dominate the street dance scene. There is little diversity in the scene, but its there, and it’s developing. As a high school student, it’s really promising seeing street dance supported by my very multi-cultural school, it’s branching out the niche through showcases and talks in assemblies, about the culture of street dance. Not to mention it makes an assembly more exciting when dancers force teachers on to stages to try some out moves. These types of showcases makes dancing so much more accessible and joining the street dance community less intimidating – it becomes relatable and humorous. At times I couldn’t help thinking street dance looked like ballet’s freaky sister. It’s really beautiful, the control and complexity of dance sequences and freezes. It’s a very interactive. Dancers don’t only communicate with each other on stage but communicate even more to the audience. It demands for verbal affirmation of dopeness – ooo’s and ey’s. It tires you out just looking at it – like energy radiates from them.


If you’re interested in getting in to street dance, or just want to check out the local scene, it just takes one. And by that I mean if you find one street dancer, you’re pretty much set. They're easy to spot, sweat pants, coupled with either a bucket hat or snapback. The trends right now are Puma or Adidas shoes. They move a lot more than ordinary people when they hear music like they’re practicing the moves in their head. So maybe just blast some beats on the MTR and watch for who gets up and dances.

If you ask them nicely, chances are you’d get invited to practice spaces or jams. They are such a tight knit community that everyone is at least vaguely familiar. 



Do your research. Most dancers start off on their laptops looking up YouTube videos and reading origin stories – to get far in the art a lot of dancers say you must understand where it comes from and why. Street dance is an umbrella term, under that is a multitude of styles – each different with it’s own skills and aesthetic. Wacking, for example, which is typical for female dancers to lean to, is very distinct – a lot of rapid arm movements.


If there is anything that was most appealing to me about my little adventure into Hong Kong’s street dance world, it’s that the community is so supportive of each other. Their peers are their idols and smiles are commonplace and I think we need more of that. So support your local street dancers or maybe even become one.




  • 17Alfonso
    20 September 2017

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