Sept. 24 2014 09:07 AM

Cros One returns his breakdance competition to San Diego

Omar Roxrite Delgado
Omar “Roxrite” Delgado

    Growing up in the '80s and '90s in Paradise Hills, Chris Wright— known to most as Cros One—remembers impromptu breakdance sessions in garages and on street corners on nearly every block of his neighborhood.

    "In school, we would even cut class to go and battle in the bathroom," Cros laughs. "It was everywhere."

    The DJ and former dancer started taking notes at the bigger, tightly produced breaking competitions that started popping up in California, Nevada and Arizona. He hit up every event he could, networking with other b-boys and girls, and, by 1997, he was ready to throw his own regional event. He expected about 300 people at the first, dubbed "Freestyle Session," but more than 800 showed up.

    Cros' event quickly snowballed, moving to Los Angles and growing to include qualifier competitions around the globe. Last year, the Freestyle Session World Finals were held in Tokyo, attracting more than 300 international breakdance crews.

    This year marks 15 years since the event was born in Chula Vista, so Cros decided to mark the anniversary by bringing the now internationally known breakdance battle back home.

    A shot of Freestyle Session World Finals in Los Angeles in 2012 · Photo by Mike Herana

    From 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8 and 9, some of the best breakdancers in the world will converge at the World Beat Center and the Centro Cultural de La Raza in Balboa Park for this year's Freestyle Session World Finals. For $20, spectators can get up-close views of professional dancers battling it out for more than $50,000 in cash prizes in both one-on-one and three-on-three crew competitions.

    Last year's winner, Omar Delgado, or Roxrite when it comes to his long, successful breakdancing career, lives in San Diego, so as long as a recent injury doesn't keep him from competing, he'll be back to defend his title. Roxrite travels the world to compete and judge breakdance events; he says Freestyle Session is one of the best and most authentic. 

    "Cros has been doing a lot of big things for the community and the whole worldwide breakdance scene," he says. "The people who come to the event who don't know anything about it, they get to see the real essence of our dance, none of this washed-up stuff you see in movies."

    Cros says that while Freestyle Session is focused on breakdancing, it celebrates hip-hop culture as a whole. There'll be a photography and art exhibition and big-name DJs and MCs will perform, including DJ Qbert and MC Supernatural.

    But Cros says the best part of his events is the feeling people get when spontaneous dance circles start breaking out and everyone simultaneously gets into the groove.

    "It's kind of a cliché thing to say, but at the end of the day, when all these b-boys and fans alike, when we're all in one place, you can feel it, you don't even have to talk— you're just vibin', you know?"

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    More dance

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    See all events on Tuesday, Dec 6