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B-boy Alex Diaz on making a life in break dancing

Vayu Kieta

WHO: Alex Diaz, a.k.a. El Nino

WHAT: The Boston-born b-boy and Floorlords Crew member returns from his never-ending world tour to host and possibly compete in this weekend’s break-dance battle, the United Styles 7 World Bboy Cup. Catch the competition and Diaz, 21, at Hibernian Hall today and, for the finals, the Cyclorama tomorrow.

Q. It looks like your signature is all that head work. Does that hurt?

A. That’s something I can do all day in my sleep, all the time. It did hurt when I started. I guess you can say depending on the floor it hurts, but most of the time it doesn’t. If the floor is real rough, it might hurt.


Q. Can you actually make money breaking?

A. This is my job. This is what I do. As of now, my job is dancing. And I travel around the world doing it. I’m paying my bills and doing good. I know other people who are doing even better than me.

Q. How do you keep from getting injured?

A. I just try to stay in shape. I also try to have a balance and not force my body too much. If I’m sore, I always take a break and reevaluate things. Like right now, I’m dealing with this because I competed last weekend. My wrist is hurting, my back is hurting, so I’m on the edge of thinking, “Should I compete this week or not?’’

Q. How long do you imagine you can keep doing this?

A. I think I probably have another 15 years.

Q. Then what do you do?

A. From there, I’m going to basically open up my own school and teach dancing. Or move to LA and get into teaching and acting out there.

Q. Is it a different world since your uncle [Lino Delgado, cofounder of the Floorlords] and the guys in the ’80s were starting out?


A. The competition level is a lot bigger now and a lot broader now. There are a lot more people who dance around the world. It’s definitely getting more mainstream. You see break dancing everywhere now. In a way, in some places, you can still find that same essence [of] back in the ’80s and the way it used to be.

Q. You ever see that movie, “Breakin’ ’’?

A. That was back in the day. Movies like that inspired us to really keep going and hopefully we could be in a movie one day.

Q. But do you look at them and say, “Damn, I could totally take those guys’’?

A. Of course, the level is so much harder now. The moves are so much more advanced now.

Q. What should we expect from a break-dance competition?

A. We have people from all over the world. We have this crew from Poland. They were the winners in a qualifying contest in Switzerland to make it here.

Q. Switzerland is not the first place I’d go to find the next b-boy champion. Do they know how to break dance?

A. Most Swiss people don’t. But there is actually a scene in Switzerland in which there is competitions thrown every year.

Q. What’s the strangest place you’ve competed?

A. The Middle East. I went to Dubai. But I didn’t compete. I judged a competition and ran a workshop. It was just weird because I didn’t know people there actually danced. I wouldn’t think break dancing would have any effect on the people who live there. But it does. They do have a small scene. It’s amazing to see guys so far away from where it started. Australia as well. I got a chance to go all the way to Australia, and the break dancers out there are amazing. I was blown away.


Q. Is there a place where we can say the break dancers are not good?

A. It used to be the UK. But they’re actually stepping their game up.

Q. Why are they so bad there?

A. I really don’t know. There are some people really into it, but they don’t study the history or get into what they’re learning. They just get into it and get girls and show off at the house parties. But the UK is getting better.

Q. So I hear you’re not competing this weekend. Why?

A. My uncle’s organizing it. I don’t want to compete, but friends of mine, one of their members recently got hurt, so I might end up competing just to fill in the blanks. But for now, I don’t think so. I’m also helping put together some of the money for the event.

Q. If you don’t compete, will you perform?

A. If I don’t compete, I’ll be hosting. That job is to keep the whole event running smoothly and also to keep the crowd involved and make sure the DJ’s prepared to spin for the battles and everyone’s having a good time.


Interview has been condensed and edited. Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com.