One of the most prominent figures in New York’s B-Boy scene is Victor Alicea aka Kid Glyde), who was introduced to breaking through his father: B-Boy Glyde. Kid Glyde became the president of the iconic Dynamic Rockers back in 2003 and oversaw the crew through some of the most ferocious years of NYC breaking in the mid-to-late 2000s. “We would just go at it, even at practice,” he says over the phone. “You just don’t see that anymore. It was very competitive and we trained to beat each other. It wasn’t about the money, it wasn’t about the prize, it was nothing. It was just ‘[I’ve] got to get these guys’.”
Kid Glyde has since diverted his efforts from competing towards education and community work within the dance scene. He is one of the founding members of the Kids Breaking League (KBL), which has allowed for young breakers to learn the artform in a more organized fashion. The KBL's approach is to treat breaking like a sports league, similar to how other youth sports function: the kids take lessons at their respective studios, and regularly compete against students across New York City, all of which culminates into a final championship.
Below Kid Glyde gives insight into the Dynamic Rocker’s history, the evolution of New York’s B-Boy scene, and his aspirations for KBL.
How did you first get introduced to breaking and hip-hop?
I've always been around hip-hop, and when I was younger, I just really liked to dance. My dad was a B-Boy, so I would watch him do his thing. I was one of those kids that would just go on the floor and just go crazy and do whatever. I always loved hip-hop because of the music and the way it made me feel. When I first got into breaking, I had just moved in with my father because, you know, he was traveling a lot and my parents divorced when I was young. But I guess he was settling down and he was like, “Hey, want to live with me?” I was like 11 years old, and I was like “Yeah, why not.” I wanted to get to know him, and that's how I got into breaking.
The Dynamic Rockers is one of the long-lasting NYC breaking crews. Can you give us some general history about how the crew came about and what led to you becoming president?
Dynamic Rockers has been around since 1978. It started as a group of guys from Queens. They were always about lifting the kids up and building up their self-esteem and confidence. My dad lived in Manhattan, but he would go to Queens to battle them all the time. They eventually asked him to be part of the crew, and they would start having different chapters around the boroughs. They couldn't beat Rock Steady at their own game, so they decided to create moves that people weren't doing.
When I became the leader in 2003, I felt like Dynamic Rocker’s legacy was so big. I was 20 years old, so it felt like a big responsibility. I had already had members, but we just didn't really battle like that, the crew wasn’t ready to go full out. I was also down with a crew called Full FX, and, in 2001, they were there to guide me and show me the ropes so when people called me out, they would be by my side. So while there was a dilemma with Full FX because I wanted to focus on the Dynamic Rockers, I decided to move forward and make it happen.
How has your vision for Dynamic Rockers changed over time?
At first it was just to establish the legacy, and make sure the crew was repped correctly. I wanted to live up to the history somehow, so I started learning more about Dynamic Rockers and the older generation. I saw that they really care about the future and, you know, Dynamic—we have our own way of doing things. So I started learning about that identity, and trying to implement that, which led me to teaching the next generation.
At first, I didn't want to teach because I was young and I just wanted to travel. I wanted to see the world; in our lives, we're not going to be able to see the whole world so you try to see as much as you can. And that's what made me better as a dancer: traveling around, seeing all the different dance styles, and learning from other people instead of just being in New York. Once I started to travel, I realized that there was so much more to breaking.
As breaking becomes more widespread with its involvement in the Olympics and further commercialization, do you worry that the cultural aspect will become irrelevant?
I think when more people are involved with something, it becomes less authentic. When I was young, we didn't have YouTube or the Internet. We just had VHS tapes... and when I first got into the scene, I bought every single VHS tape that I could find. go home, watch it with the crew and with friends. So I think that that's what builds up the culture. But now it’s different. Everything is very accessible, but I still feel there are going to be people that are going to be interested and realize that there's more to it. And just like with anything else that people really, really love, they're going to go looking for it. Everybody goes to what appeals to them the most. If moves appeal to them, then they’ll go to the moves. But the people who like the culture, like the dance, like the feeling—they’re going to go find what they want.
As a New York native, how has the NY breaking scene evolved over the years? Is there anything about the scene today that excites you about the future?
I think there are more opportunities now. It was more competitive around 2009-2011, because I remember our crew would be out to battle everybody. Our rivals were X-Fenz; we would just go at it, even at practice, and you just don’t see that anymore. It wasn’t it about the money, it wasn’t about the prize. We just thought, “[I’ve] got to get these guys.” I felt like we were one of the crews that helped make it competitive, and everybody just hated us. I didn't mind that, because it made everybody get better.
Now I think that there are so many opportunities and so much more networking. There isn’t so much of that battle aspect. And I think people are trying to keep the relations pretty cordial, you know, and I understand. But we're really focused on the future. There are a lot of newer breakers and I think that's something we needed to invest in with our time, because look at all the things that the new generation is doing out there in other countries—like Grom and all of them. Back then I feel like a lot of us didn't really have that support from our parents. But now the kids these days—especially, you know, since I work with kids on a regular basis—have parents that support them so much that they have that drive. And even if they feel like giving up, their parents are like “Nah, you need to practice.” Because they know that it is changing their kid’s lives. I think once I saw that, I knew I wanted to work with these kids because their parents are right behind them.
How did you come up with the idea of the Kids Breaking League?
Once I had my daughter, I started to settle down and teach. Before that, I said “I ain’t teaching at no dance studio,” like no way.his is a big responsibility. I was traveling around the world saying, “How are we going to be at the studio?” So finally, I had kids, I had to settle down, you know, learn the ropes, whatever. I would teach at these dance studios and these kids just wanted to battle. So the KBL founders are Rise, Spydey, Sarah, Indio, and myself.
Sarah was teaching more women, but we tried to implement what she was doing. So we decided, "Hey, you get your kids, I get my kids and let's battle.” We had them all come together, and we all sat back and saw the kids having the best time of their lives. Their parents were really happy, too. So I suggested doing this every three months, and that's where we started.
A year later, some other schools were like, “Can I come with my kids?” So I decided to start a league. It was scary, but I wanted to try to do this sports thing where every two, three weeks we had a schedule where kids went to different studios. And it worked. We had a championship, and everybody loved it. We had an awards ceremony and I was like…”this thing works.” A lot of the kids remind me of what I went through—I relate with them. You know, I go out and I watch these kids from like five years old to like eleven or twelve, and to see their progress is crazy.
What is your vision for KBL in the coming years?
Right now we're doing an online series with other countries like Canada and Colombia. The finals are going to be on June 19th in New Jersey, and it's going to be pretty official. Sometimes I have some of my kids battle here, and some of the contestants are online so I have a TV where they battle them.
I see KBL as something to get students ready for if they want to be in the Olympics or be a pro. I feel like this can be that thing where they can invest their time. KBL can be a place where they can express themselves and create their own community—and it’s basically the future of our community. That’s my goal: we're guiding you, but this is you getting ready. You know, KBL is its own community. So where I see it five years from now... definitely would love to be regional around the country, and would love to have little spots around the world if possible. But I just want it to be something that the kids look forward to.
Outside of winning competitions, what does it take for a crew to establish their legacy?
For instance, Dynamic Rockers, they had their legacy, they built their own niche. They were known for something. So I think a group needs to stick to something that makes them unique. Like the Jabbawockeez? You don’t see them battling, but they are great at performances and they created this legacy and now they're able to benefit from it. Same thing with any other crew. Take the Mighty Zulu Kingz; when people think of Mighty Zulu Kingz, they have an image of “oh, they're known for preserving the tradition Hip-Hop,” or “their breaking style is the original,” right? You have to build on the factors that make your crew stand out, and you create that legacy.