Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'If you can't slide, then stay out the park ...'

'If you can't slide, then stay out the park ...'

'If you can't slide, then stay out the park ...'

... and if the teachers don’t know you, then get off the ark. Despite rain, Tiny Toones kids show what they’ve learned

Pint-sized breakdancers from all districts of Phnom Penh faced off in Hun Sen Park on a stormy Sunday afternoon, battling for b-boy supremacy.

Featherweight budding rappers represented their neighborhoods October 18 as part of a Tiny Toones’ initiative to bring children together. The dance event was aimed at educating them by nurturing mutual respect and harmonious living.

Tiny Toones runs multiple educational programmes in some of the poorest parts of Phnom Penh, offering children instruction in the elements of hip-hop, including breaking, DJ’ing and rapping – alongside English language and health education classes.

The park battle drew dancers together from all over the city. It offered the chance to compete, to see the fresh footwork and breakneck rhythms of other young dancers, and to cheer for their home team.

Inevitably, only one team will emerge victorious, but all dancers end up as winners, according to the organiser of Tiny Toones.

“The prize is the prestige, the performance, because this is the only opportunity to show off what they’ve learned,” says communications manager Konrad Plechowski. These kids relish the chance to compete.

A heavy shower greeted the crowds as the dancers assembled for the battle. Undeterred, students showed off their moves on the makeshift stage, balancing upside down and hopping about on one arm.

Kids and teachers somersaulted on the wet lawn. Police arrived to urge the crowd off the grass, but after money exchanged hands and the rain subsided, the battle gained fervour.

Nine teams of dancers faced off. Groups, or crews, represented parts of the city such as the train station, the Russian Market and the airport. The contestants glided to the rhythms with their flashiest and fiercest steps. Students tried to break the other team’s nerves with intense intimidation.
Despite the discouraging weather and damp audio equipment that abruptly cut off midway the event, the battle continued.

How did judges choose between these alternately fierce and adorable child crews? They looked for “who was more dynamic, who presented the moves that were more difficult, and who simply was better onstage”, Plechowski explains.

The showdown for first prize took place between groups from Chak Angre and Svay Pak. Students pulled out all the stops with well-choreographed group routines.

These boys hail from rough areas and are attuned to hardship. The sense of pride derived from refining and showing their hip-hop moves helps to counteract the local appeal of gangs and drugs. Tiny Toones artistic mentors also serve as role models and emotional support.

As the battle intensified and unfolded, Chak Angre stole the stage with great showmanship and commanding presence. Svay Pak countered with freezes and group acrobatic tricks that defied gravity. When the jury declared Svay Pak the ultimate winners, both sides cheered.

Chak Angre dancers Monkey and Pitou said they felt happy about their second-place prize. Both b-boys agreed that the Svay Pak crew took home top honours due to its superior choreography. Monkey and Pitou’s crew spent a week creating its own group routines, and the two said they looked forward to working more on these in the future.

Hopefully this display of playful camaraderie will continue often in the future, although plans for the next battle remain tentative.

The crews who strutted their stuff worked together to prepare tight and complicated choreography.

Tiny Toones is raising a generation of formidable performers, with the skills to push each other to greater upside-down heights.


  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Vietnamese workers in Koh Kong questioned

    The General Department of Immigration (GDI) is questioning 49 Vietnamese nationals who were working illegally in Koh Kong province to build a case and send them back to Vietnam, its Department of Investigation and Procedure director Kem Sarin said on Thursday. GDI forces and provincial authorities

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to