Even though Millennium Funk’n is not as big as the Millennium Falcon, their mission is the same: to save the galaxy. While the spaceship from Star Wars uses giant radar and blaster cannons, the dance crew has their own weapon — the love of dance.
“Our dream is to go to the world, the galaxy, spread the love of street dance and hip hop culture, and save the galaxy,” said team member and popping dancer Marty Bernard.
Millennium Funk’n, which consists of Marty and his wife, house dancer Anna Martynova Bernard, decided to organize what they call ‘a friendly competition with a cash prize’.
With Millennium Funk’n Battle, which takes place at the Dancemakers Centre in Distillery District on February 19th, Anna and Marty want to encourage street dancers to demonstrate their styles. The 1st place prize will be $400 and the 2nd place will take $100. The participants will battle two on two in hip hop, house, waacking, popping, locking, dancehall, and other styles.
Anna, who is on the judge panel, shared the criteria she will use to select the winners. She will judge dancers’ musicality, technique, and energy. Marty said the musicality is a key point, no matter which style the dancers belong to.
“Being b-boy or b-girl means to be on beat. If you are not on beat, it doesn’t really matter what you are doing,” he said.
The guest judges will be house dancer Knox and two poppers — Miles Boog and Jinoo Muther. These amazing dancers are always ready to help organize dance events, Marty said.
There are many surprises to be expected. For example, for complete fairness the third judge will be randomly selected from the dancing crowd at each round.
Besides the dancers, two DJ crews — Andy B Bad & M4RS and Iced Misto & Soul Secta — will battle too! Each on them will be assigned to play for one side of the dance floor. If the dancers on their side win the round, then that DJ crew gets a point. At the end of the night, the crew with the most points wins $300. The second place gets $200.
The battle will be hosted by Marty and his co-host Daniel Keith Morrison from the Moon Runners crew.
Marty and Anna say their event is important for young dancers as it helps them to believe in themselves and to learn from each other.
“It’s vital to have kids involved in something that is positive and keep them out of distraction that might send them on the wrong path,” said Marty.
Marty and Anna themselves never limited their styles to one, but they found their favourite.
Anna, who teaches house dance at The Underground Dance Centre on Richmond St., describes her style in one word — freedom.
“You can choose wherever you wanna be, whatever you feel like,” she said. “Today, for example, I feel like dancing to deep house with some lady-vocals. Sometimes I’m in a mood for something like techno-house or funky-house, something more aggressive. You can always find a different type of house music, and it’s amazing.”
Marty’s main style is popping. He got into it when he was 14. The dancers who inspired him were Krazybonez and Neo of Ground Illusionz from his hometown, Mississauga. Marty was fascinated with their robotic moves that reminded him of the structure of a track with moving sound waves. Later he had a chance to learn the techniques from well-known popper Popsicle Pete, which helped him to win his first dance battle.
“I remember when I was popping I was very nervous,” Marty said. ” And one of the guys from the crew said, Yo, open up! And I looked at him and was like, Ok, I’ll just change it up. And I ended up winning the battle. After that I continued battling.”
Millennium Funk’n Battle will start at 5 p.m. and continue until the last dancer on the floor finishes. Those who want to participate can sign up on the event page wall on Facebook and show up with a pair of indoor shoes. No heels.
The battle will be recorded by Kevin Kim and posted to his YouTube channel.