Meet Atlanta’s top 5 freshest hip-hop dancers driving the Southern scene

From Flexing to Ticking, Popping, Bonebreaking and beyond, Enerjaae, Suzie Q, Leo RA Soul, Werq Werk, and 2Foot are five of Atlanta’s freshest dancers finding fame with a Southern twist and cementing ATL’s status as the capital of hip-hop.
Hip-hop may have originated in the Bronx, but in 1995, a pivotal moment took place when a young André 3000 and his Atlanta group, Outkast, were voted Best New Act and declared (over booing hip-hop heavyweights from the east and west coast) at the Source Awards that “The South got somethin’ to say!” His statement catapulted Southern hip-hop into public consciousness. By 2009, The New York Times was hailing Atlanta as ‘hip-hop’s center of gravity,’ and a plethora of top-tier rappers, producers and dancers were a testament to the city’s unique personality that stood out from the hip-hop scenes in Los Angeles and New York.

Red Bull Dance Your Style 2022 qualifier in Atlanta

© Terence Rushin / Red Bull Content Pool

The raw talent of these hip-hop dancers drove the thrilling scene from the skating rinks to street cyphers and television screens. Popping, Locking, and House hit hard, and Krump arrived during the “Rise Movement.” Flexing came over from New York; Memphis had Jookin’; and Atlanta gave birth to Yeek, Tickin and the ability to fuse all trending hip-hop styles with a bold musicality and delivery that couldn’t be rivaled.
As the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final and Weekender USA gets set to ignite the Atlanta hip-hop scene, we had the opportunity to catch up with Enerjaae, Suzie Q, Leo RA Soul, Werq Werk and 2Foot– five of the freshest dancers leading the Southern hip-hop scene, to delve into their journeys, dreams beyond the dance floor, and the significance of battling on the Red Bull Dance Your Style stage.

2Foot at Red Bull Dance Your Style West USA Qualifier 2024 in Los Angeles

© Natt Lim / Red Bull Content Pool

2Foot began dancing in 7th grade by tutting and copying YouTube choreography in her room during the dubstep era. She honed her skills via tutorials and sought private workshops with reputable pioneers across genres such as Locking, Popping, Breaking, and Flexing.

By college, 2Foot had carved out a unique style and a fan following thanks to her IG and social channels. However, her mother (an academic), encouraged 2Foot to focus on getting a BA in Architecture, while her father, an actor, encouraged 2Foot to keep working on her passion until the timing was right.

She wrote one of her final college papers on the connection between hip-hop and architecture and how street dance can influence the shape of a building.

2Foot’s dance style is focused on popping and tutting. Having been a gymnast for eight years, she is light and airy on her feet, nimble and acrobatic. Her style is full of waves and characters fused with an aggressive punch.

2Foot’s journey is a testament to her perseverance. Despite her clout on the scene, she only won her first battle a few months ago.

She balances her time between college, teaching breaking at the renowned, Rockwell Dance Academy, and attending cyphers on the weekends. Her graduation this summer marks a new chapter of transformation, where she plans to focus all her energy on her passion and pursue a professional career in dance.

Her proudest accomplishment is passing down dance knowledge to her younger students and teaching them the importance of learning foundations and not strictly choreography.

2Foot made her Red Bull Dance Your Style debut in 2022, the first year the competition came to Atlanta. “Battling with Red Bull has improved my performance and made me feel comfortable in the limelight,” she says. “It’s a battle, but it’s so much fun; it feels like you’re partying with your opponent. It’s a dope platform that treats its dancers like celebrities. Winning in Atlanta, where I made my name, in front of friends and family would be very special.”

02

ENERJAAE

Enerjaee performs at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2021 in Chicago, IL

© Chris Hershman / Red Bull Content Pool

Enerjaae grew up in the Caribbean in St.Croix and moved to the USA to play volleyball. She was raised by her mother, who was a former dancer; and in 2013, after being mesmerized by dance crew, Dragon House, she ventured into dance herself.

In high school, at various parties and raves, Enerjaae witnessed dancers showcasing their animation and tutting skills and challenged them to battles on the spot. From then on, she hasn’t stopped dancing.

Much to her Caribbean family’s dismay, she forfeited multiple scholarship opportunities to pursue dance and proved her commitment to her passion.

She honed her craft, utilized her natural flexibility to get into bone-breaking, and made a name for herself as the only female in the genre. Within a few years, she received a call from Dragon House to join their crew.

Through an online program, Enerjaae started teaching and creating a curriculum for bone breaking students in studios and across the globe.

Her first major gig was winning an online dance competition with Macklemore, who flew her out to perform on the Today Show with him. After that, a major turning point in Enerjaae’s career took place when she returned to St.Croix to reconnect with her Caribbean roots. While there, she and her family experienced major loss as two hurricanes wrecked her home.

“I was so grateful that we were all alive, and it really humbled me. Before that, I was really depressed and just stuck on gigging as a dancer [and feeling the] pressures of being the only female of Dragon House. The hurricanes made me realize what was important to me in dance was expression and still having both feet on the ground.”

Her mindset shifted, and with it, Enerjaae’s Instagram went going viral. America’s Got Talent reached out, and Step Up, the television show, flew her back to the U.S. She secured an agent and expanded her repertoire, becoming a ‘creature actor’ and the choreographer for Legacies, a spin-off of Vampire Diaries. This role involved not only dance but also physical acting and performance, showcasing her versatility. She then worked with Star Wars and a string of other blockbuster movies before being hit by the actors’ strike.

Enerjaae is no stranger to Red Bull Dance Your Style and has battled in the competition. “It’s almost hard to put into words what it would mean to me to win the national Red Bull Dance Your Style competition in Atlanta,” she says. “It’s almost the biggest and most impressive battle you can win as a street dancer. I don’t think I would even speak to anyone for a week if I won!”

03

WERQ WERK

Werkq has been dancing since she was in diapers. She started out by cheering at 4 years old, where she learned hip-hop and gymnastics. Werq Werk was also part of a praise dance team at her Christian church.

After going to high school and witnessing some cheerleading teammates fall off pyramids, she decided high school cheering should probably be avoided and switched her pursuit to the dance and step teams.

She found fame as a choreographer, performer, and sole female crew member of the male-dominated scene, alongside opening for numerous shows and artist.

Werq Werk’s proudest accomplishment is opening a new box for the women in the hip-hop community by creating and throwing monthly all-female, all-style cyphers to show the world what women are capable of. “I wanted to create another lane of support for each of us. I feel like it’s a meditation for us. It’s a different vibe when women are together, and this is an opportunity to feed off each other’s energy and be a support system. These cyphers are something that I hold real close to my heart.”

Her style is soulful, groovy, and full of sass. She weaves hip-hop, contemporary, and ballroom/vogue. A self-confessed old soul, Werk also loves popping.

Outside of the dance studio, Werkq splits her attention between being a mother to a 4-year-old daughter, a soon-to-be wife, and a lead director of a non-profit youth organization. She has also just started her own all-female dance and performance agency called ‘Werkq House Agencies.’

Werq Werk is also a magnetic personality and entertainer who is manifesting future roles as a host and becoming more visible through entertainment of all kinds.

“I’m focused on building a legacy. There are a lot of trend dancers and performers out there who just focus on choreography and following the hype. I want to push myself and be a legend, not a trend.”

Werq Werk debuted this year, battling in Red Bull Dance Your Style to the top 16. “It was a great experience. I loved it! I made a dope new little family, from the team down to the dancers! It made me realize how many more styles I want to work into my dance. If I get called back out to battle with Red Bull Dance Your Style, expect me to bring some real hot shit!”

04

LEO RA SOUL

Leo RA Soul at Red Bull Dance Your Style South USA Qualifier in Memphis, TN

© Alex Harmon / Red Bull Content Pool

Leo RA Soul was an active kid who began his dance training at four years old in ballet and tap classes as well as breaking lessons at home taught by his dad who was a B-Boy.

Leo RA Soul’s focus shifted to sports when his father was deployed in the military. Encouraged by his mother, he went deeper into athletics. However, on the side, Leo RA Soul continued picking up moves from Waving, Popping, and popular funk styles and practiced dancing on the football field, basketball court, and even in karate class.

“My mom couldn’t stop me from dancing. I honed in on dance when I could–picked up moves and steps from videos, the culture and movies and continued winning competitions.”

Leo RA Soul’s journey took a turn in high school when his parents divorced. Undeterred, and at the age of sixteen, he made a bold move to Atlanta to live with his father. There, he delved into classical training and set his sights on a professional dance career.

He went to a conservatory and buckled down, learning various styles, including West African, Modern, Musical Theatre, Ballroom, and Ballet, while learning to play the trumpet. Throughout his time, Leo RA Soul landed performing jobs and worked as a choreography intern for his mentors.

His dance style is a fusion of his eclectic knowledge of dance, showcased by unique transitions he has named “inner flow” and the styles of House, Hip-Hop and Afro-dance.

Outside of dance, Leo RA Soul is the father of a young son. He studied music in college and is also an established producer who loves rap, singing, writing, and making music.

He has competed in Red Bull Dance Your Style three times where he gained notoriety after becoming the unexpected champion of the qualifiers in Atlanta in 2022.

Despite his numerous performances, his proudest accomplishment and most outstanding achievement from dance is that first Red Bull Dance Your Style win in Atlanta. “I felt like it was me against the world, and I had so much to prove. I had an injury. I’d just gone from having locks to cutting my hair. I felt like no one had my back. I was battling Soup, a dancer that I call my brother who was called the hometown hero. There were so many odds to beat and so much confirmation to earn.”

Leo RA Soul reflects, “My history with Red Bull Dance Your Style is being the underdog, so winning would mean the world. I still have a lot to prove to myself and the dance community, and I feel like it would be a statement to all the underdogs out there to say, [Don’t] ever let anyone count you out. Even if things don’t go a certain way or your own don’t support you, know that you can block out the noise, focus on the craft, and win the battle.”

Suzie Q at Red Bull Dance Your Style South USA Qualifier 2024 in Memphis

© Alex Harmon / Red Bull Content Pool

As a kid, Suzie Q wanted to be a singer and dared to be different. She was surrounded by a vibrant dance culture in her Brooklyn neighborhood but didn’t find her groove until she was seventeen.

She connected with her dance mentor in high school and explained her passion for Flexing, Mutation, and what she wanted to achieve as a dancer. Suzie Q was already imitating elements like Gliding and Bone Breaking for fun, but she needed training to pursue her passion further.

She attended parties in the hopes of carving out her name on the dance floor—wowing partygoers with her original moves. In 2014, she auditioned for a tour called Animal Instinct showcasing ‘Flexing’ to the world and got the job.

Suzie Q was one of the first in her family to leave the country. Before 2020, she was a full-time dancer touring the globe doing what she loved, battling, performing and judging. Her proudest accomplishment is that dance has allowed her to visit thirteen different countries as part of performance company, D.R.E.A.M Ring (Dance Rules Everything Around Me).

In 2021, Suzie Q faced a setback when she withdrew from Red Bull Dance Your Style due to a knee injury. However, she didn’t let this deter her. In 2022, she auditioned and won a chance to battle in Atlanta, only to discover she was five weeks pregnant. Despite these challenges, she returned in 2023, battling postpartum depression; and in 2024, she secured a place at the regional qualifier in Atlanta.

Currently, when not performing or battling, she’s getting her degree in digital marketing while also maintaining a full-time job. Suzie Q is the wife of a professional dancer and is focused on inspiring others with her dancing and continuing with her craft as long as God lights the way toward her destiny.

“I found out I had scoliosis during an epidural while I was giving birth, so I’m just happy to still be able to move these old bones. There’s been a lot of discouragements along the way. But every time I want to give up, God sends me a gentle reminder saying, ‘Look, as long you trust me, I’m [going to] guide you to where you need to be. Don’t listen to anyone telling you [that you] can’t do anything. If there’s a no over there, I’m [going] open another door for you to dance through over here.”

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Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final and Weekender USA

The Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final and Weekender comes to Atlanta from Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19.

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