It's our 40th Anniversary year and we're digging into our archives for a peak into our past. We found this gem of a photo and a few corresponding articles from our first Break-Dancing competition in 1985!

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Portsmouth Youths Get to Break with the Best

By Michael Berg, Portsmouth Bureau Chief, Foster's Daily Democrat

Photo caption: Zachary Lambert, 4, of New Castle shows his break-dancing form at the Children's Museum of Portsmouth's first break-dancing contest Saturday (Democrat photo - Berg)

Portsmouth - High culture took a great leap backward, energetic good times a great leap forward and three dozen Seacoast youngsters took great leaps, spins and slides in every direction as the Children's Museum of Portsmouth hosted its first break-dancing contest Saturday afternoon.

A crowd estimated at 150 packed the museum to the rafters as children from 4- to 14-years-old got a chance to show off their high-speed gyrations, jerky synchronized arm and head motions, and full-length beached-whale-like dives - all to the thumping beat of funk and rock music blasting from a portable cassette deck. A three-member panel of judges - Roni Hudson, president of the Soda Pop football league and Soda Pop Sixpack children's breakdance team, Juan Whitlock of Portsmouth High School group Poppin' Express, and Greg Evans of the U.S Air Force's Apple Jam Crew - selected the most talented and flashy dancers as the best in each age group.

But the emphasis was not on competition; it was on the sheer exhilaration and enjoyment of the dancing.

"This is really a contest for kids and a celebration of interest in break dancing," said museum coordinator Alice Boatwright.

"The emphasis is on being here, doing it and sharing what you've been learning with each other."

Break Dancing Contest

By Dwight Adams, Staff Writer, Portsmouth Herald

Photo captions: Double Trouble - Left to Right - Keith "The Neutron" Kintner and Randy "Electra" Cadieux
Good Balance - Danny Edge is shown balancing precariously during his break dancing routine Saturday. Edge was the winner in 13-14 age group and will compete again at the Children's Museum on March 2, during theWinter Carnival. (Staff photo by Adams).

Portsmouth's future break dancers brought their act to the Children'sMuseum Saturday, as pre-schoolers through teenagers came out of the cellar and tried their new moves in public.

An appreciative audience crowded onto the second floor to watch local kids spin on their shoulders, heads and outstretched hands, as well as slide across the floor in a slow-motion moonwalk - Michael Jackson style.

Of course, nobody yesterday was quite that good, but the group of parents and awe-struck youngsters weren't keeping score.

Someone who was, "Magic" Juan Witlock of the International Poppin' Express dance crew, served as one of the contest's judges and was impressed at the budding talent of several dancers.

"The moonwalk is not as hard as it looks," Whitlock says, "and some of these kids are already doing it,"

One young breaker, "Jammin" Jason Laliberte of Portsmouth thinks the moonwalk is actually "kinda old" and he likes to practice harder moves like the windmill. That's done by spinning from shoulder to shoulder while jack-knifing your legs into the air.

Jason, who has been breakin' for just two years is a natural and already a working member of a local professional dance troupe, The Apple Jam Crew.

Throughout the contest his peers kept calling out "Jammin Jason," and Jason says he's never seen some of them. All that fame at the age of 10; how does he handle it?

"I like being known by the other kids," he says, "besides I get paid for dancing."

Jason enjoys break dancing ecause of the "style" inherent, and he's already started teaching some moves to his friends. He also like to listen to a tape of the "Fat Boys" when he's practicing.

Every dancer brought his own favorite cassette tape along to play in the portable stereo during their short routines.

Thirty-two young breakers participated in four age groups.

The winners of each age group will participate in a dance contest at the Children's Museum on March 2, during the Winter Carnival.

Those winners were Zachary Lambert in the under 5 category, Kepir Connel in the 5-7, Jason Lalibert in 8-10, Adam Medros in 11-12 and Danny Edge in 13-1. Danny Edge, David Rix and Gregg Gavutis were named best dancers overall, with Keith Kintner winning for best routine.

Break dancing first started in the early 1970s in the streets of Harlem and the Bronx in New York City.

City youth who would have traditionally fought each other in rumbles, instead turned to "battles" of fancy footwork on city sidewalks, rooftops or anywhere the surface was flat. They were called just "B-Boys" back then.

Break dancing has now become big business however, with featured dancers in many of Manhattan's trendiest discos and in several recent Hollywood movies.

Greg Evans, choreographer for the Apple Jam Crew and one of yesterday's contest judges, thinks the break dancing trend may eventually "fade away" even though there are nearly a dozen break dancing crews on the Seacoast today.

But he said the individualism of this free-spirit's sport won't die out; from the colorful caps and bandanas dancers wear around their ankles to the crazy names they call themselves, like "Ice Cube" "Kid Zulu," "Atomic," "Neutron."

"Break dancing is self expression when you come right down to it," Evans says. "No two people are alike and that's when the street names come in. They help you identify each dancer."