Whew! It has been a busy summer. I am so excited that I am getting around to writing about my Vancouver Street Dance Festival Experience. Were you there? It was truly awesome and I loved everything about my trip to the city.
Let’s get to it.
Vancouver Street Dance Festival (VSDF) is an all-day free festival in downtown Vancouver, BC, featuring battles, performances, workshops, deejays and lots of dancing. This year, VSDF celebrated its 5th year!
I arrived in Vancouver Friday and after checking into my Airbnb, I went to the battle prelims for the festival. They were held Friday evening with the top 4 winners in each category advancing to the final battles on Saturday. There were 6 categories: popping, hip hop, breaking, waacking, house and locking. I milled between the two rooms battles were held in, battled in popping and took inspiration from the other styles.
Let's get to the LADIES.
Ladies definitely represented in each category with waacking, hip hop and house having the largest number. Popping, breaking and locking had fewer, but overall there were strong dancers (ladies) in each category.
I got to catch up with a few of the ladies participating in the festival and wish I could have spoken with more!
So here are my...
Best Lady Highlights of Vancouver Street Dance Festival!
Kosi Eze - Hip Hop, House, Locking Dancer
Kosi is from Toronto and a fun-loving and giving mover. I saw her prelims and loved her energy and style. I spoke with her in between battles and was excited when she took the W in both hip hop and house. Well deserved. She lays her heart on the dance floor and flourishes in battle.
Clearly, Kosi trains a lot and has progressed immensely over the last 4 years of her dancing career. She said, “I have never been as happy as I am when I dance, ever.” She shared how finding Lady C as a mentor and teacher changed her life. She saw how her dance could have a feminine energy, be powerful, aggressive and emotional. Ultimately, be HER.
When I asked her how she feels women are supported in street dance, she said the community dictates the level of female engagement, which I love. She had just come from Ladies of Hip Hop in NYC where she felt men definitely supported the event and the ladies. She believes, we as women, have a responsibility to put ourselves out there and jump in that cypher, because it is important for younger generations of ladies to see.
And I totally agree.
Watch her VSDF final here!
DJ Beaubien - House Deejay
I also got to catch up with DJ Beaubien from Vancouver. She deejayed the house dance battle and plays east coast, soulful, uplifting, positive music with vocals and nice rhythms. I personally loved the music she played and have been listening to her Soundcloud since.
She began deejaying 4 years ago due to a shortage of deejays playing what she liked to hear - soulful house. As she says, “I was a big fan of the music, first and foremost.” It was a natural transition for her to move from being an avid listener to deejaying herself. While she asked her mostly male deejay friends to teach her how, some were open, but mostly she learned on her own.
We had a great conversation about people who like to go out and dance to house music and people who dance the style of house. Confused? House dance is a style of dance that originates from the music. Within the music (and the dance) are influences from African, jazz, Latin, funk, etc. I love that she said, “I think music is meant to be played loud, on a good sound system, in the dark.” I definitely agree and often want more house dancers (people who dance the style of house) to go out to clubs.
I was excited she closed out the festival with a fun set everyone was groovin' to. I mean really, these dancers competed and cyphered all day long and then danced some more. Her music was good.
MAKING IT TO TOP 16 IN POPPING
I'm going to take a moment to say, I feel really good about making it to the Top 16 in Vancouver and am proud of myself. I am having more battle rounds where I feel I am accurately expressing myself. What more could I want?
Out of roughly 60 poppers, there were a handful of women, myself included. So I feel like I was holding it down for the ladies.
Hip Hop with Natasha Gorrie
AND Natasha Gorrie! Taking class with her and kicking it post-battle were all super fun. She is incredibly kind, giving and a dope dancer. Her class was so fun, groovy and I need more of it. Hip hop, I’m coming for you.
Overall, it was a great weekend. Lots of learning, inspiration and feedback that I am still integrating!
Until the next battle...