Red Bull Dance Your Style, a multi-style street dance competition, is making its yearly comeback with its most ambitious U.S. line-up to yet. Eight regional qualifiers for the competition will be held in Memphis, Los Angeles, Tampa, Boston, Oakland, and for the first time ever, Denver, Baltimore, and Charlotte for the 2023 season, which falls in the 50th anniversary year of Hip-Hop. Red Bull Dance Your Style will highlight thriving dance scenes in all regions of the country as it spreads to new cities.
The all-styles dance competition, which will begin on March 25 in Memphis, will bring together the region’s top dancers in hip-hop, house, waacking, turfing, krumping, popping, and everything in between. Dancers will compete against one another in a bracket-style competition while performing to music that will vary from current songs to oldies but goodies in an effort to win the audience vote and move on to the next round. Red Bull Dance Your Style is all about enjoying the present because there is no jury, set choreography, or predetermined music.
The Red Bull Dance Your Style National Championships, which will take place on May 20 in the recently restored Morton Salt Factory, will be held in Chicago after eight regional qualifiers for the first time ever. The Midwest region has a rich dance history and has made immeasurable contributions to street dance, from Chicago footwork to Detroit jit. The local, tenacious dancing communities that continue to dance for pleasure rather than fame will be honored at the Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago National Finals. In less than four months, 16 regional champions and runners-up will compete for the U.S. national championship title and the chance to play at the World Finals by winning the hearts of the public.
“Red Bull Dance Your Style is a space where you can witness amazing artistry from all over the globe. The dance community is filled with so many different voices and backgrounds, so it’s important to amplify all styles of dance that people might not be aware of,” says The Crown, winner of the 2022 U.S. Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final. “Each year, this competition offers an inside look at everything dance has to offer, and it’s an endless celebration of cultures entwining.”
Ahead of the launch of the 2023 competition, The Crown spoke with The Source about the 2023 circuit and preparing to enter the competition as the champion.
The Source: You won the 2022 Red Bull Dance Your Style USA Championship. Do you feel pressure to repeat as champ?
The Crown: It’s natural to feel pressure. We’re human, but I don’t necessarily feel any. Although winning a major competition like Red Bull Dance Your Style is a huge achievement, there is only one me, and I know that by being present and myself, I have no nerves. I’d rather be judged for being myself than for anything else. Also, there is so much more that the competition offers beyond “winning.” It gave me the opportunity to express myself fully and connect with a community of the world’s best dancers, many of whom are now lifelong friends. Impact is everything.
What makes this dance competition different from others you participated in?
Red Bull Dance Your Style is unlike any other competition, and not one you can necessarily plan for in advance because of the spontaneity aspect of it. You never know what the music will be, who you’re going up against, or what dance styles will be showcased, so you have to adapt every time and become one with the music. The audience also gets to decide the winner of each round, and they really read your vibe. That is why when I dance, I try not to force it. If I’m feeling myself and the music in the moment, the audience will feel me too.
For this upcoming season, there will be trips to Memphis, LA, Tampa and more. Is there a specific city you love to visit?
My love for art and dance has allowed me to travel to so many different places, from Chicago all the way to Johannesburg. This year, I am looking forward to visiting Los Angeles, which always seems like a fun time, and also Memphis and Oakland. They look like they’ll bring a true party essence. I’m always excited to experience the local dance culture, connect with the community there, and learn more about the scene!
Variations of dance are rooted in Hip-Hop. With this being the 50th year anniversary of Hip-Hop, what does the genre mean to you?
Culturally and spiritually, my dance style has deep roots in African culture, so hip-hop, along with West African culture, is what I was brought up on since birth. Therefore, my dance style definitely draws a lot from hip-hop. The genre and culture are very special to me. Hip-hop is arguably one of the most influential factors on pop culture, as it is present in everything we know today. Since its inception, it has built and connected communities and sparked social change around the world. It is also an important outlet for self-expression. Whether your craft is rapping, dancing, DJing, or graffiti, hip-hop invites people to be themselves.
In what ways do you keep yourself sharp on your dance skills?
As a teacher and choreographer, I dance and train daily and try to stay open-minded in my routine. On most days, I do lightweight conditioning and cardio to prepare my body and prevent injuries. I then dance to different types of music for 2-3 hours before starting classes for the day. Mental health is also very important. I have a ritual on competition days where I meditate and stretch to make sure that my mind is really in the zone. It’s important to be ready for any outcome, and it’s not easy being vulnerable, but what pushes me is the fact that maybe I could inspire somebody who was once like me. That’s what makes it all worth it. Otherwise, my art is for me, and if you don’t resonate with my art, that’s okay because this gift has always been for me. But if you do resonate and enjoy what I do, that means this gift is also meant for you.