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Culture, Music

Red Bull Beat Battle

by Roger Young / Images by Suicide Monkey / 01.11.2011

South Africa has a rich vein of dance culture, from gumboot to pantsula, from Cape b-boys to iSbhujwa. dancehall, salsa and krump. But often street dance culture as a form of expression is dismissed; the poorer cousin of contemporary, an accompaniment to hip hop, never a thing unto itself and always relegated to a sideshow. Red Bull Beat Battle hopes to make a significant dent in the perception of emerging dance styles. Through a lengthy process of consultation with opinion makers in the dance and street culture scenes, Red Bull has selected eight crews to slug it out for the title of Beat Battle Champions at The Blue Room in Joburg’s Park station on the 19TH November. In a rare display of scene building, the competing crews have already decided to split the prize money eight ways. The battle is therefore just for bragging rights and the role of being an ambassador for next years Beat Battle, which will have a much more comprehensive national selection process.

The crews are creating their pieces for the final with South African choreographer Somizi Mhlongo. They’ll be judged on their style, creativity and overall crowd reaction. The competing crews are Afro Tribal Dance Movement (Freestyle), Artistic Intelligence (Hip Hop), Genesis Kings (Krump), Real Actions (Pantsula), Royal Fam Kings (Krump), Shakers & Movers (Pantsula), Soweto’s Finest (iSbhujwa), and Ubuntu (B-boys). It’s a mixed bag of styles and crews that represents most (except, you know, Reed Dancing) of what is happening on the street dance scene in South Africa right now and it’s going to make for a showdown like never seen before. Yes, it’s like that and that’s the way it is.

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