Battle Of The Year India and Asia 2012
What do you get when you blend traditional dance forms of Tamil Nadu, with elements of Western street and contemporary dance? The catalyst, for a new wave of dance trends that are set to take Chennai city by storm – led by The Catalyst Dance Company. The dance collective, from Chennai, is known for their unique, and eclectic performances, and are currently ushering in a new era of dance in the city, by playing host to the Chennai Street Festival – BOTY 2012.
Though Chennai has not necessarily been considered the mecca of B-boy culture in the past, it seems today – as Dylan might say – that the times are a changin’, and Chennai city is setting the stage for the Battle of the Year (BOTY) India and South East Asia. BOTY is an annual international b-boying competition that pits one dance crew against the next, in a series of exhilarating, heart pumping, sweaty dance offs.
In the words of London born, Mumbai based DJ Uri Solanki, “I must say I am incredibly impressed and surprised by the Hip Hop scene in Chennai. This is my first visit to Chennai and this is amazing. B-boying, among other Hip Hop forms, has definitely developed over the past few years in the country”.
The event took place between October 5th – 7th at various locations in the city, but the all-India finals – held at the IIT Madras – witnessed a massive turnout, and an equally massive number of hoots, cheers, and girly shrieks from a very excited audience. Emcee Beep – arguably one of the best beat boxers in the country – worked the crowd and pushed the contestants to pop, glide, shuffle and crimp walk, while DJ Uri – just back from a massive European tour – dropped some phat tunes on his vinyl turntables. “My advice”, said Uri, “is for every dancer to do a background study and educate themselves on the culture that is Hip Hop. Hence awareness is the 5th and most powerful element that will further empower the Indian dancer, who I believe, will then be ready to compete at a global level”. For all you curious and possibly less ‘with it’ readers, the other four elements of Hip Hop culture that DJ Uri is referring to, are DJing, Graffiti, B-Boying and Rapping (Emceeing).
Over the weekend, workshops on DJing, B-Boying, Beatboxing, and Graffiti were held, followed by a B-Girl Battle. On Sunday, October 7th, Chennai hosted the BOTY South East Asia Finals with participation from Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and the winners of BOTY India – Freak n Stylz Crew, Mumbai.