'Baby' b-boys' big break

'Baby' b-boys' big break

Pint-sized duo captivated America's Got Talent audiences worldwide with their rockin' moves

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B-boys Baby Boogaloo (left) and Bailrok wowed the judges and audiences of America's Got Talent last year.
B-boys Baby Boogaloo (left) and Bailrok wowed the judges and audiences of America's Got Talent last year.
To be a hip hop dancer, a.k.a. a b-boy, you need either a cool baseball cap or an outstanding haircut.

Bailrok, 11, has a mohawk, and Baby Boogaloo, 8, an afro. Together they are Future Funk - the talented dance duo who stormed the stage of America's Got Talent with captivating moves last year.

Lucky Hongkongers shopping in Whampoa last month may have caught their routine.

"Come over here!" yells Barbra Munoz, Bailrok's mum. While the boys' parents settle down long before the interview, the duo are still spinning their backs against the floor, battling each other.

Bailrok, whose real name is Bailey Munoz, and Baby Boogaloo, Miles Brown, started b-boying two years ago, and met in a freestyle competition in Los Angeles. They were inspired to take up the dance by their love for hip hop music and TV shows.

"My favourite movie is Breakin', and I also watch American's Best Dance Crew," Bailrok says.

"I watch a lot of dance videos," says Baby Boogaloo. One of his favourite shows was Soul Train, a US show that featured R&B, soul and hip hop artists. "I watched the Electric Boogaloos on it. That's how I got my name."

The two b-boys decided to take part in America's Got Talent. The competition is phenomenal - in Los Angeles alone, more than 75,000 contenders auditioned last year. But the duo thought it would be a fun experience anyway.

On audition night, the adorable pair surprised the audience with their wicked moves, won "yesses" from all the judges and made it all the way to the semi-finals.

A lot of sweat and determination lies behind their success. Their parents also sacrifice a lot of time chauffeuring the duo to and fro. Bailrok lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Boogaloo lives in Oxnard, California, as much as five hours apart.

"It is hard because we both work," Jack Brown, Boogaloo's dad, says. "But we both know we are trying to do it for the kids. So somehow we will try to make it work."

"We meet mostly in Los Angeles, because most of the events, like America's Got Talent, happen there," says Bailrok's mum. "Then, they [Boogaloo's family] will be only one hour away, and we will be four hours."

The duo's youth is another hurdle. Behind the glitz and glamour on stage, the tight schedule backstage is already tough enough for an adult contestant. The boys faced a lot of pressure.

"There is no second chance. Everything has to be perfect," Bailrok says. Boogaloo found it difficult when they had to change their routine at short notice for better camera angles.

"People were there to do their job," Brown says. "They were talking to them like adults. Only one or two people in the show treated them like kids."

Many parents still think of hip hop as a bad influence: kids in oversized pants and hoodies swearing and pushing one another when they do battle. But the parents of Future Funk disagree.

"Of course, you want to win [during battle], so you have the mentality 'I want to win'," Munoz says. "But afterwards, it is all about love and having respect for each other."

Munoz feels touched every time she sees grown-up dancers showing respect to little dancers like her son. What they always say is they wish they had started dancing when they were as young as the pair. These words reassure the boys' parents that they have done the right thing.

"I know Bailey loves it, and we will continue to love it with him," she says.

"Hopefully, we will grow with him as we understand the culture together."

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