Flex Is Kings takes place in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, where high crime rates and diminished opportunities have left the young men growing into adulthood few choices and fewer resources, pushing so many into lives dependent on crime and gangs. Yet there is a large and growing group resisting the notion that their prospects are limited to a powerless existence.
On these streets a dance community rose, eager for an avenue of expression and determined to create a positive force in their neighborhood. "Flex" is the name of the dance style - it involves dance battle competitions that are at once flights of fancy as well as poetic evocations of the streets - gun battles, romantic interludes, run-ins with authorities. The film is structured around a season of Battlefest, the central organizing event of the Flex movement, and focuses on some of the community's key personalities.
"An eye-popper showing the old pop and lock brought to thrilling, disorienting extremes, Deidre Schoo and Michael Beach Nichols's Flex Is Kings movingly documents the flex dance scene centered around Brooklyn's BattleFest. Fluid and at times disorienting, flex centers on the rhythmic italicization of the human body; the highlights here often involve what looks like the dislocation of dancers' shoulders as they work through their slo-mo, zero-g contortions. The best dancers build to mad flourishes they call "punch lines" and even incorporate some tough-minded street-life storytelling into their self-taught routines -- it's autobiography as joyous athleticism." Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice