Breakdancing With the Best

Nick Robinson, 19, has an “explosive” style.

He likes to do a lot of flips and power moves when he breaks. For Robinson, breakdancing is no longer just a hobby, it’s his craft as a professional artist.

Breakdancing is his way of life.

Robinson has been taking Physical Education at the University of Toronto this past year and, while living in Toronto, he was invited to join a professional breakdance crew. This crew, ABS, Abstrakt Breakin Systemz, practises and performs on a regular basis.

“It is just like having a part time job while you go to school … it helps out,” Robinson shrugs.

But for him, the extra cash is only one of the many perks. With ABS, Robinson is able to train and perform with some of Toronto’s best performers.

They incorporate acrobatics, breaking and stunts into their shows and they perform at a variety of diverse locations. ABS does everything from being the entertainment at weddings and birthday parties to IMPACT at Massey Hall to performing on television shows, like CITY’s Breakfast Television.

Robinson is still a member of Whitehorse’s own breaking crew, GWS, Ground Work Sessions. GWS was created by some of the older breakers from Leaping Feats Creative Danceworks a few years ago.

This is how Robinson learned his foundation and, “Foundation skills are really, really important,” he emphasizes.

Before Robinson tried breakdancing, he couldn’t even do a cartwheel and he was not flexible at all. He couldn’t even touch his toes. But now Robinson is doing front flips, back flips, side flips and can do the splits both ways.

The current members of GWS include Robinson’s younger twin brothers Alex and Ben Robinson, Karl Loos, Riley Simpson-Fowler and Jordan Reti. GWS attended a battle in Toronto earlier this year and they all stayed in Robinson’s house.

“I had to sleep on the floor,” Robinson laughs. “But it was worth it.”

Robinson feels very lucky to be a member of two such “tight crews”. In ABS and in GWS everyone gets along really well, works hard and has fun.

Robinson incorporates his breaking into every day. At university, breaking has proved to be a good ice breaker to meet friends and somewhat of a cool party trick to share and teach others.

So when Robinson arrived back in Whitehorse on May 11 at 1:10 a.m., he was ready to start breaking in the North once more. He had to be at Porter Creek Secondary School at 8:30 later that morning to teach breakdancing to the physical education classes.

Robinson is one of the many artists in the program called Artists in the School and will be teaching through this program at various schools throughout Whitehorse until mid-June. For the summer, Robinson will be teaching breakdance camps through Leaping Feats.

Robinson is also organizing the first ever Yukon Breakdance Battle, with the tentative date of early June. Anyone can sign up.

He encourages anyone interested to try a little breaking, especially girls. Robinson loves to see B-girls out breaking, too, and describes one B-girl he met at a battle.

“She was roasting a bunch of guys, seriously cleaning up! … She didn’t end up winning, but she did some damage.”

Robinson thinks the most important aspect of starting out in his craft is not worrying about what you look like.

“A big part of breakdancing is having a unique style, being an individual,” Robinson explains.

Nick Robinson has taken his breakdancing skills to Toronto … and now he has brought even more skills back to Whitehorse.


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