Diaspo #174 : Youness El Mouaffaq, aka Bboy Cri6, Morocco’s most competitive breakdancer

Youness El Mouaffaq, better known by his stage name Cri6, is a competitive breakdancer. Based in London, the b-boy won and participated in several international competitions. His dream is to represent Morocco at the 2024 Olympics, as it added breaking to its games.

Moroccan b-boy Youness El Mouaffaq. / DR
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Youness El Mouaffaq was born to be a breakdancer. The Fez-native learned his first flips, tricks and dancing moves in a neighborhood sports hall. In 2006, his love for b-boying started while he was attending a Tae Kwon Do class at the same facility.

«I used to play Tae Kwan Do at the same studio, and some dancers used to come every day to train straight after our session», the competitive breakdancer told Yabiladi.

Youness tried to replicate the dancers’ moves and flips after every martial arts class. His curiosity attracted their attention and they invited him to join them. Ever since, the then 12-year-old boy started breakdancing, top and downrocking and practicing his best power moves and freezes.

Youness El Mouaffaq, a Moroccan breakdancer. / Ph. Kelly MDNYouness El Mouaffaq, a Moroccan breakdancer. / Ph. Kelly MDN

Dancing became his passion and alongside his friends and crew members, he started competing locally, traveling around the country to show his new moves. His dancing career started booming in 2012, when he was invited to his first international competition.

«After I joined my current crew El Mouwahidine in 2012 with fellow Moroccan dancers Lil Zoo and The Wolfer, I received an invitation to compete in Copenhagen, Denmark», said the London-based b-boy.

At first, his family and friends did not take his dancing endeavors seriously. When he got Denmark’s invitation no one believed that he was really going there. «Everyone asked how I would go to Copenhagen, I did everything by myself and after that I started getting the respect of my family and entourage», he jokingly recalled.

The road to success

«It was nice in the beginning, if I may say», he proudly declared. Every international competition Youness, aka Cri6, went for, paved the way for another one. He traveled the world, competing in Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland, among others.

«They liked what we were doing and sent us invitations. After years on the international scene, we started winning big competitions, we became more known internationally as a crew», he told Yabiladi.

Indeed, in 2018, Youness and his crew were invited to the Red Bull BC One, an annual international b-boy competition, notable for being the only one of the major international breaking championships that does not include a crew event.

Cri6 won a silver medal in the hip-hop dance category at the VIIIe Jeux de la Francophonie in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He also came first in competitions such as The Notorious IBR (Netherlands), Circle Industry Finals (Austria), Best Morocco B-boy (Morocco) and Battle of East (Estonia).

In 2019, the 26-year-old dancer was ranked 18th globally at the World Dance Sports Federation World Breaking Championship that took place in Nanjing, China.

A year and a half ago, Youness decided to settle down in London, a city where he intends to carry out his dancing career. While his crew members decided to stay in Austria, he went for the Big Smoke. There, he started working as an instructor at a dancing academy and does side dancing jobs, including shows, advertisement, shootings, as well as competing.

In London, «a lot of things are happening», he said, referring to dancing opportunities, international competitions and job offers. «I love Morocco, it’s my country and everything I got is there, but to grow up as an artist you have to move», he said, recalling his international experiences and the impact they had on him.

«I love what I am doing. It is my passion and I want to do it for life. It is also a cultural thing, you can dance in Morocco and make a bit of money out of it but you will be forced to do something else on the side to survive», he explained.

Due to the global sanitary crisis, most of the competitions he was invited to and the jobs he was hired to do were canceled. However, Youness remains positive, especially after learning that breaking was added to the Olympics competition. The young dancer's goal is to represent Morocco at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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