Yesterday afternoon, Art Attack got its toprock on at the grand opening of the Break Free Community Center. When we ventured over to the south side of Houston for what turned out to be a completely packed house of breakers rockin' some serious moves, it was like we had stepped back into a scene from Wild Style. B-boys and B-girls of all ages made their way into the middle of the circle to show off their best head spins, and DJ Lean Rock had come all the way from Boston to supply the beats.
The center has been a longtime dream of B-boy Moises "Moy" Rivas, a native Houstonian who has come up as one of the most dynamic dancers on the breakdancing scene. Rivas has traveled the world dancing and competing, and he has even shown off his skills in national commercials.
But lately, his passion for his hometown and bringing the community center to life have kept him in Houston.
"I had the whole place planned out in my head," Rivas tells Art Attack. "When I told my family that I needed to do this, they were completely behind me."
The center is open six days a week (all but Sunday) and is free to anyone who wants to come in and break. In addition to the free space and dance classes, Rivas says the center will offer drug and alcohol counseling.
Rivas and his family are currently the center's sole financial sources. The center is looking to gain nonprofit status, but for now they have been relying on the kindness of friends and even strangers. Just before their opening kickoff, a stranger walked in and was so impressed with the project that he quickly returned with a much-needed stereo system. "It was just an amazing gesture of kindness," Rivas gushes.
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As we walked around, the upbeat vibes of the place blew us away. Everyone was there to have a good time in a positive way. Rivas himself is excited to pass his own B-boy torch. At the ripe age of 27, he tells us he won't be able to windmill forever and wants to share what he's learned with the next generation.
"These kids want to dance but they think they can't," he says. "They just need to be encouraged and that's what we can do here."
Art Attack declined to do the worm, though we totally wanted to try it.
The Break Free Community Center is located at 9191 Winkler Dr., Suite G, Houston 77017 and is open Monday through Saturday, 2 to 9 p.m. For more information, visit BreakFreeCC.tumblr.com