The documentary Inside the Circle, which won the Lone Star States' audience award at SXSW this year, is one of the most energetic, kinetic films I've seen in recent memory. Perhaps the subject matter is the reason: the movie takes us into the world of contemporary breakdancers, known as "b-boys" these days. (There are also b-girls, but they didn't get much screen time in this film.) This isn't the goofy stereotypical breakdancing we remember from the 1980s, but dancing that requires endurance and skills. The dance moves are impressive, especially the ability to freeze in the middle of complicated moves. The soundtrack from Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma certainly helped spread the energy, too.
The movie opens with a b-boy competition in a club that quickly moves out into the streets -- it's one of the B-Boy City competitions. We meet Romeo Navarro, the founder of B-Boy City, which has been going on annually in Austin since 1997. Later, we meet the other two b-boys around which the film centers: Josh (at left in the above photo) and Omar (at right), who begin the film as good friends. They're still in high school when the film starts, but they spend hours every day rehearsing their dance routines. Both are part of different teams: Omar joins the Jive Turkeys, who have won B-Boy City before, and Josh joins the Masterz of Mayhem, a team based out of the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The Masterz of Mayhem gladly drive the five hours to Austin to compete.