With 18 years under its belt, Arizona’s legendary Furious Styles Crew is still on the rise
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2011 16:11
They're audible from a block away. Seeing them stops passers-by dead in their tracks.
The highly passionate and internationally known Furious Styles Crew is turning 18 this year and they are as fresh as ever.
Furious Styles Crew (FSC) are men and women, hardworking break-dancers, musicians and artists from around the globe who came together for the love of hip-hop and b-boy culture. Self-assured in their moves and with a fiery competitive nature, they live to be challenged and love to win.
The Furious Styles Crew was founded in 1993 by three pairs of brothers and went through a couple incarnations to get to where they are today. Currently at about 60 members, their dance crew is their foundation.
B-boy crews are organized dance units that perform at concerts, schools, fundraisers and in local, regional, national and international competitions, the biggest of which being Battle of the Year, an international competition. Furious Styles won the Battle of the Year USA competition in 2008, and placed eighth in the international competition that year.
FSC competes on average 20 times a month – yes, a month, that's not a typo – in both in-state and out-of-state events. They also make it to annual competitions around the world. They've represented the US in the Battle of the Year in Germany, the Red Bull Beat Battle in London, X-Air Games in New Zealand, Freestyle Session in Japan, Red Bull King of the Ring in Canada, Bboy Masters Pro-Am in Florida and they make sure to hit up the Freestyles Session California every year.
They're celebrating their anniversary with a series of events this week, including a pre-party at Thursday night's Blunt Club at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe; a free "Open Styles" heat on the Arizona State University Tempe campus on Friday; a three-nation battle on Saturday in Phoenix featuring $2,000 in prizes; a party Saturday night at Bar Smith and a one-on-one competition Sunday.
B-boy House, one of the founding members of FSC, described his crew as being "just a bunch of big kids" because of their playful demeanor and willingness to be creative.
"We don't just get together and break. We have BBQs, hang out and have each other's back," said Charles "Confuzion." Confuzion has been with FSC since March and was instantly taken aback by how different they ran as a crew – they were actually a family.
Within a few days of moving to Phoenix, he met a few members of the FSC in Phoenix and was sure he wanted to join.
"This is the first crew I've been in where there are no egos," he said. Instead, there is an abundance of respect not only for each other, but for other crews. This means squabbles are quickly resolved and always left on the dance floor.
The camaraderie between the FSC members is truly touching and their happy demeanors are contagious. They tease one another like siblings and rough house a bit, but it always starts and ends with laughter. Their spirited vibe comes with the confidence the crew has in one another. They are talented dancers who are completely aware of their bodies and how to best manipulate them.
Breaking is not only a way of life, but a life-saver for many. Confuzion, who was born and raised in Detroit, said his childhood friends didn't make it out like he has.
"I grew up in a really bad area, so if it wasn't for [breaking] I don't even want to think about what would have happened," he said.
Avoiding jail and an early grave, Confuzion had to seek out others with his similar passion.
"The b-boy community in Detroit is really small and underground. Their views of hip-hop are gangster and the negativity heavily outweighs the positivity, and the positive side of hip-hop is b-boys," he said.
Spreading the Word
This story also rang true for Antonio "Pretty Tony" Berumen, who has been a member for four years. Berumen, who was originally from Mexico City, said he was raised in a rough Phoenix neighborhood. Breaking kept him out of trouble.
"All I wanted to do when I got home was practice," he said.
FSC members dedicate their time and energy to dance even when they have other careers, but they do it because it is what they love. Their dancing is no secret to their employers, who tend to be impressed with the transferable skills that come with being part of the FSC.
Pretty Tony now works for the Phoenix Parks and Recreation department where he makes it a point to educate city officials about b-boy culture. He said city officials always want to have heavy security and plenty of policemen on guard when planning a hip-hop dance event, but it isn't until after they experience it for themselves that they see how great it is for the community.
"After the first one, they're begging me to do more," he said. "At the end of the day, it's just dance."
The determination and leadership roles instilled in the FSC dancers trickle down to all the other aspects in their lives. Being a b-boy or b-girl looks good on an application, and proves to employers that they possess not only talent, but the drive to see it through. It helps dancers in their careers and in their love lives, but mostly it shapes them into the people they are today.
Chris Mayo, aka "Miracles," said the b-boy philosophy of "go big or go home" has helped him in his career as well. An FSC member for 11 years, Chris takes it as a compliment when they're called out by other crews to battle. Cyphering, a battle between two or more break-dancers while they're surrounded by a cheering audience, seems to be going out of style.