Radiotron rolls
on Hawaii

Radiotron Hawaii

Where: Campus Center Ballroom, University of Hawaii at Manoa

When: 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow

Tickets: $15 presale; $20 at the door -- available at The Armory, 1012 Piikoi St. (597-8868) and The Groove Shack, no given address (839-2884)

Call: 847-5214 or

Julio Cesar Rivas is trying to keep the seven elements of hip-hop alive and thriving.

The Los Angeleno, better known as Lil' Cesar in the street dance community, has made it his life's work to keep his Radiotron project going, at least to the end of the year, when the B-boy/B-girl event and competition celebrates its 20th anniversary.

One way to keep Radiotron alive is to infuse it with some new blood. So he's here hooking up with members of the local hip-hop community to help stage the first Radiotron Hawaii this weekend. All are true believers in the seven elements of the culture that Rivas has identified -- "locking, popping, B-boying, deejaying, emceeing, beatboxing and graffiti art" -- for a book he's writing.

After tomorrow's competition, those lucky five to seven finalists from Hawaii will be flown to L.A. on Radiotron's dime to show their stuff and do "battle" with the SoCal crew on Dec. 13.

EVEN THOUGH he stands at 5-foot-1, Rivas has made a big name for himself with street dancers as a founding member and leader of the Airforce Crew, internationally recognized for creating and developing such seminal moves tagged as "windmills," "air flairs," "1990s," "headspins" and "halos."

Lil' Cesar shows off his air and headspinning moves.

In 2000 he received an Innovator Award at the first annual Hip-Hop Awards. He recently toured in a European production of "Bounce," which featured 15 of the most accomplished break dancers.

But his most ambitious project is the creation of the Global Breaking Federation, something that he hopes will standardize breaking competitions internationally to the point that breaking could maybe -- just maybe -- be a competitive Olympic sport one day.

This is a long way from his first exposure to break dancing in 1982 in the impoverished L.A. district of MacArthur Park, with its community center and safe haven known as Radiotron.

Rivas' enthusiasm has never flagged since those revelatory moments. "The seven elements of hip-hop is a powerful way of expression," he said. "Each element is its own world, but when taken together it's so powerful that even when I travel around the world, we as people in hip-hop can relate to each other."

That's been the case with his visit to Honolulu. "While we can relate and interact with each other through our mutual love of B-boy culture, it opens up to wanting to know what is your own native culture, and that way, we can start learning something about each other.

Lil' Cesar shows off his air and headspinning moves.

"B-boying is all about action, and breaking is a dynamic and extraordinary dance form," Rivas said with enthusiasm. "And the dance continues to develop new styles. Back in the day, it was all about fundamentals, the power and air moves, but within two decades new moves are being made that push the limits of the human body."

TO PROVE that point, one development he's seen here involves more mind-boggling contortionist stances and moves. "Like, I've seen this one head-spinning move that involves arching your back while spinning on your forehead," Rivas said. "I mean, how did they come up with a thing like this? Is it like G-forces that's keeping the body in that position?

"As an old cat, while I can't really comprehend moves like this, I'm open to new styles. I want to let them be as wild as they can be." (Rivas remembers one standard move that originated in Hawaii, a variation of the back-spinning "air turtle" called the "Hawaiian turtle.")

"I'm impressed with the speed and ability to both manipulate and pick up new moves a crew like the Waikiki B-Boys has shown me -- so much so that I think Hawaii now has the opportunity to go worldwide and compete."

Julio "Lil' Cesar" Rivas brings Radiotron to Hawaii.

And one way to make that bridge is through the inaugural Radiotron Hawaii.

In addition to a special guest performance from his Airforce Crew, Rivas said, "I'm flying out Medussa, one of the better female lyricists and emcees from Feline Science, to Honolulu, along with Kujo, from Soul Control, and Chicano."

Hawaii will be represented by the Armory DJs and Creed Chameleon.

Rivas emphasizes that the event's early contests are performance-based and that the real battle between contestants doesn't happen until the finals.

"I really want to give a shout-out to those involved with the Armory shop and Clark from Low 1 Productions here, who is also a member of the Hip-Hop Congress at the University of Hawaii," he said. "I think this will be history in the making, and I also implore all the dancers in Hawaii not to give up and help us build this positive future and atmosphere."

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