Stalamuerte at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai
© Vaqaas Mansuri | Focus Sports

How StalaMuerte communicates through dance

The Swiss hip-hop dancer discusses why he feels dance is a true language of communication and how he speaks to audiences through his movements.
Written by Sean Sequeira
8 min readPublished on
When StalaMuerte conducts a workshop or performs a judge showcase, he embodies what he believes.
If his advice is to stretch your arms like you are reaching for the sky or pivot in a spot like you are trying to tuck your limbs into your torso, he practices what he preaches whenever he dances.
Watching him in action at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai is a lesson in itself; showing why he is considered one of the best hip-hop dancers of his generation.


© Dmitriy Tibekin / Red Bull Content Pool

For StalaMuerte, hip-hop dance is not just about practicing a movement, it is his preferred language of communication.
“Hip-hop dance is a language that everyone can understand, no matter where I go. It’s a common language. With dance, you can share with people your mind set, your way of seeing dance, and the knowledge that you have learnt,” says StalaMuerte.
For StalaMuerte, the music comes first, and how a dancer interprets the music is how they communicate.
“We all hear the same music, but the way we express it in our dance is different. I may speak French and someone else speaks Hindi, but we can understand each other through our dance, because the movement is a common language and we use it to express ourselves, our culture, our beliefs, etc.”

Speaking through movement

The Swiss-born dancer travels the world to conduct workshops, judge competitions, be an ambassador to dance, and much more.
When he is conducting a workshop, he speaks English because most people around the world speak the language and he wants to make sure everyone learns. If people are unable to understand him, he keeps a local translator by his side so everyone has the benefit of his teaching.
But when he gets down for cyphers, jams, battles, etc, he doesn’t even speak. He let’s his dancing do all the talking.
“We only communicate through dance. For example, I will do a throwdown, and that is like me asking a question. Then someone else will throwdown and that is like them responding to my question. It is conversation through dance,” StalaMuerte explains.

7 min

One Life, One Dance: StalaMuerte

Follow Red Bull Dancer Stalamuerte in a dance performance through the moments that made him.


He doesn’t like to practice routines. He says that is almost like rehearsing a speech. He prefers his dance to be like a conversation where the music makes him feel something and he responds according to what he feels right then.
“I prefer to feel the music, feel the moment, and live in the moment. For me it is really important to live in the moment and enjoy it as much as I can. That’s why I freestyle, because I do what comes naturally to me based on how I feel at that moment, and how the music makes me feel,” he says.
While he doesn’t believe in routines, he does have some signature moves which everyone knows are StalaMuerte originals. In linguistic terms, anyone copying those moves would be using StalaMuerte’s words.
“One move has me do a scorpion kick and then go down to the floor. I’m sure if you ask anyone to dance like StalaMuerte, they will do that move. Everyone knows that is my language,” he says.
Stalamuerte at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai

StalaMuerte at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai

© Vaqaas Mansuri | Focus Sports

Understanding your partner

The hip-hop dance duo of StalaMuerte and French-based Diablo have been praised for their perfect understanding of each other’s styles. They’ve won several competitions over the years and watching them dance together makes it clear why they’ve been so successful.
“When I’m dancing with my crew mate, Diablo, we don’t necessarily have to talk or practice before we perform. When I watch his first few moves, I already know what he is going to do because of our connection and experience over the years. We have practiced so much, we know everything about each other’s movement,” says StalaMuerte.
The dedicated time that the two dancers spent practicing together gave them a perfect understanding of what the other is like as a dancer and as a person. While they usually communicate in French, they barely speak when they dance.
“Between 2017 and 2019, Diablo and I practiced together a lot, because we were in a lot of battles. Before every competition, we would live in each other’s house and practice continuously for two-three weeks. We got to know each other so well and learnt about each other’s dance so much. We both speak French, so that’s how we talk to each other. But when we would practice, maybe I would just do a dance move, and he would say, ‘Ah, cool move, do that again.’ I would repeat the move and he would immediately learn it. That’s how we would talk through dance,” says StalaMuerte.
One of StalaMuerte and Diablo’s most famous moments on the dance floor was their battle against Les Twins in the quarterfinal of the hip-hop round of Juste Debout 2019. The pair of Red Bull Dancers – also known as Los Diablos De La Muerte – beat the famed French twin dance duo and went on to become Juste Debout champions that year.
“When we beat Les Twins, we had practiced for maybe just one week. We did the best we could with little time. In fact, we practiced our routine in Diablo’s kitchen while we were cooking food. Our connection was already very strong at that point, so we didn’t need to practice so hard. We knew each other. We were just chilling, and practicing wherever we were,” says StalaMuerte.

StalaMuerte’s strongest statement

While his many battle victories have brought StalaMuerte acclaim, it was a solo performance that brought international recognition much before.
StalaMuerte had been invited to perform a guest showcase at World of Dance 2017. The performance titled Up to Here, Everything Goes Well has since been hailed as one of the true paradigms of communicating a message through dance.
“I was invited by WOD to do a guest showcase. I told them, ‘If you want me to just dance and leave, I am not interested in that. If I dance on your stage, I want to leave a message.’ I informed them about the theme in advance. The theme was racism, racial profiling, and police brutality against black people. I left a very strong message on that stage,” says StalaMuerte.
While his dance was exemplary, it was the use of the platform, explosivity and true emotion in his movement, and the dramatism that he put into the performance that left a lasting impression.
“When I was depicting a scene of a black person being shot by police, I used fake blood to show the wound. People were really amazed by the showcase, because generally when guests perform at WOD, they do a simple dance, without any message. So my performance with a theme and hard-hitting story left everyone shocked. I gave my everything on that stage. And they gave me a standing ovation for it,” he adds.
The performance still resonates with every dance enthusiast, because StalaMuerte left them with something they hadn’t felt before.
“I would say it wasn’t about the specific movements I made in the dance. It was about the emotion I felt for the theme, and how I portrayed that emotion through my dance. Everyone in the audience felt it that day. So what I was communicating through that dance was the emotion, and it connected with the audience,” he says.

1 min


StalaMuerte shows from all perspectives why he is one of the best dancers in the world.

How you can speak the language of dance

If dance is a language, then surely it has words, grammar, and syntax, like most languages in the world.
For StalaMuerte, the physical movement are the words you use, but the effort that you put into the movement also forms a different part of the language.
“When you dance for an audience – take for example Just Deboute, where there are thousands of people watching – people will be looking at more than just your moves. They will be focussed on what you offer them in terms of a feeling. For example, if I do a flip, apart from the movement of the flip itself, what I am communicating to the audience is also my energy and my emotion. It is about me listening to the music, what it makes me feel, what I channel through my dance, and what I make the audience feel,” says StalaMuerte.
Stalamuerte at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai

StalaMuerte at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2024 Weekender Mumbai

© Vaqaas Mansuri | Focus Sports

For him, the emotion conveyed through dance goes a long way – in fact it may be the sincerest form of communication.
“The reason the battle against Les Twins was the best hip-hop dance battle of the year was because everyone in the room could feel the tension of the battle. They could feel how hard Diablo and I were focussed. They could feel our motivation, mission, and our hunger to win that battle. And they felt it with every move that we made on the dance floor.
“It wasn’t about the moves we were making, it was about the sensation. If you were to ask anyone from that audience, what they remember of the battle, they will say, ‘The atmosphere was crazy.’ And for me also, because I live in the moment and freestyle, I can’t tell you the exact moves I did in the battle.
“I can only remember it was very quick because we felt a lot of emotions, we put those emotions into our dance for the audience to feel them, and the room was on fire!”

Part of this story


A hip-hop dancer from Switzerland, StalaMuerte triumphed at the renowned Juste Debout alongside his French battle brother, Diablo.

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