By Peter Gonzaga
Las Vegas - Closing out its 12th and biggest year of hip hop dance competition, Hip Hop International (HHI) enjoyed a successful week long event with over 280 dance crews from 43 countries competing for the gold in Las Vegas. Held at the Red Rock Resort with the finale at the Orleans Arena over 6000 spectators shared in the joy and spectacle of the competition dubbed the “Olympics of Hip Hop Dance.”
This year was about inspiration and being “hip hop” during the event. HHI media partner Pacific Rim Video posed the question to World Championship participants “What makes you hip hop?” Some mentioned it was the ability to dance while others spoke of the history and foundation of hip hop. A big inspiration for many dancers around the world was USA’s Crane of The Ecsntrcs. Having to deal with muscular dystrophy, Crane and his crew were given a standing ovation after their performance. Many in the audience were inspired by this young man and his crew members’ support. However Crane didn’t want his situation to overshadow the fact that this team’s dream was to dance in front of the world at Hip Hop International and at that moment they were living the dream.
The dream of creating a world presence brought all international crews together by showcasing their best hip hop dance moves. New Zealand’s premier dance/choreographer Parris Goebel (Royal Family) was already making waves even before any crews commenced performing on stage. Many wondered if the Royal Family would be able to deliver a stellar performance to bring them a three-peat in the recently added MegaCrew division. Their presence alone as they walked the halls of the Red Rock Resort commanded inspiration from dancers in the venue.
It definitely was a surprise in the MegaCrew division as La Salle Dance Company, UP Street Dance and Philippine All Stars all hailing from the Phlippines took the top three spots during the MegaCrew preliminary rounds. This was a first in the history of HHI to have one country take the top three spots during a preliminary round.
However, the victory celebration for the Philippines came to an early end when Royal Family joined the event during the semi-finals, Praise Team of Canada came back harder to over take the Philippine All Stars and La Salle Dance Company. The medal standings ended up as The Royal Family of New Zealand taking the gold for a three-peat, Praise Team of Canada receiving the silver medal and UP Street Dance receiving the bronze medal for the second time in a row.
In the junior division there was an upset. Fan favorites and last year’s gold medal winning crew, Bubble Gum of New Zealand just missed the top spot settling instead for the silver medal this year. Coming out surprisingly strong was Canada’s young ladies of Flip taking home gold while Japan’s Shinny-T rounded out the junior division with a bronze medal.
The varsity division was also another strong spot for Canada as the crowd favorite Brotherhood received the gold medal pushing the Defending Champions, Japan’s Sol-T-Shine to the silver position. Bronze medals were awarded to Sorority from New Zealand for their incredible performance.
Electing not to return to defend their championship in the adult division, The Philippines’ The Crew left this category wide open. Stepping up to the plate was The Rockwell Family of Canada making their dream of the gold come true this year. Identity of New Zealand was happy to win silver, a huge step in the right direction for the crew who didn’t even make it to the finals last year. A big surprise came in the form of Malayasia’s Elecoldxhot taking the bronze medal narrowly beating the Philippine Allstars by only .04 points. Taking classical music and giving it a hip hop flair may have been what appealed to the judges as they rewarded them with the bronze.
For fans all over the world, HHI streamed the finale live. With the success of the live stream, the dance organization is in talks to live stream the finale again next year. Hip Hop International 2014 will be conducted next year in Las Vegas from Aug 5-10 with World Battles, August 9 at the Red Rock Resort and Orleans Arena. Reserve the dates, save your money, and we’ll see you then.