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Peabody is in a phunk

PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Breakdancer Spydey, left, and Kid Glyde compete during the Competitive Breakin’ League’s Mid-Atlantic North Regionals at Phunk Phenomenon BR Boys Dance Studio.

By LEAH DEARBORN

PEABODY — Dancers hit the floor kicking, spinning and worming for the regional championship of The Competitive Breakin’ League (CBL) on Saturday night.

Two age groups took the floor at Phunk Phenomenon on Andover Street in a series of dance-offs that included competitors as young as 5.  

Sue Clerge and her son, Kyle Clerge, 14, traveled to Peabody from Valley Stream, N.Y., for the competition.

“I saw a break dancing place in the neighborhood and I wanted to try it out,” said Kyle Clerge.

Clerge said that he prefers break dancing, which was recently added as a category in the Youth Olympic Games, over more traditional sports.

Winthrop resident Jodi Rice said her son John started break dancing five years ago at the age of 7. Now he dances with Lil Phunk, the official junior dance team of the Boston Celtics.

Victor “Kid Glyde” Alicea, son of legendary break dancer Glyde, took home the gold medal for the adult division of the regional contest.

“It’s about getting over self-doubt,” said Alicea. “Finding out what you’re able to do and what you’re not able to do. It’s difficult, but rewarding.”

The CBL was founded in Washington, D.C. by longtime dancer Antonio Castillo in 2014 to provide youth in the area with a creative outlet.

“With dancing it’s such a personal thing,” said Castillo, who also founded the Lab D.C. Breakin’ School. “I think it really gives them identity and helps build character.”

Castillo, who started dancing at a young age and grew up to make a career from the art, said he wants to help his students take their own aspirations to a professional level.

Castillo said the Boston-area break dancing scene is huge, although a common misconception is that people think the style of dance came to an end decades ago.

“It’s going to blow up really fast,” he said. “It’s bigger than ever before … I wish there was breaking school when I was kid.”

Castillo said the winners of Saturday’s regional competition will go on to the national Rock the Box championship event later this year.

Phunk Phenomenon founder Reia Briggs-Connor said their second dance studio in Peabody opened within the past year, and she’s looking for new students from the immediate area.

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Leah Dearborn can be reached at [email protected]

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