Def Jam from Siam: Buriram boys win World Hip Hop title
The young breakdancing crew on the planet doesn’t come from Brooklyn, Compton or Cypress Hills. Buriram is their hood, and Awesome Junior is their tag.
Hailing from Thailand’s northeast, the five boys from Buriram won the World Hip Hop International 2018 junior championship before a screaming crowd of 7,000 fans and judges at the GCU Arena in Phoenix Arizona last week. Performing under the group name Awesome Junior, they range in age from 7 to 12 years old and beat out over 4,000 dancers on rival teams from 50 countries during eight days of competition.
Awesome Junior is living proof that Thai talent and American influence can produce golden results. Their two-minute tour-de-force of acrobatic and synchronized spins, leaps, flips, and shuffles dazzled the international panel of judges and earned them the gold medal.
The five boys – Surakan Khrueayos, Natthachai Jaemjaeng, Nathapol Suthowa, Phubodin Phairoh, and Patcharapong Tawilbu – are all students at the Thossaporn Wittaya School in the Satuek district of Buriram, a rural province in the lower northeast that borders Cambodia.
Satuek is known more for long-boat racing championships, elephant swimming contests, luk thung (Thai country music) and the graceful elegance of Thai classical dance than hip-hop, but that may have changed last week with a world championship.
Straight out of Buriram, Awesome Junior was not expected to be a top contender for a title. The victory even surprised Songkran Panpinit, the headmaster at their school.
“It is better than we expected because we only intended for them to gain experience,” Songkran said.
Awesome Junior member Patcharapong Tawinboon said he could not contain his excitement after the judges announced his team had won, adding that everyone in the group worked very hard and that he wants to become a professional dancer.
Sporting their baggy pants and baseball caps, the boys wore their gold medals and held their trophies aloft as they emerged from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on their way home.
Even better than trophies and medals, however, are the $1,500 scholarships the school awarded to each boy for their sterling performances.
2018 World Finals Results | Photo courtesy of www.hiphopinternational.com/medalists/