Get to know the reigning Red Bull BC One World Champ.
Two years, five championships. Since the start of 2015, few b-boys have come close to matching the dominance of Victor Montalvo. "Vicious" Victor has won a ridiculous five b-boy championships in that span, including the 2015 Red Bull BC One World Championship. Now he's looking to keep things rolling and defend his title Dec. 3 at the 2016 BC One World Final in Japan. Read more to get up to speed with one of the world's top b-boys and see some of the top battles from his incredible run.
1. Breaking runs in his family
Growing up in Orlando, Florida, Victor was exposed to b-boying at a young age. His father started breaking in his native Mexico in the 1980s and taught Victor and his siblings b-boy basics when he was 6. He stopped for a few years but went all-in at 11 when a cousin got heavy into b-boying and invited Victor to join.
"My cousin was like, 'Vic,' come to my room,'" Victor said in an interview with RedBull.com. "He started teaching me windmills and footwork. I would stand outside his door thinking, ‘I want to break so bad,’ but I was too shy to go into his room. For the rest of my life, I’ve been breaking."
2. He learned from the OGs
Victor is a student of the original generation b-boys, those who created the moves and style he carries on today. He cites BC One All Stars Roxrite, Lil G and Neguin as influences, along with New York's legendary Rock Steady Crew. Now that his success has brought him close to many of his idols, Victor looks to them for advice to push his breaking to the next level.
"I listen to them and put everything they say into my breaking," he said. "A lot of b-boys listen to the OGs, but they don’t really add it to their breaking because they think, ‘Oh, that’s a bunch of old guys talking crap, they don’t know anything.’ But those simple steps they have can make a big impact. I take everything, even the simple things, and make them my own."
3. His versatility and mindset give him an edge
"I can dance, I can do all the crazy acrobatic stuff, I have style and I respect the culture," Victor said. "I have knowledge of where it came from, and I try to be original, too. I have everything, I’m an all-around b-boy. That's what sets me apart."
He maintains his peak performance with a dedicated training regimen. He keeps a healthy diet, and splits his training between hardcore drills and workouts and time spent dancing to have fun and maintain his love for b-boying. But when he's in a battle, he's laser focused, never holding back.
"A lot of b-boys, they’re in the top 16 and they’re thinking about what moves to save for the final battle," he said. "Then they end up losing because they didn’t give it their all. You’re battling top competitors, the best b-boys in the world, so you can’t hold back. I just think about smoking [the opponent]. When they battle me, I’m not going to give it up easy. It’s going to be a war, but I have fun with it too."
4. B-boying isn't just dance — it's his culture
Victor believes in being more than just a b-boy. He wants to be involved in every element of b-boy culture and is learning how to DJ and MC. It's something he learned from the OGs, who taught him that being a b-boy is about staying active in the culture with dance, music and graffitti.
"Nowadays, most people just do one thing," he said. "I feel like going into other stuff like DJing and MCing really helps your breaking. You get inspired more."
And he isn't just inspired by the older generation's moves; he loves the music. For Montalvo, the old school hip-hop that moved the original b-boys is still the music that gets him pumped to dance.
"We still listen to the music from the 1970s and it’s so dope," he said. "I love that kind of music. It will always be old school. I can’t break to new school hip-hop music. Breaking is all about [songs like] 'Apache.' That’s the b-boy anthem. When they play it, I get hype.”
5. He's not done yet
Victor's 2015 was unprecedented. No other b-boy has won four international titles in a single year. Now he's aiming for another first — back-to-back Red Bull BC One World Championships. He names Sunni, Pocket, Issei and Thesis, who recently won Silverback 2016, as his top competition.
But it's not all about the titles — even with all of his success, Victor's love of b-boying comes from the community gatherings the public rarely sees.
"People don’t know what b-boying really is," he said. "It’s a lifestyle, it’s an art. I think a lot of people just see the competition side of it, the big stage. There’s way more to b-boying than big stage battles — it's about the cyphers, the circles where there are no cameras. When I’m cyphering with real b-boys who know how to dance and have their own style, it’s like an out-of-body experience. You can feel the energy."