If, like me, you missed the 1984 break dancing movie, Beat Street, you may be surprised to find it at number 12 on the list of best 80s dance movies. You’d probably be even more surprised to know that it made it to East Germany. It seems it was allowed because its producer, Harry Belafonte, was a Communist. That was also news to me.
Regardless, it spawned a movement here in East Germany, and Heiko Hahny Hahnewald, who is still performing and teaching classes, was one of the champions on the circuit. Years ago a kid named Steffen Theime somehow found himself at one of Heiko’s battles.
Today that kid is the organiser of Leipzig’s very own street dance battle, Style Wild Weekender.
What started in the 70s in New York as battles between crews has gone worldwide. Steffen says what’s most important is the camaraderie and the exchange.
This weekend is much more than just battling. It kicks off tonight with a party at Distillery.
At 10.00 pm there’s a screening of Martha and Niki.
I was moved to tears over and over again when I watched it. These girls are my heroes. Not only were they the first girls ever to win the biggest international street dance competition, Juste Debout in Paris, but they go on an incredible journey physically and emotionally.
Both girls were originally from Africa and now live in Sweden. Niki was adopted as a baby, but Martha came when she was 14. Through dance, they empower each other to reach heights and depths they would never have achieved on their own.
While judging a men’s competition in Czech Republic, Niki said, “What’s missing here is the ladies…I don’t understand why we can’t mix it up. We need each other’s flavours. I need yours. You need mine.”
Style Wild’s organiser, Steffen, wants to take that concept beyond gender. He wants to promote a feeling of respect and exchange. His vision is that there is serious competition, but the competitors don’t take themselves too seriously.
Martha says when she dances, she feels free. This concept of being able to enjoy the essence of dance was something she said she missed from Uganda. She said no one cared if you were good or not. It was just that dancing made you happy.
Saturday at Distillery there are “Knowledge and Exchange” workshops, and sold out street dance workshops at Spinnerei later in the afternoon. Martha is one of the presenters. No wonder they are sold out!
Then the hang out continues at Heizhaus.
Sunday is the day of the street dance battle and you don’t want to miss it.
Battles @ Halle D in Werk 2
10:30 Registration – Dancers
11:45 House Pre-Selection (no audience)
12:15 Popping Pre-Selection (no audience)
12:45 Hip Hop Pre-Selection (no audience)
13:00 Entrance – Audience
13:45 Experimental Pre-Selection
14:15 House Quarter Final
14:30 Popping Quarter Final
14:45 Hip Hop Quarter Final
15:00 Pause/Break & Showcase
15:45 House Semi Final
16:00 Popping Semi Final
16:15 Hip Hop Semi Final
17:15 Judge Demo
17:30 House Final
17:40 Popping Final
17: 50 Experimental Final
18:00 Hip Hop Final