B-Boying, the original term for break-dancing, first blew up in the dance world via the streets of New York City in the 1970s, so it makes sense that the crowned winner of the Red Bull BC One North American Finals was born and raised in Brooklyn.
24-year-old Miguel Rosario, known as Gravity, beat out 15 of the best B-Boys on the continent to claim top honors at the Aug. 17 competition in Houston. After four rounds of intense battles with the other competitors, Gravity’s skill and creativity as a performer made him the clear winner, earning him a spot in the world championship in Seoul, South Korea this November — one of the world's B-Boy capitals.
The Bensonhurst native, who now lives in Phoenix, plans to open his own training facility. For now, though, he is concentrating on improving himself, perfecting new moves as he prepares to take on the world’s best B-boys for another shot at first place.
Gravity spoke to Metro about growing up in the original B-Boy scene, the time he got into a fight during a performance and why he isn’t intimidated by the world's stage.
When did you start break dancing? How did you learn?
I've been B-Boying since 2006, when I started with a group of friends. We all pretty much taught each other, until the older B-Boys started helping us and guiding us.
What is the scene like in Brooklyn? How did you prepare to compete at the national level?
The break-dancing scene in Brooklyn is dope, probably one of the most underground scenes in NYC. We have some of the freshest dancers and footwork heads, and I believe we have the rawest scene with the most attitude and aggression.
Honestly, there was no special way I prepared. In my head, I wanted to be the best. So I just practiced everyday and went to every event. Now that I'm already established in the B-Boy scene, I can finally focus on more than one priority, such as kids and my future business.
Who was your toughest competition at the North American finals?
My toughest competition at the North American finals was Flexum or KNUCKLES ... the overall competition for me was not beating myself.
Did you expect to take first place, or did it come as a total surprise?
When I got to Houston, the vision was too blurry to really know if I was going to win. But once I was in the finals, I knew the competition was mine.
What kinds of new moves are you planning for the world championship in Seoul? How do you feel about competing globally and all the international styles you'll be up against?
My goal is to be 1o times the B-Boy I am today. I'm excited to compete globally, and this will be my second time in the world finals of BC — but at that time, I was nowhere near where I am today skill-wise. I'm not really worried about the other styles of dance because style is the name of the game, and it's every style for itself. All I have to do is sharpen my style and be good at what I do.
What's the craziest thing that has ever happened to you during a performance?
Honestly, the craziest thing that has ever happened to me during a performance was getting into a fight. Not cool. But it happened and it was easy to move past and put behind me.
We've always wondered about this — what is the best thing to wear for a B-Boy?
Clothing is always different for a B-Boy. What you wear affects the way you move and because there are so many different movements, the clothing is always different.
How do you stay current? Where do you draw inspiration for new moves?
A good way to stay relevant in the scene is to stay hungry and never give up. You must be yourself. And I draw inspiration from my crew and family and some of my peers.
Where do you hope to see your sport go in the future? Any support at the Olympic level?
I hope to see B-Boying where skateboarding is — all we need is the right sponsors to take notice and stop taking advantage of the fact that we would be happy with a few dollars when we are worth just as much as all the professional snowboarders, skateboarders and other athletes.
How did you decide on your performance name, Gravity?
The way I got my name was through my mother. She told me, "Man, when you flip and break-dance, you look like you defy gravity." And the name just stuck to me.