by Garrett Braithwaite    Image from Red Bull BC One (Romina Amato)

They say that things like art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. In the world of dance there are styles upon styles upon styles thanks to a combination of foundation, culture, diversity, and that one or many things that make each dancer the individual that they are. We all stand out in our own way, weather big or small. Sometimes we have mutual agreements on what we might like and sometimes we have a very big difference in opinion. And for some reason sometimes people make a big deal about subjective things without fully understanding why they think the way they do.

For example, over the last few years B-boy (Break/Bronx Boy) Menno has been working tirelessly to become one of the world’s greatest breakers. The life of a dancer isn’t always easy-peasy full of fun and games, and Menno knows that very well. He has had a number of struggles in and outside of his career. However, he has kept going and going until he kept winning and winning, and now it seems like he is always winning . . . and some people aren’t convicted he deserves it.

Why is it so many seem to believe that Menno, or any dancer who is on a high streak, only deserves to win only a certain amount of times? Or is it simply that there is a large number of people out there who just happen to not like his style? Maybe sometimes it’s both!

Here is what I noticed in a recent battle Menno participated in – just a few weeks ago Menno won the R16 1v1 battle earning him a spot once again for the B-boy World Masters Undisputed event. As soon as word got out on social media a spitfire of critical comments flooded with disapproval. Comments taking aim at his style and comparing him to all his opponents he faced. Many claiming that he doesn’t use footwork or that all he does is rotate around on his back.

Here’s the thing with Menno’s style and what we all need to know about it. Style is a subjective thing to talk about. Sure, there are standards to the execution of one’s style, but Menno does exactly that. He owns his style and does it well!

Secondly, if you think he’s lagging in certain areas of b-boying then you need to double check his rounds he puts in because he does have footwork and he has a wide variety in his movement and transitions.

Another point of this could be you aren’t paying attention to the details of his opponents in battle. How one’s opponent does in battle is just as important as how you do. It’s a two-way deal.

You also have to look at the judging system of each event that takes place. R16 has a very unique judging system where each judge is assigned to focus on something specific, yet different from the other judges throughout the battles. If a b-boy obliterates his opponent in one category, but loses in the other 4 then it’s a done deal, end of story. The dancer with the most categories wins the round.

Now I’m not trying to convince anybody who reads this to become converted to be a Menno fan, although that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. What I am trying to say is that just because you disagree with a result, perhaps you shouldn’t be too quick to judge. I guarantee many of you out there criticizing these professional tournaments and professional dancers aren’t quite at the level of competition as these dancers. There’s always something new to learn. If you don’t think so, you’re denying yourself an opportunity to gain and apply some new knowledge.

Also, it’s important to respect the judges’ decisions. Judging is never an easy job. And even though most of them really could care less of what some teenager says on Facebook, he or she is still trying to be fair and represent as a dancer, for his or her crew, their country, and this amazing culture we call hip-hop.

Yes, we compete. You win some, you lose some. But you never completely lose when you represent your style and when you represent your best self, and Menno has indeed done a great job at doing that.