Canberra Street Dance Festival to bring hip hop to Garema Place | The Canberra Times

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The word on the street is that you can witness the latest addition to the Olympics in Garema Place later this month. Breakdancing, as well as other elements of hip hop culture, will be on show at the Canberra Street Dance Festival on January 23. “This festival is all about bringing all the hip hop elements together and really about educating our community in Canberra about the empowerment of what hip hop has done to our community,” Project Beats and Festival director Chip Lo says. “What people can expect is all the elements of hip hop. Dance is obviously one aspect of it but there will also be street art, DJing, MCing and rapping, and fashion – that’s a big part of it. “Regardless of what people’s perspective is on hip hop, we’re there to educate people to let them know that it’s a lot broader than just what you see on video clips. There’s a whole culture behind it.” The event will include dance battles which will see three-person teams from Canberra dance schools Project Beats and Passion & Purpose take on each other for a panel of judges. “It’ll be any style that the competitors choose to dance in. So it could be hip hop, popping, house, locking – any style that they’d like to do,” Project Beats instructor Taylor Manalo says. “They’ll express how they feel when they listen to the music and it’ll be a knockout style. The judges will vote depending on musicality as well as other things. “Battling is a part of the culture, which is why we brought it to the Street Dance Festival, but we will be having showcases as well just to showcase other styles of dance.” The showcases will be where Lo will perform, with the dancer using it as a chance to highlight breakdancing, in light of the style’s introduction into the 2024 Paris Olympics. “Our scene is very small at the moment, and with the 2024 Paris Olympics coming up, we thought it would be a good idea to try and grow our breaking scene,” Lo says. “We want to have breaking represented at the Olympics by Australia – if that comes from Canberra, that would be amazing. Broadening the scene is one of our missions at the moment.” There will also be a street art installation where 15 artists will create a permanent wall display in Garema Place, as well as fashion stalls and music showcases and rap battles from local artists such as KG. The MC says it’s a chance to get the hip hop community in Canberra to become more interconnected. “Everyone’s still representing the hip hop culture, but just in their own little pockets,” KG says. “With music, we kind of just get in our own space and trying to release music and keep in that cycle. “Being part of an event like this I think it’s important to show young people that there’s not just one part of hip hop. You can engage in all aspects of it and you can take away something from it, or just learn something new from other performers.” Canberra Street Dance Festival is on January 23, from 12pm to 7pm at Garema Place.



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