It’s time to break free at the Chennai Hip Hop Championship
There aren’t many people like Phani Kumar, founder of the city-based Catalyst Dance Studio (launched in 2009), who have been spearheading the hip-hop dance scene in Chennai. He was the one responsible for bringing Battle Of The Year to the city in 2011. BOTY, as the festival is globally called, is one of the world’s first freestyle competitions.
“We had around 10 crews who signed up, out of which the winners were qualified to perform at the Asian qualifiers of the event. The finals are always held in Essen, Germany,” he says. Due to lack of funds later on, Kumar could only conduct BOTY for one more year (the Asian qualifiers, which were held in Chennai).
It did not dampen his spirit one bit, as he continued to conduct an annual dance competition under the banner of Chennai Hip Hop Championship. Now in its fifth year, the event’s auditions were conducted two months ago.
“When we first started this, we were able to finish the auditions and finals on the same day. Not this time, as due to a high number of registrations, we had to finish the auditions much earlier,” he says. The tournament is divided into two categories — b-boying and freestyle hip-hop — and is open to both kids (9-13) and adults.
In the b-boying format, eight participants will be pitted against each other in knockout rounds, while the freestyle dancers will have no time limit. “The freestyle dancers will have to continue dancing until they tire out or acknowledge that their opponent has won,” says Kumar.
“The event will start with DJ and beat-box workshops on July 15, followed by the battles the next day,” says Kumar. He further reveals that this championship is a prelude to the Chennai Street Festival, which will be held two months from now.“It’s a festival open to dancers, musicians and artists,” he says, adding that the winners from the tournament this weekend will perform at the Chennai Street Festival.
At Goethe-Institut. July 15-16. 10 am onwards. Entry at Rs. 200 per head. Details: 9841458192