House of Stone dance crew, the 2011 African champions of the world hip-hop international dance competition, Battle of the Year (Boty), left the country on Monday for the world dance finals in France.
Their participation in the competitions which started on Tuesday and will end on Saturday, follows their victory in finals between African groups that took place in Harare a few months ago.
“The world finals will feature 18 of the world’s best breakdance groups, with a series of performances, training programmes and workshops lined up and the final battle will take place on the last day,” said group spokesperson Plot Mhako.
Mhako said the youthful House of Stone dance crew, created by the Jibilika Dance Trust made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean outfit to reach the world finals.
However, three members of the group failed to travel because they do not have passports.
Dancers who made it to France are Collenson Kwapesa, Tatenda Nyamangara, Paul Gwandu and Fidelis Burawa.
The tour was funded by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust which paid for all the air tickets, British Council facilitated visas while local hip-hop gear label Rags Clothing provided costumes for the the group.
“This is not only support to Jibilika or House of Stone, but a breath of life to the dance and artistic roots of Zimbabwe. This support will go a long way in ensuring arts development and employment creation at a time when the entire progressive community is making concerted efforts to improve the plight of youths as part of the drive towards the Millenium Development Goals,” said Mhako. “This is a rare opportunity that would create avenues for the development of dance in Zimbabwe.”
Mhako said regional qualifying tournaments — also known as preliminaries — were held worldwide culminating in the Boty world finals.
The winner will walk away with €5 000, a one-year world tour contract and endorsement for promotional of a number of leading entertainment and lifestyle organisations.
Zimbabwe has played host to two former world champions Last for One from Korea who came to Harare International Festival of Arts in 2009 and Pokémon from France that performed at 7Arts Theatre in 2007 courtesy of Alliance Française.
Korea’s Jinjo Crew are the current world champions. Boty primarily focuses on B-Boy, an acrobatic element of hip-hop dancing that allows dancers to freely express themselves through various well co-ordinated moves.
The hip-hop dance culture was born out of persistent efforts by passionate dancers originating from the United States in the early 19th century. The dance form spread worldwide bringing youths from around the world together.