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Jibilika host hip-hop dance championships

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Jibilika Dance Trust will for the first time ever in Zimbabwe host the African edition of the international hip-hop dance championships, “Battle Of The Year” (BOTY) in Harare in August.

BOTY, is an annual international breakdancing series that began in Hannover, Germany, and its uniqueness is the battle between breakdance crews as opposed to individual breakdance battle.

This follows after Jibilika Dance Trust which runs BOTY Zimbabwe, with the aim of promoting the development of the hip-hop dance culture in Zimbabwe for the past three years with initiatives at school and national level, recently attained the hosting rights.

“The festival is the World Cup for street dance which celebrates unique breakdancing in a non-racial environment at the same time fostering youth development,” said founder and creative director of Jibilika Dance Trust, Plot Mhako.

Mhako said Zimbabwe had been granted the licence to host BOTY which would draw participants from eight African countries including Mauritius, Seychelles, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Tunisia.

He said each country would be represented by a nine-member dance outfit and BOTY primarily focused on B-Boy, an acrobatic element of hip-hop dancing that allows a dancer to freely express himself through various well coordinated moves.

Mhako said the hip-hop dance culture originated in the US in the early 19th century and the dance form had spread worldwide, uniting youths from all corners of the world.

“Auditions for Battle of the Year Zimbabwe representatives will be held in Harare on July 2 at the Zimbabwe Germany Society, then in Bulawayo on July 23 and six crews will battle on August 27 of August prior to Boty africa later that evening for the ticket to represent the country at the eight-nation African battle,” he said.

He said the winning crew would represent Africa at the world battle in Montpellier, France, on November 19.

Mhako said Zimbabwe had in the past played host to two former BOTY world winners, Pockemon Crew from France brought by Alliance Francaise in 2007, and Last For One Crew from Korea brought to Hifa 2009 by the Korean Embassy in Harare.

“Boty Africa will be judged by B-boy Crazy of Crazy Force Crew, Switzerland, Dujon Cullingford from New Zealand, Emile Jansen from South Africa (who is current judge at etv’s Step up or Step off) and Rhahim Solomon from Zimbabwe,” he said.

The initiative is supported by the Goethe Zentrum Institute Harare, the British Council and Swiss Embassy in Harare.

Numerous previous BOTY winners have featured in award- winning international music videos and movies such as You Got Served, How She Move, Stomp the Yard, Planet B-Boy, Step Up 1 and 2 to name just a few.

“The event will put Zimbabwe on the map and raise the dance standards in the country and it will go a long way in empowering the youths through creative engagement and help address ills such as unemployment, HIV/Aids and drug abuse as it incorporates such positive messages and will also initiate a lot of young people to dance for a living and recreational purposes,” said Mhako.

Top 9 from Russia currently holds the world title.

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