Street dancers of all creeds converged in North Las Vegas for a showcase and fundraiser put on to raise money for Tunay Ink, a street dance studio downtown that’s ailing financially.
The Dr. William U. Pearson Community Center on West Carey Avenue was bustling with dancers in Nikes, Chucks and stripes, the unofficial uniform of hip hoppers and b-boys. Tunay swag and gift cards were raffled off, street superstars Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, Bailey “Bailrok” Munoz, Jeff “J Boogie” Kelley and Ariah “Baby Wockee” made appearances, and attendees threw down in battles all over the place.
Impromptu battles aside, several performances by Las Vegas crews brought some serious funk to the event. Ground Zero, Hypnotix, Heartbreakerz, High Profile and Virtuouz Dance Krew all demonstrated the breadth of street dance and the individuality inherent in all facets of these variations.
Chris Gorney, cohost of the event, kept things lively and interesting in between performances and emphasized the importance of having a studio like Tunay.
“The word [Tunay] means real, true and genuine,” Gorney said. “We’re really trying to keep that studio alive and that’s what we’re all here for today.”
This was the thread running through the showcase. Bailrok, a pint-sized member of Rock Steady Crew, The Prodigy and Future Funk, agreed with Gorney.
“We should all help Jojo because he did a lot for the hip hop community,” he said.
Despite these declarations, the mood of the evening was anything but somber. Contagious energy abounded and an undercurrent of affectionate competition washed over battles. Scoo B Doo, largely regarded as locking royalty, underscored this.
“Everybody, everybody should love dancing because it makes you happy,” he said. “Politics has got to stay out of this. It’s a battle when ou get out on the floor, but you still love each other.”
Tunay owner Jojo Peralta manned the mic at the end of the show and talked about challenges Tunay is facing, but also of the studio’s unifying presence for the street dance community in Las Vegas.
“We got a hard-core crew,” he said, eliciting cheers and fist-pumps. “That’s what’s really going to keep things going.”