For the first time ever in the history of Botswana, there is a movement getting together local dancers to compete and perfect international hip-hop dance styles. On December 31st, the drop Hip hop dance battles will be featuring individual battles in the international breakdancing styles of popping, krumping and B-boying.
The Drop Urban Dance Battles was started in August 2013, the 2nd event was held in May and the last was held on the 9th of August. Jethro Motlhasedi of Urban Arts Association (UAAB) explained that this project has shown considerable growth since its inception and has the potential to encourage the art form of dance as a competitive sport and create a platform for young dancers to network, as well as to recognise the art form of dance as a career. The drop dance competition has seen to attract a market of children cheering on their peers aged from 11 years who usually come with parents or elder siblings aged up to 40 years.
Breakdancing has grown into a popular sport amongst the urban youth of Gaborone, more especially teenagers. They use breakdancing as a recreational activity during weekends. Public areas such as the Main Mall and Molapo Crossing usually become alive with street breakdancers every weekend. GobitsaKesupile, an 18-year-old street dancer from one of the crews says many people depict the sport as dangerous and harmful. “We are not rebellious or non-conforming youth who roam around looking for trouble,” he said.
Break dancing has slowly been cementing itself as a regular feature in the local performing arts scene.The drop hip-hop dance league is a youthful movement whose members dress in full hip-hop regalia. Members came through fully clad in oversized clothes, baggy basketball shirts, sagging jeans, dungarees, bling-bling chains, ear rings and boots. Some of them came wearing very tight skinny jeans. In particular, the dance battle is more like a parade of masculine, tough talking daredevils exemplifying what’s perhaps the defining male trait. In simple terms, it is defined by a willingness to risk neck-breaking injury for the sake of a good dance move.
The battle is fought in three rounds. The first round will be B-Boying, which is similar to break dancing, then the second round will be popping and the third round final round is Krumping.
Popping is a street dance and one of the original funk dance styles. Krumping is a street dance popularised in the United States that is characterised by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movements. In simple terms the dances are an imitation of how celebrated American R’n’B singer Chris Brown captivates his audience in his heavily rotated music videos.
Motlhasedi said the event couldn’t have been possible without the kind and generous support of Lion Park. “They sponsored the event with a venue and so far we are still hustling for P3000 for the winners’ prize money.”
The UAAB is a non-profit making and non-governmental society, which is focused on providing local artists with a platform for first time rookies to learn, gain experience and exposure within the local entertainment industry.