Dance is often explained as movements set to rhythm and while that is indeed accurate, the description fails to capture the artform’s many complexities. This past weekend in Miami, the final Red Bull Dance Your Style qualifier event ahead of the U.S. Finals provided thrills, twists, and turns, not unlike the skills displayed by the syle masters who took to the dance floor.
Hosted in the sunny backdrop of The Magic City, Red Bull Dance Your Style Miami was held at the world-famous LIV and hosted by Florida native and multifaceted entertainer, MyVerse. Unlike Red Bull BC One where there existed a panel of guest judges, this event featured no judges, no pre-chosen music, and an innovative fan vote feature that, at times, sparked the crowd to call for a tie-breaking dance-off.
Ahead of the battle, Hip-Hop Wired had the pleasure of meeting with some of the competitors who shared their backgrounds as practitioners of what is essentially Black creative expression that has firm roots across the continent of Africa, the Caribbean, and the urban environments of the United States.
Brittany “Floey” Thomas spoke with us first, sharing her background in dance after forgoing the life of corporate America. Floey’s infectious energy and her humility stood out most of all.
“I’ve always seen dance as living art and I’m here at Dance Your Style to show my side of it, especially as the child of parents from Jamaica,” Floey began. “To be invited here to perform on this big stage is just another confirmation that my decision to pursue dance was the best thing for me.
Joining Floey in the conversation was Dante “SweetFace” Reeder-Williams, a native of Florida and a member of the V3 dance collective, who has participated in a number of dance competitions ahead of his appearance and was equally as humble.
“Like Floey, my parents probably had different ideas of how I was supposed to run my life and I left college to pursue this dream,” SweetFace said, almost remorsefully as he explained that the tone has indeed shifted. “But now they’re seeing that this is a real career for me and couldn’t be any more supportive.”
Beyond the niceties displayed between the pair, make no mistake, each dancer wanted the opportunity and bragging rights of vanquishing the other at the qualifier. That attitude was quite present in Infinite “Ivvy” Lynn, a dancer out of Brooklyn, N.Y. who employs the beautiful flowing style of flexing. In our all-too-brief chat with Ivvy, we learned quickly that she’s not only representing her borough but all Black women who dare to be different.
“One of the things I know for certain is that dance is ours, it’s rooted in Hip-Hop and soul, but it’s uniquely ours,” Ivvy shared. “And as a Black person doing this for a living, as a Black woman most specifically, I take it as an honor and I want to go all the way.”
We wrapped up our pre-event chat with Dassy, the eventual winner of the Miami qualifier. Dassy Lee, who hails from South Korea and is a founding member of the Femme Fatale dance crew, was especially humble and gracious with her time.
“The way I look at dance and movement, it’s just a feeling,” Dassy said. “I don’t go into competitions thinking about what someone else does, I only focus on what I do best and I try to feed off the energy of the music and crowd. It’s not always easy but I somehow find my way in the dancing.”
Dassy and Sweetface faced off as the top two contestants of the qualifier and while some protested in the crowd and on the Caffeine streaming app during the livestream, Dassy gutted out a well-deserved win over a very capable opponent.
After the event, the exhausted finalists were succinct in their answers to our questions, and rightfully so.
“I gave it my all but I can admit I was tired at the end. But if anything else, I proved myself against some of the world’s best dancers and I got to see my V3 crew get booked and dance for the world to see. I’m going to go to D.C. and do my best so while I didn’t win, and I wanted to, I’m here and people will know the name,” Sweetface said.
Dassy was even more straight to the point.
“This was not easy at all and by the end, I had to dig really, really deep to find my way. And I can say that even as hard as it was, I knew I could do it and I wanted to do it not for just me, but for my Femme Fatale crew. I am very honored to be the Miami winner and I’m ready for D.C.,” Dassy concluded.
The Nation’s Capital will be the backdrop of the U.S. Finals for Dance Your Style, with past competitors Rios joining Dassy and SweetFace at the Howard Theatre on October 23 to see who will go on to the World Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa.
To learn more about the upcoming Red Bull Dance Your Style U.S. Finals in Washington, D.C., click here.
If you can’t make it to D.C. for the U.S. Finals, be sure to tune in at https://www.caffeine.tv/ and follow the Red Bull Dance Your Style channel, featuring loads of content from some of the slated performers and live recaps.
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool