HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. – Things will be breaking, popping and rocking at the big break-dancing battle at Sukha Arts Center in Harrington Park this weekend.
And judging all the right street moves will be one of Boston’s baddest B-boys, Ashton “Stackz” Lites, a multi-talented dancer, videographer and motivational speaker.
Lites, aka "Stiggity," started his krump training under the tutelage of Russell Ferguson, the Season 6 winner of the Fox show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
He then morphed smoothly into a dancer/peer mentor while working closely with Sidestreet, a local krump movement led by Russell.
Lites later branched off into classical and cultural styles of dance after enrolling in the Reach Program at Boston University.
He continued his classical training at the Dance Studio of Braintree/Braintree Ballet Company and went on to earn a degree in the performing arts from Dean College in Franklin, Mass.
According to Alim Scarpelli, one of the arts center’s dance instructors, there will be classes/workshops in krumping, popping, house and breaking from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7.
They cost $15 apiece and participants are encouraged to take several if they wish. No experience is required, Scarpelli said, adding that it’s mostly for fun.
Things will get dead serious at 7 p.m., however, when competitors will hit the floor in a street-dance battle. Admission to the dance-off is $10.
While most will have prequalified for the competition, members of the public will get the chance to show off their moves; if they’re good enough, they may get the chance to go toe-to-toe with the big guns.
Scarpelli said he and another teacher hold smaller versions of the event each month at the center. “Prove Your Grove” allows young and old, experienced and non- to compete in many different dance styles, he added.
His company, Aston "Stackz" Lites Dance, Film and Creative Motivation, makes and sells "portrait" films showing ordinary folks dancing. At $80 for a one-minute film, they make great gifts, he says on his website.
He has taught at more than a dozen studios and art centers in the Boston area, including: Phunk Phenomenon, Boston City Lights, Urbanity, Artist for Humanity and the Winchester Ballet Arts Center.
Now living in Rhode Island, he also helped pioneer the urban dance curriculum that is being offered in the Boston school system.
While the variation in its styles are diverse, B-boying has traditionally been made up of four moves: toprock, downrock, power and freezes. It is usually danced to hip-hop, funk music and breakbeats, although nowadays it can be pulled off to a much wider variety of music, tempo and beat patterns.
The center is located at 76 Schraalenburgh Road. It can be reached by calling (201) 768-2455.