What inspires a person to create a new sport? This was the question that faced Curtis Hedges, co-owner of the OBS Group whose original copyright of the I.B.S.S (International Breakdance Score System), was a diagram for judging Breakdancing battles that laid the visual blueprint for the modern day sport (face-to-face dance move exchanges).
“You push yourself to the limits just to be good enough to enter a battle but you quickly learn that the judges and promoters don’t offer valid results. They just point to who they prefer. Preference is subject to a multitude of personal biases’ and with no objectivity at all, you never truly get a result but instead: an opinion. Each Breakin move has a name, and it’s obvious to the laymen that some Breakin moves are more dangerous to perform than others. I saw the absence of this as an opportunity to create something that would address the battles in a meaningful way and that is what I did.” – Curtis “Pan” Hedges
Since the birth of Breakdancing which was inspired by African celebratory dances, martial arts and tap dancers, the discipline has evolved worldwide with breakers doing gravity defying movements considered impossible by early practitioners. Until recent times, America has started to loosen up on the stigma it developed with Breakdancing from the 80’s.
Curtis has been continuously Breakdancing since 1987. In those days being a breakdancer kept you from being bullied and allowed you safe passage through dangerous neighborhoods. “The streets talk, they remember. My parent’s generation never understood this”. At the age of 17, Curtis had ambitions to make a career as a Breakdancer, something most people would advise is not a smart idea. In 1997 Curtis co-started a dance crew called the Jive Tribe Breakers that participated in numerous crew battles throughout the 90’s. Through that first-hand experience of being subjected to immeasurable opinions the team came to understand that there was a need for a score system. Through trial and error at the crew’s many garage practices, they created and copyrighted the I.B.S.S. as a simple yet effective diagram that would be used to judge a battle.
2 years after the Jive Tribe Breakers had formed, members Andres and Eric Barraza had made it onto the Guinness Book World Records TV show for headspins and windmills respectively in 1999. Shortly after the airing of the program the team was presented with the opportunity to judge at New Zealand’s biggest Breakdance contest on Aug 10th 2000 called Raw Stylez 2 hosted by the New Zealand government, Ecko Clothing and Saatchi & Saatchi. It was here where the I.B.S.S. was first tested by the Jive Tribe Breakers in front of a crowd of 2500 enthusiasts. This was the first time in the history of Breakdancing where a copyrighted scoring diagram was used to accurately depict winners of a battle.
Over the next 10 years Curtis would go off and conduct several additional contests all using the I.B.S.S. and even co-producing a TV show pilot called Sport Breakers with RHC productions. Around 2010 Curtis stopped competing in Breakin battles to pursue other ventures in film and technology incubation such as the birth of the hoverboard. During this same time-period Adriano Pappalardo started down the path of creating a Syllabus for Breakin, something that never existed before in Breakdance.
Fast forward to 2017 when an unexpected announcement was made about the 2018 Youth Summer Olympics: Breakdancing would debut in Argentina as a sport. This was a surprise to the general Breakin community who didn’t consider Breakin a sport. This announcement sparked Curtis’ interest in seeing if his copyright would be considered for the games, but the organizing body behind it had a different approach in mind. After the judging results behind the Youth Olympics were made public, Curtis noticed many visual similarities between the diagram they used and that of his own copyright 18 years earlier. This was Curtis’ first clue that the I.B.S.S. had inspired the modern day sport of Breakin.
A year after the YOG in 2019, Curtis met and teamed up with Adriano Pappalardo to expand on his syllabus. As the two started to formalize Adriano’s work it had become obvious that more was going to be needed in order to uphold the work being created, so a formal holdings group and oversight committee was created to oversee the copyrights and their use in the commercial market. Enter the creation of the Official Breakin Syllabus (OBS) Group.
“Sports keep a score or have a finish line, there are measurables, something that can be quantified. Breakin can certainly also carry measurables and metrics, and therefore can indeed carry forward an objective conclusive result. There is room for artistry and expression in the OBS score system alongside a competent measurement system. It’s not difficult to have artistry and expression alongside a qualitative and quantitative approach. A competent system eradicates judging errors based on personal bias’ and loosely defined measurement systems or pure personal preference. This is a formal sport now and as such we need consistent congruent measurement systems with every single word and term relating to every move or step explained in perfect detail. The athlete must know exactly why he won and lost, and this information must also be relayed to the audience in a way they are educated on the sport and how it actually functions competitively. The OBS group has found the way. The sport is making Breakdancers around the world primetime athletes and with that we must have the proper competent structure to support them.” – Adriano “Strech” Pappalardo
Adriano became and is currently the President of the OBS Group. He was born in South Africa in the 80’s and has been dancing since the late 90’s with the first generation of hip-hop dancers. These pioneers, as you would call them, ushered it all into Johannesburg, South Africa before the widespread availability of MTV, Internet and other sources of American media. He has worked on national TV as a dancer, had the opportunity of touring Paris with some of South Africa’s legends including: Johnny Clegg and Miriam Makeba. As a professional dancer he would even dance a choreographed show for Miss South Africa and appear in Music videos. As an athlete he competed vigorously in South Africa winning countless events, and also in Europe and America. As a host and community leader he would arrange many local competitions and events giving money, prizes and credit to other upcoming dancers. Adriano was the first ever national president of the sport of Breakin in 2021, managing a national federation under SABA. He has also been involved in organizing breakdance competitions abroad, and judged many too. Under Adriano’s leadership the OBS Group has pioneered the first textbook for Breakdance called the OBS Book available now on Amazon. This work scientifically expresses aspects of Breakin never before explored in this way such as: music theory and how it exactly relates to breakin, anatomy and physiology and how it relates to breaking specifically, proper conditioning and stretching techniques, nutrition and energy expenditure as applied to the sport and moves, Mechanisms of Injury and Rehab there-to, and a 3-year college level course on Breakin.
As Curtis and Adriano progressed with the OBS other pioneers and creators started to join as individual owners:
Kim-A-Kazi Valente who is considered a first generation Bgirl from the Dynamic Dolls and was featured in the movie Beat Street, choreographed and danced at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 with Ronald Reagan in attendance and is a published author considered by many to be the Queen of Breakdancing. She acts as the mother of the OBS Group and is a wonderful example of a female leader who excelled in a male dominated discipline.
Dolby Dotanuki, known as the “king of the cobblestones”, is recognized as a first generation Breaker from London, an accomplished music producer under his own record label Click Clack Records, an event organizer and has conducted numerous workshops with Breakin.
Kocsis Peter is a world champion Breakdancer under the name Bboy Special from a dance crew called Elementary Force / Suicide Lifestyle and has numerous International championships, awards and shows under his belt. A rebel on the dance floor, Kocsis was awarded the top prize at Battle of the Year in 1998 as best dancer.
Angelo Van Wyk is a world champion Breakdancer and Dj with the Black Noize Breakers out of South Africa. As a community leader Angelo has organized numerous Breakn events, all style dance competitions and workshops for underserved youth.
Vlado Smud, known as Bboy Atomic Roc, is a croatian Hip Hop organizer and community leader who heads a private production company sponsoring dancers and has been involved in numerous Breakin related events.
The Official Breakin Syllabus (OBS) Group is the first organization of its kind for the world of Breakin that acts as an international holdings group, a watchdog for safe athletics, and an oversight committee united worldwide for the education, preservation and fair assembly to the art, dance and sport of Breakin.
The group specializes with the following services: NGO and Sporting Organization Adjudication, Individual Dancer and Teacher/Coach certification, League, Federation and National Team building accreditation tools, Competition Promotions, Hip Hop Anthological archiving, Career dancer resources.
ighlights of the Intellectual holdings consist of 4 copyrights, 2 publications, 1 Ethereum ERC-1155, 3 Unstoppable domains (OBSGroup.crypto, OBSGroup.dao, Breakdance.dao), 1 Polygon ERC-721, 3 Sandbox OBS Metaverse Avatars, and 28 Breakin related DNS Domains.