'Battle Of The Year' Takes Grazia To A Breakdance Class... We Aren't Very Good

11 March 2014 by

As an avid viewer of dance movies, I've always kinda expected that at some point in my life Channing Tatum is going to turn up at my school/workplace and ask me to be his dance partner.

Surprisingly, it's not happened yet. So when the makers of film Battle of the Year offered me a one-on-one hip-hop and breakdance class, I decided it was my time to shine/score a place at Julliard.

My class was with SkyChief, a member of dance crew The Ruggeds who came second in the actual Battle of the Year in the Netherlands. It's one of the longest running and most prestigious dance competitions in the world as well as the inspiration for the movie so I was in good hands and also waaaay out of my depth.

The lesson started well. I arrived at the dance studio in Southwark and - in what I can only describe as a scene out of Bridget Jones - sprained my ankle by tripping and tumbling down a staircase. (I'm glad I managed to demonstrate my incredible levels of coordination before my class had even begun.)

Things only got worse during the warm up when SkyChief and I started stretching. At one point he was doing actual splits while I was struggling to touch my toes. Then he essentially folded himself in half. This is how that move worked out for me..

It wasn't really a surprise that SkyChief was significantly more flexible than me. At 23, he's already danced for eight years. He also trains everyday, eats healthily, drinks loads of water and goes to bed early most nights. I do not. 

When it came to the dancing SkyChief explained he was going to teach me three of the four main elements of breaking - 'toprock', 'footwork', 'freezes' - not the 'power moves', they involve backflips and are slightly out of my league.  

I successfully managed to complete the toprock steps which involved shuffling to the left and right as well unbuckling and buckling my imaginary belt. SkyChief made this look effortlessly cool, I looked like I was actually unbuckling and buckling a belt.

Next up footwork. SkyChief taught me how to drop to the floor on to one wrist before performing the iconic 'six-step' aka moving my legs and hands in a circle around my head. Again I shocked myself and managed to do this, even if it was at an exceedingly slow pace.

Any confidence I had in my new-found breaking ability was swiftly destroyed when it came to the final move though. SkyChief attempted to teach me how to 'baby' freeze, a move during which you balance your entire body on your wrists and head. 'Keep turning your hips until it feels impossible, then continue,' was his advice. Great.

I genuinely couldn't do it in any way. I kept trying because I didn't want to disappoint SkyChief and make him sad, but I literally didn't have the strength to do it. Even when he physically moved my limbs into position I couldn't manage it.

This flailing mess was as close as I got:

Overall it was both a horrific and incredible experience. It's a super full-body work-out and SkyChief told me he didn't need to do any other exercise to stay in shape. If I was my colleague who gets up at 5am to do yoga everyday I probably would have loved it, but I just wasn't strong enough. I think I'm going to stick to watching the dance movies instead.... Popcorn anyone?

Want to try out a few basic steps for yourself? SkyChief's recorded a breaking work-out video exclusively for Grazia Daily

Battle of the Year is out on DVD 10th March, see the dance highlights from the movie in our round-up below.


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