Participant performs at Red Bull Dance Your Style in Nairobi, Kenya in 2022
© Dan Kiptoo / Red Bull Content Pool
Dance

6 popular street dance competitions

Street dance is about showcasing creativity and character. Check out how these street dance competitions do just that.
By Andrew Porter
7 min readPublished on
Breakers are the first to admit it’s hard to explain how they move. By definition, street dancing is energetic, expressive, and improvisational– but in practice, 2021 Red Bull BC One champion Amir says breaking is an art.
“It is important to me that my dance is creative, aesthetic and unexpected,” he explains. “For me, breaking is an art form and I want it to look like a painting.”
B-boy Amir and Mighty Jimm at the Red Bull BC One World Final in New York

B-boy Amir and Mighty Jimm at the Red Bull BC One World Final in New York

© Little Shao / Red Bull Content Pool

Street dance styles includes hip-hop, breaking, popping, locking, and krumping. B-boying is another sub genre of breaking that has catapulted into popularity over the past two decades. As a result, so have events and competitions for b-boys and b-girls like Red Bull BC One.

6 Popular Street Dancing Competitions

With 18 World Finals and 60 qualifier events in more than 30 locations, Red Bull BC One is a great place to see the marriage of unorthodox movement combined with music, rhythm and culture. It’s one of six popular street dance competitions worth checking out.
01

Red Bull BC One, Various Locations Worldwide

Red Bull BC One is an annual global one-on-one break dancing competition in which thousands of breakers compete for a chance to perform on the Red Bull BC One stage. The competition starts with regional contests around the world where dancers attempt to make the World Finals. The international qualifiers are extremely intense as only 16 B-boys and B-girls are chosen to participate in the World Finals. At Red Bull BC One, battles are judged by a panel of experienced b-boys and dance experts, who evaluate the dancers based on criteria such as musicality, technique, creativity, and overall performance. There have been 18 World Finals held in various cities since 2004, and Red Bull BC One also has over 60 qualifier events and programs in more than 30 locations.

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Additionally, the Red Bull BC One E-Battle allows people from anywhere in the world to compete online to become their country's champion.
As if that weren’t enough, Red Bull BC One also has a program called the Red Bull BC One Cypher, which aims to develop and support the local breaking scene in various cities around the world. The program involves hosting events and workshops that bring together local breakers and provide them with opportunities to learn from more experienced dancers and improve their skills. The Cypher program has been held in more than 20 cities around the world, and has helped to nurture the talent of many aspiring breakers.
02

Battle of the Year, Various Locations Worldwide

Battle of the Year–also known to some as the World Cup of Dancing–is widely regarded as one of the most competitive break dancing competitions in the world. In 2022, the competition was held in Japan for the first time in its 32-year history. BOTY has a preliminary round in which 24 teams participate in 5-minute team face-off battles. From this round, 4 teams move on to the main tournament. The main tournament includes semifinals and finals rounds, in which the four teams participate in a 7-minute semifinal and an 8-minute final where the winner of the final match is determined as the champion of the competition. We’d argue that the real winners are the fans– as they get to experience an action packed, b-boy extravaganza.
03

The Notorious IBE, The Netherlands

This 25-year-old festival promotes hip-hop dance, music and togetherness over a three day span throughout indoor and outdoor locations. The purpose of The Notorious IBE is simple; to promote hip-hop. Creators of the festival embody this by encouraging attendees to dress fresh, look your best, and honor hip-hop in every way. The festival features a variety of different street dance styles, but the main focus is on breaking. The winner at The Notorious IBE is determined through a series of elimination rounds and battles. The competition typically starts with open qualifying rounds, where dancers can showcase their skills in hopes to advance to the next round of competition. The next round consists of group dance where dancers of different backgrounds and styles improvise together in what’s known as cyphers, with the best dancers selected to move on. The event continues with a series of 1-on-1 battles, where dancers compete against each other in a head-to-head format. In the finals, the last remaining dancers face off in a final round of battle, and the judges determine the winner. Audience voting is also considered in the judging.
04

Red Bull Dance Your Style, Various Locations Worldwide

2 min

Here’s how a Red Bull Dance Your Style event works

Get the lowdown on how global 1v1 street dance competition Red Bull Dance Your Style works.

Red Bull Dance Your Style is a global dance competition that allows the audience to vote for their preferred dancers to determine the winner. Dance Your Style is a mixed-style dance competition, which means it showcases a variety of street dance styles. In 2022, 60 dancers from over 30 nations, who emerged as champions from two seasons, competed for eight spots to face the wildcard invitees in the World Final held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Examples of the styles one can expect to see performed are breaking, popping, hip-hop, and locking, among others. The styles of dance that are performed can vary from year to year and from competition to competition, as Dance Your Style aims to showcase a diverse range of street dance genres from around the world.
05

Urban Street Jam, Various Locations in California

Urban Street Jam is a yearly festival that celebrates hip-hop culture and features performances and exhibitions of music, art, dance, and fashion within the hip-hop community. The first annual Urban Street Jam was held in California in 2010. The event featured a fashion show, choreography dance competition, 2 vs 2 all styles dance battle, B-boy dance competition, clothing venues, graffiti showcases and import luxury cars. The winner of Urban Street Jam is determined by a panel of judges who use a scoring system to evaluate the dancers based on technique, originality, and stage presence. The dancer with the highest overall score at the end of the event is declared the winner. Several members from both America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance have attended and performed at the event.
06

Hip Hop International, Los Angeles, California

Hip Hop International is a Los Angeles-based company that produces live and televised street dance competitions and events. Founded in 2002 with the goal of promoting and celebrating street dance and hip-hop culture, HHI's competitions and events are known for being some of the largest and most respected in the world. The company has a strong focus on honoring the traditions and origins of street dance, and it works closely with dance originators, respected street dancers, and other professionals to develop and maintain standardized judging practices that are used at its competitions worldwide. Hip Hop International offers the opportunity for competitors to compete as a solo act, duo/trio, group or crew. HHI also boasts some of the most unique hip-hop dance styles the world has to offer such as breaking, popping, locking, and even house dance. HHI even hosts international judging workshops to ensure its regulations are upheld. Recognized as a leading authority in hip-hop and street dance, HHI has a presence in over 50 nations across the globe.

Conclusion

B-boying and street dance are about more than random movements; they’re about showcasing creativity and character. B-boys and B-girls spend countless years honing their craft to compete in international competitions to represent themselves and their hard work all while helping the sport continue to grow on a global scale.