Street Dance Battle – Top 8 – Dublin Dance Festival
Performance took place on Sun 05 May
The main stage in Meeting House Square was the location for this battle! The Top 8 is literally the best 8 dancers taken from a series of qualifying heats which took place earlier in the day. There were four categories of dance for the competitors.
If you’re not up to speed on what exactly the terminology means, I’ve added a short guide below to explain the differences between Popping, Krumping, Hip-hop and Breaking. If you’re not a regular at such events, the differences between the dance forms can be quite subtle and dancers often perform in more than one category.
The organisation of the event felt a little ramshackle at times but it probably went with the style of the show. One of my favourite moments was when dancer number 98 was called to the stage instead of number 86 as they were holding the number upside down! If you’re looking for tight administration skills, look elsewhere.
One nice idea was that each category had a different judge, and they each gave a short performance before the start of their section. This gave you an idea of what professional dancers in this art form could achieve, which was quite breathtaking at times. Performers such as Mechanikool, Cyborg and Rayboom featured, along with former Red Bull BC One World Champion WIng in the breaking section, who started b-boying at the age of 12!
The quarter-finals and semi-finals of each dance style were run earlier in the night, with the last half hour of the event featuring a series of finals. The breaking final was definitely the highlight. The two youngest performers of the night were in the breaking category and were both ten years old! It was quite stunning to see such young dancers perform on stage and compete with their elders. As you would expect, they won the hearts of the audience and it was quite disappointing to see them eliminated before the final. There were some surprises along the way, and the winners had an international flavour, with some coming from the UK for the event.
The night draws a diverse crowd but it was obviously a family friendly event, with kids of all ages attending along with their parents. It is important for the Dance Festival to be involved in such events as it opens the festival up to a different audience and removes any discussion of the festival being elitist. The Top 8 event started in 2014 from quite humble beginnings and continues to grow and evolve. If you’re looking for a night of fast-paced moves to a constant breakbeat, you need to look no further.
Popping – “is a street dance and one of the original funk styles that came from Fresno, California during the early 1970s. The dance is based on the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing muscles to cause a jerk in the dancer’s body”
Krumping – “characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement. The youths who started Krump saw the dance as a way for them to escape gang life and “to express raw emotions in a powerful but non-violent way.”
Breaking – “also called breakdancing or b-boying/b-girling, is an athletic style of street dance. While diverse in the amount of variation available in the dance, breakdancing mainly consists of four kinds of movement: toprock, downrock, power moves and freezes.”