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Breakdance breaks out in the Gaza Strip
Tuesday, July 14, 2009 :It was a summer Wednesday evening and Muhammad al-Ghreiz, 22, was getting his eight-member team ready for a breakdance show at the al-Baydar restaurant on the beachfront just south of Gaza City. Six months ago, Gaza's beaches were under heavy Israeli bombardment from air and sea, but now this area, near the evacuated Israeli settlement of Netzarim, was about to hear an altogether different kind of sound.
Breakdance, the hip hop dance style that began on the streets of New York City more than 30 years ago has become popular with youth all over the world, even breaking through the tight Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.
The audience began to flow in to the restaurant and a band played some classical Arabic music while cheerful children ran around the swimming pool.
After a number of other acts, the evening's MC surprised the audience by announcing that the next performers would be breakdancers from the Nuseirat refugee camp and surrounding areas.
Al-Ghreiz and the other b-boys leapt on to the stage wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Camp Breakerz" -- the name of their group. Their moves caused excitement among the audience -- many went right up to the stage, and others took pictures with their mobile phones of an exuberant scene.
At one point in the 10-minute set, the group formed a circle, as one of their members danced in the middle. Afterwards, al-Ghreiz explained that the circle symbolized the siege on Gaza. "Our teammate in the middle stood for the children [of Gaza]," al-Ghreiz told EI. "As you saw, the circle was broken by our fellow dancer, indicating the Palestinian child's strong determination to live normally as other children around the world."