Crews like NXG (Next Generation Dance Crew), led by Marques Mireles, are one of many in San Antonio's street dance culture. Omar Davila works to enhance the culture in a major way.
Omar Davila, 33, has been a B-boy (break-boy), since the age of 12. Breakdancing is a sub-genre of hip-hop. Created as early Disk Jockeys would loop the "breaks" of different records, creating a unique beat people would dance to, hence the name break-dancers, B-boys, and B-girls. Davila is currently the national president of the Mighty Zulu Kingz (MZK) dance crew. Originally from Austin, he moved to San Antonio in 2009 and quickly climbed to be deemed as one of the most talented bboys in the city.
His talents have taken him all over the world, and even landed him a star role in the 2007 documentary, Inside the Circle. Produced and directed by Marcy Garriot, the film told the story of Omar, and his former best friend, whom he became rivals with when they joined competing dance crews. The film has won a series of accolades, including 2007 SXSW Audience Award.
www.insidethecircle.com/Inside the Cricle
"As far as my goals with breaking, I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I set out to accomplish personally," Davila said. "I started traveling nationally at the age of 16, internationally at the age of 18, and became a world champion at the age of 18." Davila has sustained several injuries, but has remained consistent. Having made San Antonio his home, Davila creates avenues for local dancers to gain recognition and enhance skills.
"I first learned about breaking in San Antonio in the early 2000s," Davila said. "Due to a crew in Austin, Alien Squad, that also had members in San Antonio. A handful of us from Austin would drive down to SA to practice. At that time there were a lot of bboys and bgirls in SA and there would be 40 or more people at practice on average, sometimes a lot more."
Art of War 2017
Marques Mireles, the creator and leader of the NXG Dance Crew, gave insight to where the roots of San Antonio's break culture may have originated. "The most influential person I can think of is a guy named Voodoo," Mireles said. "He was the guy that brought us all together."
Davila has a similar account.
"A non-profit based out of Houston would host a practice out here that lasted for years up into about 2014," Davila said. "Over that time an event called Battle of the Alamo, hosted by Voodoo Child, would provide the platform for SA bboys and bgirl’s showcase. I would say the most influential bboys to come out of San Antonio would be Ninja, Wurm, and Flow, in no specific order. They were influential beyond San Antonio and the US. They definitely had an impact on the dance at a global level. Voodoo Child played a role in providing the platform here in San Antonio for those bboys and others."
Battle of the Alamo 2018 Flyer/Facebook
Davila now helps to coordinate one of the largest annual hip-hop events in San Antonio, Art of War. The event focuses on the four founding elements of hip-hop's thriving culture: DJing, emceeing, graffiti, and breakdancing.
"AOW is a concept that was developed by my boy Mark Gonzalez," Davila said. "I actually won the bboy battles at one of the earlier AOW’s before I became a part of the event. Long story short, Mark calls me up one day and asks if I’m down to jump on board. In 2012 we hosted our first AOW together and created a dope overall vibe for true hip hop heads."
Davila and Gonzalez have worked diligently to bring some of the nation's top hip-hop figures in to help promote the event. The duo even managed to bring members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a Grammy-winning New York-based hip-hop group, known for being one of the most influential music groups in America.
"I would say Immortal Technique and Chino XL in 2012 was a highlight," Davila said. "The show was crazy and their feedback saying it was one of their best shows definitely kept us inspired to do more."
San Antonio's dance culture is thriving, and growing. The seemingly underground scene is not so underground with the help of nationally- and internationally- recognized dancers like Omar.
"To me it has been my anti-drug, my escape, and my passion," Davila said. "It was my introduction to the culture of hip-hop. It’s a lifestyle. The San Antonio dance scene is rich in history. The dancers are passionate and there are definitely a handful that can blow up at a national and international level."
For more information about Omar Davila and his dance crews the Jive Turkeys & Mighty Zulu Kingz follow him on Facebook.