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 to 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.
FLIZZO, an unconventional dancer and charismatic showman, brought the house down and cemented his place in the Flex community when a zebra finch flew from his mouth for a “punchline” during a show. His attempts to juggle dancing with a new baby and dismal job market cast doubts on the practicality of continuing his craft and resisting his old ways as a member of the Bloods, the life he left behind to devote himself to dance.
JAY DONN, the individualist auteur, faces frustration after competing on America’s Best Dance Crew and returning to Brooklyn to find higher status with no real reward. Jay gets a paying job in a more traditional baroque-modern dance company that exposes him to new possibilities as he travels to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to star in a new adaptation of Pinocchio.
REEM, the creator and organizer of Battlefest, the ultimate DIY dance showcase in Brooklyn, is a budding mogul. He struggles to do everything on his own while managing the dancers and coaching them to capitalize on their skills in the professional world. Reem is a consistent and steadfast force and serves as a backbone to the community and the film.