Award Winning Russian Break Dancer Lil’Phat

Break dancing is still alive and well, contrary to rumors of its demise. Some people are under the impression that break dancing disappeared in the mid-1980' s, but that is simply wrong. It never disappeared, it just went underground, took a vacation and came back out in the 1990's stronger and more complex and captivated a whole new generation with its athletic capabilities and artistic, inimitable moves.

A notable member of that new break dancing generation is the award-winning Russian break dancer Lil’Phat. Although he studied economics at Vladivostok State University he was immersed in break dancing along with other sports like swimming, handball and volleyball. At one point he decided to only concentrate on break dancing and he became a competitive dancer.

Lil’Phat, whose birth name is Ilia Igorevich Openchuk, sees break dancing as a sport. It is extremely physically demanding and it takes a lot of intensive practice to perfect each and every move he does in front of an audience. He has been break dancing for 13 years, which represents thousands of hours practicing on floors whether they are padded with cardboard, carpet or not at all. He has had many bruises, bumps and injuries but nothing has kept him away from that sport that he loves best.

He has won numerous awards competing all over the world including, Russia (of course), Korea, Europe, The United States and China. He and his crew “Derevo” have become break dancing legends in Russia and have become world-class break dancers who can compete head to head with any crew in the world. Besides dancing, Lil’Phat has also coached students who wanted to learn how to break dance. He was the breaking coach at Vladivostok from 2012 to 2017 at the well-known dance studio “Forma.” It is one of the best dance studios in the Far East and is known throughout Russia and many other countries in Europe and Asia.

Lil’Phat has learned a great deal about the human body in the thirteen years he has been break dancing. The coach in him will tell you that just as in any sport, the break dancer must warm up before setting foot on the dance floor. He will also tell you that as you become older you will need to warm up for longer periods of time. Everyone has his or her own methods of training because there hasn’t been a common system that fits all of us. He says that preparation won’t guarantee that you can spin or move on your arms. It doesn’t depend on strength, it depends on practice and your body getting accustomed to new physical moves.

Entertainment news, features & interviews by Amber Claire.