Whether they are breakdancing for the Sacramento Kings or auditioning for “America’s Best Dance Crew,” Kurt “the Hurt” Horiuchi and Quang Le are putting their best foot forward in college.
Horiuchi, a senior mathematics and philosophy major, and Le, a senior philosophy and psychology major, belong to the Sacramento Kings Breakers.
“We are a really new crew, so we haven’t done much. We auditioned for “America’s Best Dance Crew.” We didn’t make it to the show, but we did make the final round,” Le said. “The Kings Breakers have only been together for a year, so that’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
Both Le and Horiuchi have been breakdancing since middle school, but they embraced the B-boy scene for different reasons.
“I started breakdancing in middle school, when I didn’t really have a lot of friends,” Le said. “I would watch music videos … that’s how I learned to breakdance. I thought it would be a good way to make friends. It kind of worked.”
Horiuchi was roped into breakdancing by one of his middle school friends.
“His name is Victor Kim and is from the famous dance group, called Quest, from ‘America’s Best Dance Crew,'” Horiuchi said. “He essentially exposed me to the ‘B-boy’ scene, and thus the hip hop scene as well. I have been hooked ever since.”
Horiuchi and Le continued to breakdance throughout their educational careers. Like their orientations into breakdancing, their initial breakdancing experiences at UC Davis were poles apart.
“To maintain a high performance level you must practice very hard. Probably about as much as you need to study for the toughest classes you have ever taken,” Horiuchi said. “Balancing school and dance is like being Spiderman. It is almost like living two lives, an academic and a dance life.”
Horiuchi felt the pressure of his dual life when the Kings Breakers auditioned for “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
“The audition was the day before one of my finals. I planned way in advance so I started my studying for tests three weeks ahead of time, Horiuchi said. “During the trip I was studying and rehearsing all day. I don’t think I slept much that trip.”
Le, on the other hand, felt that UCD provided ample opportunities for a budding B-boy.
“I think being in college made it a lot easier for me to perform; there are more opportunities. The campus Breakdance Club formed when I started college … Also, I feel that there are more people that support you in college,” Le said.
The two friends met during their first years at Davis when Le saw Horiuchi practicing breakdancing moves at the Activities and Recreation Center.
“I was practicing by myself as I usually do and Quang showed up. We began talking and eventually did a few dance projects together,” Horiuchi said.
Le’s and Horiuchi’s big break came when Horiuchi’s twin brother, Vince, invited them to audition for the Sacramento King’s Entertainment Crew.
Auditions for the Entertainment Crew, called the ‘I Team” were in 2008.
“I had no idea how to prepare for it, because I didn’t know what to expect. I basically just tried to stand out as much as possible and to be charismatic. I did a breakdancing move in order to stand out,” Le said.
According to Le and Horiuchi, the Sacramento Kings I Team is responsible for throwing t-shirts out to the stands and setting up games to keep the crowd entertained during breaks.
“My brother had been on the I Team for a few years, but then our Sacramento Kings manager, Scott Freshour, had the idea of creating a B-boy performance group called the Kings Breakers,” Horiuchi said.
Freshour got the idea by seeing other NBA teams and their break dancing crews. Jaime Morse Mills, the Director of Public Relations for Maloof Sports & Entertainment, said the Sacramento Kings Breakers are part of a growing trend in basketball entertainment and have quickly become a fan favorite.
“Our goal is to always make the Kings game experience as entertaining as possible for our fans,” Mills said in an e-mail interview. “The Cleveland Cavaliers and former Seattle Supersonics both have breakdance teams, and we saw how much their fans enjoyed the show.”
Horiuchi and Le became part of a seven member crew in 2008 and have been dancing their way into the hearts of fans ever since.
“The Sacramento Kings Breakers are a very talented group of some of the Sacramento-area’s best breakdancers. We love having them as part of our entertainment team, and the fans love them, too,” Mills said.
Both Le and Horiuchi hope to continue breakdancing after college.
“As far as dancing goes, performing is where my heart is. If I can make a living doing that, then I would be so happy,” Horiuchi said.
To learn more about the Sacramento Kings Breakers, visit nba.com/kings/multimedia/kings_breakers.html
MEGAN ELLIS can be reached at email@example.com.