Friday, January 18, 2008

Film Review: Inside the Circle

Inside the Circle is a kinetically inspiring documentary about the world of b-boys and “breaking” as lived through three young Texans, Josh, Omar and Romeo. This film is a testament to the cultural staying power of break dancing, which originated in 1970’s The Bronx, New York. It screened during the 2008 Dance on Camera film festival at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, January 6 and 11.

Fast forward to present day Austin, Texas to find the dance form in the loving hands of Latinos, Euro-Americans and the world-at-large. Romeo Navaroo, past b-boy-turned-event promoter, says, “B-boying is an explosion of who you are.” Romeo plans and promotes semiannual dance competitions called B-Boy City in Austin. Underfunded, Romeo consistently draws crowds of b-boys and b-girls, DJs spinning the latest sounds, graffiti artists, and rappers. The camera stays focused on the circle to document the physical and artistic prowess of young men. B-boying is quite strenuous where people spin on the their hands, knees, heads and elbows. Josh is a rare white American youth who’s been taken in by the Masterz of Mayhem crew. Josh remembers when people wouldn’t take him seriously because he was white. B-boys discounted his power and rhythm. When he proved he had both, he received and kept his props.

Josh’s best friend is Omar. The film shows the friendship in its bloom to high emotional competition to a level of reconciliation. While Omar experiences international fame, flying frequently to places like Singapore, Russia, Mexico and Europe, Josh deals with family tensions and the criminal justice system. It appears that Josh will be lost in the system until he connects with a counselor at Youth Advocates. Romeo contends with such production issues as flyer distribution, t-shirts and quality flooring. Romeo considers ending the B-Boy City competition due to strong audience outrage at one event. He hangs in there, though.

The life of breaking is all consuming. Most don’t work because “the job will take up time.” Many hours are spent practicing. Many b-boys drop out of school. With low funds and shared love of dance, the crews are more so families. The crews put money together to eat, get dressed—maybe pay cell phone bills. Omar, respected internationally, deals with the angst of his father’s concern for him to “get a real job.”

Marcy Garriott produced and directed Inside the Circle. The filming was done over four years. Time lapse was depicted through the latest B Boy City sign. The last B Boy City this writer noticed was B Boy City 11. Garriott said, “Filming the intense break competitions were exhausting. How the people actually doing the dancing could withstand it is amazing.”

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At February 2, 2008 at 12:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the movie. The dance moves are well choreographed. But more importantly, these youngsters are able to express their frustrations and love through dancing..certainly alot healthier than pulling out a gun..


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