Summer Dance Forever – Your Win Is In Your Hands


Summer Dance Forever is a Street Dance Festival in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, that includes workshops, theater performances, master classes, battles and parties. World class dancers come out to compete in house, breaking, hip-hop and popping. The 2015 festival just concluded last week and some of the battle footage has already been released. Click through to learn more about the much hyped competition.

The 2015 festival just concluded last week and some of the battle footage has already been released. One of the most interesting facets of this competition that separates it from the rest is that once the three finalists are chosen per category, the next step is that the dancer has to choose a judge to battle. In essence, it becomes an entirely new category as, at this point, the judges become part of the competition with the possibility of losing against someone that they had put into the finals.

But hold up a sec — if the judges battle, then who is judging?

 

Summer Dance Forever - Your Win Is In Your Hands
Photo courtesy of summerdanceforever.com


That’s
 where this battle format gets good. For Summer Dance Festival, they omit judges for the final portion of their competition. The dancers become the judges, meaning that they either admit that they lost, or if they can’t– the crowd decides. It goes like this: you do your round, the host then comes up and asks each dancer if they lost. If neither admits they lost, they go another round. If they still are unwilling to admit defeat, the host then asks the crowd to cheer for their favorite dancer, using a sound decibel device to monitor who received the loudest response.

This setup is more innovative than what we can imagine. Essentially what it does is force the dancers to put pride aside and judge honestly. Because here’s the thing, most of the time, we already know if we won or lost. Yeah sure, there’s the element of ties and close calls, but nine out of ten times, you’ll know that you lost if you’re willing to admit it. Summer Dance Forever puts that on the dancer, asking this question, “You want to win or you want to be real?” And that’s a hard question to answer.

 

Summer Dance Forever - Your Win Is In Your Hands
Photo courtesy of summerdanceforever.com

Even though this was the semi-final battle between Gucchon from Japan and Greenteck from Canada, we see multiple times when prodded by the host, “Who do you think won?” Gucchon answered multiple times that he “didn’t care.” As you watch the video, it’s like watching two titans clash against one another, the difference of attitude between Gucchon and Greenteck more than apparent.

The popping community is fairly divided; some believing that Greenteck won and others believing that Gucchon took it. Letting a battle go to crowd decision (which in this case, it did) is the worst case scenario because your fate then lies in the hands of the non-experts. Ultimately, Gucchon won this battle by receiving the louder crowd support. It can be assumed that they voted not just for his skill alone, but also for his respectful way of handling a battle. He repeatedly offered to continue battling until it could only be all but clear who the winner was. One thing the crowd noticed was the souring of Greenteck’s mood and the respectful nature of Gucchon’s. If it tells us anything at all, it reminds us that it isn’t just about the funk we bring with us or the battle tactics we use, respect has disappeared in a lot of ways when it comes to battling, with too many people focused on the win. Gucchon reminded us what it means to be a real winner — inside and out.

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Noelle Marie

Noelle Marie is a writer and personal essayist that covers topics ranging from social justice to the Asian diaspora to hip hop and street dance. She's currently finishing up a novel covering her roots in the Philippines, and she's the dance editor at the 5th. You can also catch her at any street dance event in LA either competing, judging, or performing.

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