Since arriving in September, I have been to street performances, workshops, conferences, festivals, battles and theatrical spectacles all dedicated to hip-hop dance, and I am always impressed by how many members of the international community come to France to watch and participate. In an earlier post I wrote about the diverse dancers I met at the Who is Who battle last September, and earlier this month, I witnessed France’s hip-hop dance fever on an even larger scale at the finals for the Juste Debout battle at Bercy Stadium. At Juste Debout (which lasted over 10 hours!), dancers who had previously cleared the preselection rounds in their home countries, came to Paris to compete in one of four main categories: hip-hop newstyle, popping, locking, and house dance. Since Juste Debout means “Just Standing” in English, this battle is only for “top” dancing (so no breaking), and these dancers were incredible! Click here to see official photos at the Juste Debout website.
Additionally, at the end of January I interviewed German hip-hop dancer and choreographer Niels “Storm” Robitzky, right before his performance at the Suresnes Cité Danse festival. While I had previously seen his solo performance in October’s Europe Hip-Hop dance festival, I unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to see “Il Était Une Fois/ Once Upon a Time”— a “hip-hop fairy-tale” dance production that he also choreographed for the festival featuring teenagers from the banlieues (suburbs) of both Germany and France.
In this clip of our interview, you can learn about how Storm sees dance as a release for young people and hear about why he really loves performing in France. Also, definitely watch the audio slide show of photos from “Il Était Une Fois/ Once Upon a Time” (courtesy of Dirk Korell) with Storm’s narration of how the show recounts the history of hip-hop dance and culture throughout the past three decades.