On August 27, New York/Boston/Minnesota’s Last Samurai reigned supreme at New York City’s largest annual breakdance tournament as they battled –and defeated— some of the best dance crews from the U.S. and Canada to be named the 2016 McDonald’s B-Boy Royale Grand Champion. The three-person team comprised of Brooklyn’s Thias ‘Thesis’ Lopez, 24, Boston’s Alex Diaz ‘El Niño’, 25, and Minnesota’s Joseph ‘MN Joe’ Tran, 27, bested New York/Philadelphia’s Beast Coast in front of a sell-out crowd at the NYU Skirball Center to win $5,000 and an invitation to defend their title at B-Boy Royale 4 in 2017.
In addition to Last Samurai and Beast Coast, B-Boy Royale 3 featured six other award-winning crews vying for this year’s championship title: Beat Whakz (New Jersey/Philadelphia), The Brothers (Dallas/Houston/New Jersey), Gravity Benders (Wisconsin), Maximum Efficiency Crew (Toronto), Optimistic Crew (Minnesota) and Raw Dynamic (New York/Jersey).
“Even though all three members are from different cities and backgrounds, we celebrate our experiences and each other through dance,” said Last Samurai’s Thias ‘Thesis’ Lopez. “The chemistry and vibes Joe, Niño and I shared on stage definitely pushed us through for tonight’s win.”
“All the crews battled and pushed themselves to the absolute limit tonight but Last Samurai had something extra special about them,” said lead judge Abigail “A-B-girl” Herrara, an acclaimed breaker with 20 years in the breaking scene. “These are extremely talented b-boys who possess that rare combination of style, technique and creativity.”
Hosted by rapper MC Jin and HOT 97 deejay Laura Stylez, the event also honored legendary dancer/actor Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers, star of the 80’s classics Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, for his contributions to the breakdance world throughout a career that spans four decades. He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Taimak, the equally iconic star of The Last Dragon.
Serving as a fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the New York Tri-State Area, B-Boy Royale 3 also raised over $10,000 through ticket proceeds for the non-profit organization, which creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Christopher Perry, Executive Director of Ronald House McDonald Charities of the New York Tri-State Area, was present to receive the check.
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