Palazzo Velli | Rome, Italy
18th - 19th - 20th October 2019
The magic moment of sport, it’s there written loud and proud on Massimo’s t-shirt as he stares into the camera, thumb up, hat on, a hobby spray can in hand. You get a sense sometimes that a night freeze frames exactly a sense of wonder. Like a magic section of your own time, when an evening is so flowing that it entirely captures you in the sense of another person, or in the scene of a club or that perfect head spin; in some way it gives you that sense of being outside your own time.
And this is likely what those rappers and artists were feeling yesterday evening, as the Roman breakdancer generation from circa 1980, took to the dance floor once again to remember the life of their friend and pioneer, ‘Crash Kid’ Colonna.
The life of one of Rome’s most well loved and iconic break dancers. Massimo and his squadron of breaker kids. An event which is organised by Drago to mark the publication of a book and celebration of this ‘Crash Kid’ boys life, ‘Crash Kid: A Hip-Hop Legacy’.
Massimo was the soothsayer of the beat and of the head-spin and the way to dance yourself straight out of Rome and right into the spirit of Brooklyn.
And throughout the next two days of this weekend, between 3pm-10pm, at Palazzo Velli, an exhibition is open and displaying images of Massimo, posing in the style of a culture which Massimo and friends transferred from black American culture and made applicable to Rome.
The images of Massimo and his friends, circa 1980s, show bright young things who stand there, spray painting a train, or posing like American beat boys along the station platform at Termini.
Showing that you can never be too beat with your friends by your side. Through this event, Massimo is remembered as the king of the breaker kids. The boy who ignited a culture of breakdance and hip-hop, which simply did not exist in Rome prior.
Everyone at the grand opening last night was there to celebrate the grandest life. A kid who never seemed to stop.
Framed in pictures up on the walls, there he is, dancing in a crowded street, the blur of Massimo’s body in a head spin. And in the crowd that surround him, there is one particular face which catches the eye. Lit up and inspired, perhaps in awe of Massimo’s moves, or ready and wanting to show off his own. A little too alive, like all artists and hip-hop and breakdance. And as I admire the expression on that face, it’s not long before a man leans forwards and says, “that’s me.” Pointing himself out, alongside Massimo, in a number of the photos.
The event was populated by Massimo’s personal friends, many of whom are also huge names in the hip-hop and underground scene. The night itself kicking off with an introduction from close personal friends of the ‘Crash Kid’, including such names as Amirr Issaa and MC Shark.
All paying personal and close tribute to Massimo, who, if he was not there in spirit, was definitely there in the sport of the breakdance which his brothers and sisters performed, showing off their moves well into the night.
Old friends and new talents in breakdance collaborated in a dance off, although if any person was going to come out on top, it would only ever be Massimo. Limbs were flying and bodies were turning and for some particular frame of time, the faces in the framed images, alive and glistening, were no different from those lit up faces of the artists who were one by one showing off their breakdance moves on the dance floor.
And so last night at Palazzo Velli brought together two separate magic moments of the same sport. The same, identical moment of the magic element and the spark of what was a perfectly Nike heeled coming together; both in the images of the streets of 1980s Rome, and in the exhibition space of the Palazzo, where friends, young and old, danced the night away.
The event will be running all weekend long, both Saturday and Sunday, from 3pm – 10pm, so make sure you get down there for a dance to purchase the already iconic publication, ‘Crash Kid: A Hip-Hop Legacy’, buy the vinyl record of Rewind, Rome’s very own sounds of the street and Hip-Hop vinyl, now in its fourth incarnation.