Dance has been a part of hip-hop culture since the beginning of time and Red Bull created the most epic dance competition to highlight the craft.
Dance Your Style is a worldwide dance competition hosting more than 50 events in over 30 countries and will hold a World Final in Paris on Oct. 12, where all the winners come together to crown the first-ever Red Bull Dance Your Style World Champion.
The dancers specialize in breaking, hip-hop, popping, house, and locking. Any street style dance form, including the coveted west coast favorite “Krumping” and the infamous “Harlem Shake,” that’s become a phenomenon.
I attended the Miami stop on the tour where I interviewed international dancer Toyin Sogunro hailing from the DMV area. This young woman has been dancing since she could barely walk! Like most parents, her folks put her in ballet classes as a toddler and the rest is history.
Becoming a professional dancer isn’t an easy fete. But, the young star is always up for challenges. She didn’t realize that she was a professional until she won a dance competition in Paris and became a sought after choreographer. Being an international, Black, female dancer has its challenges but Toyin quiets the noise and continues on her journey to greatness.
She says, “I think as women we really have to support each other. And knowing that I have the opportunity to inspire somebody else, helps me to push myself to keep going. It will help another woman realize that she can do it just as well. Even though it’s challenging, I go for it. I tell everyone, ‘Be fearless. Do your thing'.”
Dance Your Style isn’t your typical dance competition. The crowd plays the most important role in the outcome of each battle, voting on their favorite dancer. We were given a bracelet and depending on which dancer we rooted for, we voted either red or blue. Now let me say this: It was probably one of the most difficult jobs I’ve had in a long time. These young people are uber talented, doing moves that I can’t even fathom the thought of, and I was a part of determining their fate in the competition.
Toyin didn’t make it to the final round, but her skills make her a force to be reckoned with. She credits her dance skills and tenacious attitude to her dance crew, Urban Artistry and Assassins Crews and her family and friends.
“My family has been my inspiration still within my movement. Something they’ve always taught me is to tell a story through my movement."
The winner was an artist named Kidd; a Miami native who finessed his way across the dance floor winning the crowd over doing moves like Michael Jackson’s infamous “Moon Walk,” and pop-and-locking to hits by Kanye West. We were all in awe of his grace. I caught up with Kidd after his win.
He was so humble and so grateful for the opportunity to compete in his hometown saying,"To come back here and spend time with my family and dance and have fun and an amazing win, it feels amazing. I’ve been dancing for 17 years. I think when you don’t focus on the win, that’s when you win.”