‘It’s a party:’ Regina hip-hop dance battle

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A dance battle is heating things up during Frost Festival.

‘Bridge-the-Gap’ is a choreography and street dance competition. It includes break-dance, open-style and hip hop battles.

Eddy Alvaro is a well known member of the dance community in Regina. He is the host and MC.

“In a nut-shell we’ve got dance battles, we’ve got choreography competitions, we’ve got live feedback from people in the industry. We’ve got DJs, it’s a party,” he said.

The battle’s main focus is on hip-hop dance culture and street-dance culture, but all styles are welcome.

“We want to bridge the gap between street dance and studio dance in what can be qualified as hip-hop dance,” he said.

Alvaro said it’s important to make connections like this in the dance community to break down misconceptions, especially about hip-hop.

“We want to make sure that what is being called hip-hop actually reflects the culture of hip-hop,” he said. “You see it so many times when someone will do a jazz dance to a hip-hop song and then call that hip-hop which is not the case. We just want to provide a resource where you can do the work to learn the history and learn your foundations on what hip-hop culture is.”

The battle brought in dancers from across the country like Montreal, Winnipeg and Alberta.

The winners will walk away with cash prizes and gift cards.

According to Alvaro, the judging process is based on street-culture.

“Basically the judges pick their favourite,” he said. “In a battle, they’ll just stick their hand out to one side and that’s who your winner is. With the choreography aspect it’s going to be a bit of live feedback.”

Alvaro hopes events like this will spark inspiration to learn more.

“We just hope that this can start a new inspiration in people wanting to really dive into what is hip-hop culture. And to take care into learning the journey,” he said.

Grace Cortes is participating in the choreography battle.

“I’ve been wanting to come to something like this for a while,” she said.

“Eddy really encouraged me to come here because he said it would be a good starting point. And I saw that they were doing choreography and I was like, ‘that’s perfect because I’m actually working on a piece. So I’m going to compete it.’”

Cortes has been dancing for over six years.

Although she doesn’t break-dance, she does about everything else, like hip-hop, street jazz, jazz funk, popping and whacking.

“Whacking is a lot of arm movement,” she explained. “A lot of music used for whacking is actually disco music or it has that beat. It originated in clubs. Popping is a little bit more hard hitting. It is like a pop of the body essentially. It’s a very fast movement. You can make it look very cool, like popping in different poses and incorporating popping into waving and other styles.”

She agrees that hip-hop faces many misconceptions that need to be shattered.

“There’s a gap between the hip-hop community and the dance community in general,” she said. “Because people have this misconception, especially in studios, that hip-hop is more jazz-funky, but they are very different. It’s important to make people understand that hip-hop is it’s own style.”

Cortes has one objective for the battle: “I’m just here to have a good time,” she said.

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