It all started with copying a helicopter-move that he saw on television. Niek Traa, top breakdancer from Eindhoven, remembers it clearly: “I was only eight years old and knew nothing of breakdancing. Nor did I know that the move I saw is called ‘a helicopter’. But I started practicing and soon I had mastered the move myself. I was a real bouncing ball as a child and always used to do somersaults and the like. Later on, I discovered breakdancing for real and figured out that I could take a course in it. And so I cycled 20 kilometers to Eindhoven for every training to stand upside down on my head.” He currently travels the world with amongst others the breakdance theater tour Adrenaline from The Ruggeds.
Since 2009, Niek organizes the World Bboy Classic with his team. The biggest two against two breakdance competition in the world, which again will take place this year during the EMOVES Urban Culture Festival. “The Effenaar changes into an arena for one day. We invite eight dancers from all over the world. They are unique in what they show. One hour before the competition starts, they are divided into duos. These eight are people we consider awesome and whom we believe fit the picture. A mix of young guns and veterans. The great 8 will battle against the winners of the preliminary rounds from all over the world. World Bboy Classic is not just about winning, but it is also about showing what you can do and taking inspiration from what others do. Eventually, what you will see is 32 breakdancing – but all completely different – people.”
“When it comes to breakdancing, here in Eindhoven you will find the highest level of the Netherlands. People from all over the world specifically visit this city to come train here.”
Again, World Bboy Classic takes place during the EMOVES Urban Culture Festival. “This festival is a beautiful showcase of what happens here and in the city in the field of urban sports. You can see world-class practitioners, and they are also professionals from Eindhoven who travel the entire world. When it comes to breakdancing, here in Eindhoven you will find the highest level of the Netherlands. People from all over the world specifically visit this city to come train here. It is very beautiful how our own city also sees what we do here and that this added value is acknowledged. Here in Eindhoven, we stand for doing things. We, for example, work together with 040 BMX Park and Skatepark Area51, because together we come further than we would individually do. We will be renovating for the first time and soon we will have more space and a shared canteen where all disciplines from the building can meet. It maybe seems as if it just landed in our laps, but of course that is not the case. We worked extremely hard on it for years and years. I am not aware of any place on earth where urban sports are as much intertwined as here in Eindhoven.”