Hip-Hop Invades Strasbourg!
Strasbourg was the scene of an amazing event last Friday and Saturday: l’Association Mistral Est’s fifth annual “Universal Dancers International Hip-Hop Dance Festival.” More than 2,000 cheering fans gathered on Friday night to watch as over 200 talented young hip-hop artists from France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and the United States put on a dazzling and inspirational show. The U.S.A. was represented by four performers from the Las Vegas-based, national championship winning “Battle Born Crew”, and SUPER CR3W hip-hop sensation Ronnieboy was also on hand to act as a judge in the “battles” that took place on Saturday, the second day of the festival.
I was definitely one of the oldest people in the crowd on Friday night, and probably the only person in the house wearing a necktie! I was given the honor of opening the event with some brief welcoming remarks, and despite the enthusiastic and screaming reception I received from the fans, I wasn’t kidding myself! They just wanted to get the old guys out of the way so the show could begin! And they were not to be disappointed. The performers put on an incredibly exciting show.
As I explained in my remarks, despite my California roots I am definitely not an expert on things hip-hop. But if I were to try to find one word to describe the phenomenon that is hip-hop, it would be “diversity.” There was an incredible range of diversity on display, not only among the dancers themselves, but in the styles and ranges of dance moves displayed. Everything from acrobatic break-dancing street moves, to modern jazz, to classical ballet (although instead of pirouetting on toe, the dancers did so on their heads!) Surprisingly (to me) one of the most popular numbers was a commanding and powerful tour de force set to the music of Vivaldi – albeit a heart-pounding, Red Bull-fueled, club mix version! It was amazing!! What impressed me the most about all the performances, besides their athletic and artistic beauty, was the incredible dedication and determination required of all the performers. It was clear to this hip-hop novice that the young adults on the stage weren’t just goofing around and bustin’ some moves; they were there because they had spent hours and hours of hard work perfecting the music, the choreography, the costumes and the theatrical emotions that one finds in professional dance productions.
The outstanding performances and the great atmosphere of the event were further proof that art, culture, dance, and sport transcends borders, and that through these vehicles, people who come from different places or who speak different languages can share moments of joy and creativity together. It was clear that all of the nearly 2,500 spectators and participants at the festival shared the aspirations of hip-hop: “Stay Clean, Stay Consistent, Stay Creative, and HAVE FUN!”
The U.S. Consulate General in Strasbourg is extremely proud to have helped sponsor this great event, and we congratulate l’Association Mistral Est and all the performers and fans for such an incredibly fun and successful production.
Evan G. Reade