At this time of year, Kobe Hall, a break dance artist, was normally preparing for his job as a doorman at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort. But in mid-February, as the World Wide Dance Challenge hosted a virtual season, he found himself sitting on a couch, named the winner.
It wasn’t long before Hall, away from a busy job who is now on leave, posted on Instagram.
“I’m overwhelmed with emotions right now. Doubt that I can’t do anything through dancing has always crossed my mind, ”Hall wrote. “Like who am I?” Just someone from Guam.
Hall, 21, won $ 5,000 and a feature film as the winner of the first season of the World Wide Dance Challenge.
Related: Guam dance choreographers go virtual during COVID-19
In the past few weeks, Hall has leveled five rounds of competition. Until then, he lacked the time or interest to learn about professional break dancing, or maybe he thought dancing was too unstable a career. But in the absence of a job that typically filled his days – helping tourists and welcoming customers – Hall tapped into his B-boy joys and wondered how break dancing could shape his future.
“When they said I won it was a full moment, like a dream come true,” Hall said. The competition was so close that he won the final battle with less than a point, he added.
“Everything I had bottled in, I just dropped it,” Hall said. “I started to cry, and it was crazy.”
Hall, who grew up dancing with the Stargazers dance troupe, had practiced break dancing before the pandemic. But after Sheraton put him on leave, he opted for another way to pay his bills: winning online contests with cash prizes.
During the pandemic, he won four virtual challenges.
For some dancers new to the online world, the lack of space has been awkward, at least mentally. The more time you spend dancing at home, the less energy you feel.
“It’s a lot easier to tire out because you have less adrenaline,” Hall said.
Another problem is difficult time zones. The hall participates in dance battles early in the morning at 2:30 a.m.
“It’s really hard to do it live on a computer this late at night,” Hall said. He even dances with a router next to him, in case the internet fluctuates.
Following: Ricardo Carrazco eats 100 deals at 17th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival
As a millennial breakdancer, Hall is well versed in online challenges. But he said he had never accomplished anything of this caliber.
“It’s really bittersweet, but I feel like it’s just the start,” Hall said.
He plans to train and return for the third season of the World Wide Dance Challenge, which will offer a cash prize of over $ 5,000.
“Before, I was worried that I didn’t have the credentials to be able to do better performances,” Hall said.
But now he’s planning to pursue dancing in earnest, hopefully in the United States.
As a young father, Hall said he wanted to make a living from dancing, but the passion seemed less practical until he met Ronnie Abaldonado, a dancer from Guam who performed with Super Cr3w. The group won the second season of America’s Best Dance Crew.
“He’s from Guam and he’s a Filipino like me,” Hall said.
“You could see the authenticity and presence of who he was, so it inspired me to start chasing (the dance) again.”
But break dancing in Guam, Hall said, is in shambles. A few B-boys have banded together to perform, but fewer dancers keep the tradition alive.
Yet Hall loves the rawness, the suspense and the hip hop style of break dance.
“Dancing today uses performance, but wrestling is the rawest aspect of everything,” Hall said.
“It’s an exchange, a conversation,” Hall added. “Who has more? Who can do better ? Who is it at night?
Contact reporter Anne Wen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kobe Hall is looking for dancers to audition for the second season of the World Wide Dance Challenge. Interested dancers can reach him on Instagram @kobehall.
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Guam’s Kobe Hall wins World Wide Dance Challenge virtual season