Updated: Nov 14, 2020
In the early 1980s through movies like Flash Dance and Beat Street, the cultural movement of hip hop that had originated in the Bronx, New York City was making an impact on people, particularly children and teenagers. This cultural fad which many would argue was in fact a culture that changed their lives forever created opportunities to have fun, be accepted and to be acknowledged as performers and artist where many new friends would also be made.
In Australia, each major capital city including Sydney during the period from 1983 through to 1987 saw a wave of young men begin to dance that previously may have not done so before the introduction of hip hop due to a range of factors including lack of social acceptance and stereotyping as either gay or a bit feminine. These young teenagers and young adults formed crews and would become effectively the first generation of breakers and bboys within Sydney.
This wave of essentially art forms although not technically taught at schools or institutions formed into four main areas or among hip hop followers, four elements. This included breaking / breakdancing / bboys & bgirls, DJ’ing, MC’ing / Rapping and Graffiti art.
As time has gone on many of these original bboys have passed and moved on to other aspects of life or unfortunately have passed away. Many simply are forgotten or not known by current generation of breakers in this year and day. Many do not know the significance of some of these breakers and effectively how this first generation created a stepping stone for future breakers to follow.
Many dance crews appeared during this time in the early to mid-1980s although several stood out within Sydney. In particular a dance crew of young men, many from different cultural backgrounds formed together to become UBT or otherwise known as the United Break Team. They were also fortunate to tour with arguably one of the most famous bboy crews in the world at the time namely the Rock Steady crew from New York City, New York.
I managed to talk to one member of UBT, Rosano Martinez (known as Bboy Snooze) to retell the sub-culture of hip hop in the 1980s, the fights, the battles and to remember those that history in hip hop has not. Most importantly it is to preserve the memories of how hip hop culture was during this period.
Hip hop also gave a voice to minorities within Australian society at this time “Most of us were from poor suburbs and poor families. I grew up in housing commission. That was one of the reasons why I got into it. I could relate to that message. Yes we were in those situations”.
I give a large thank you to Rosano Martinez (Bboy Snooze) for deciding to talk to a stranger in April 2010 for 2 hours about a time that has gone past but still is as fresh as ever! Also thank you to DJ ASK (former Australian DMC Champion 1990 and 1996) who quickly popped in during my interview with Rosano Martinez and briefly was able to contribute in part to this article.
Des-Troy / October 2020
Check out the full interview here.