• interview by Y-Roc • photos by Kien and Carlo

B-boy Yuri Talks BC One, His Hopes for the Future

In the breaking world, Brazil is known for high-flying tricks, crazy powermoves, and Capoiera.

B-boy Yuri (24) of DF Zulu Breakers brings the entire package--and he does it all with undeniable freshness.

Hailing from Brasilia, Yuri has been breaking for 11 years and a member of DF Zulu for 8. He exploded onto the West Coast breaking scene when he took the BC One Cypher in LA last month.

But Yuri wasn’t always the steezy sensation we know today. He says he was a weird-ass kid and still considers himself shy.

He blessed me with some of his time, and we talked a bit about his past, his inspirations, his struggles, and his hopes for the future.

What brings you to LA?

So, I’m trying to stay in Europe, but I’m living back and forth between Europe (Copenhagen), and LA.

What do you have going on in Copenhagen?

I’m trying to dance, get opportunities to teach workshops.

And I’ve got some friends over there and I was doing some shows with my friends with a dance company called Uppercut Dance Theater (Uppercut Danse Teater). Everything dance.

How did you get down with DF Zulu?

I met some friends back in 2010. And we were just friends. Some of them, they were already members of DF Zulu Breakers. [Eventually] they decided to recruit some new members. Since my friends and I we were connected already, I just got in with my friends.

How did you start breaking?

I started with Capoiera first.

But man, I was a weird-ass kid. I didn’t even like music or any of that kind of stuff.

But back in my childhood I was already a lover of movement, you know—what the human can do. Even like walking differently, trying ways to get up off your back.

I remember it like yesterday bro. I was trying to learn windmills in my room, it was so small. And I was seeing some TV, some video clips with a guy from Brazil. There were a lot of b-boys doing windmills and flares and that kind of stuff.

But I was like, impacted by windmills. “I want to learn that s---!”

I just put it in slowmo, and practiced everyday. And I think only my dad was watching it. My dad’s not a b-boy or anything with hip hop, but he was watching me day by day when I was learning.

And when I got a lot of windmills, I just showed my dad. “Look what I learned!” And I hit my face on the ground but I kept doing it.

So your parents are pretty supportive of you?

Thanks to God. They support me a lot. So now it’s been a little bit tough for me because I decided to fly out of Brazil, and then I’m living in Copenhagen.

And I’ve got nephews, I’ve got a niece, I’ve got a sister, I’ve got Dad and Mom. And we were like, connected—helping each other. And then I’m a long time without seeing them.

Do you get back to see them?

I really want to. But I also really want to try, you know? Try to get some opportunities to come up.

I’m sure your family will be happy about you winning this.

Thank God bro. To be true, I just…it’s unbelievable.

What was going through your head when they raised your hand?

Christ. Literally. I was holding Neguin’s hand. But I thought, you know—it’s Nico. Come on, man.

Then, when I felt my hand go up, I thought “What? What? WHAT?!” (laughs)

What were you thinking during the final battle?

Oh my god. Bro, it was so crazy. Because I got here feeling issues, you know? And those issues got me mad hard. And my body looked ready but my brain was not.

[In the cypher] I got up every time like “What’s going on? What’s going on?”

Houston’s next. How are you feeling about it?

Bro. I’m going to dedicate as much as I can to it.

I learned a lot [tonight]. Like, even how to take care of myself.

For me it was so good to see a lot of people here, people I saw years ago. And even some of them don’t remember me because I look a little bit different now. But for me, it was very good, and to share some talks and see some things. It was like “Whoa! I have memories back with these guys and girls.”

Were you able to reconnect?

With some of them. Because I’m a little bit shy. So sometimes I stay close to someone or near to someone that I really like.

You don’t have your crew with you here. How are you managing that?

I miss my crew so hard. I learned a bunch, a ton from them. Even life things. And I’m so far away from them—an ocean away.

But at least I’ve got my friends, like BGSK friends. They really inspire me—Eddie and Trigger, Frost. They’re so raw and such cool people.

Every day when I practice with them, I’m like “F---!” And they’re so f---ing nice, all of them. I’m feeling them, and they’re a family. And it reminds me of my crew, and I just think—wow, that’s dope. You feel me?

Who in your crew taught you?

I learned from almost all of them. But a guy I grew up with, was Robin, a guy from my hood, same city as me. And I think sometimes he taught me some things, but sometimes I just learned by watching him. And a homie named Tsud.

And the leader is Migaz. And bro. He’s super sick. Like, SUPER sick. In life, in breaking. He’s like a dad. Bro, I’ve gotten mad inspired from every single one of them. Thayson.

But when I started breaking, and the first ever thing I saw was Red Bull BC One 2005. It was the first thing I ever saw, bro. And at the end of 2006, I got mad inspired by Hong 10. This guy was like, the guy. I learned dance before, but when I saw this dude, I literally tried to be him. He’s helped me a lot, even if he doesn’t know it.

Did you talk to him? He was a judge.

(Laughs, smiles) No, I didn’t talk to him.

What’s your plan for the future?

I really want to have a lot of fun. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to live some things I’ve never lived before. Things I’ve never seen before.

[This interview has been lightly edited for clarity]

#interview #culture


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