The Crown after his win at Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022
© Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool
Dance

Light is “The Crown”: David Stalter Jr. is ready to compete

Dance has been a constant source of inspiration for David “The Crown” Stalter Jr. After a difficult year, he’s back with a light heart and ready to compete in the November 4 World Final in Frankfurt.
By Tyra Nicole Triche
5 min readPublished on
David “The Crown” Stalter Jr. had just wrapped up his freshman year of high school when he found himself enthralled with watching dance videos on YouTube. He didn’t have friends who knew how to dance, so he sat in front of his bedroom mirror and practiced mimicking the movements he found online. He focused on mastering one or two moves at a time, and from there, he’d “freestyle [to] explore and play with [the] movements.” At that time, he was 15 years old, and dancing helped him overcome those middle school years when he was very shy and introverted. He found that dance was his form of therapy. It finally allowed him to express himself. It helped him to blossom, be happy, and be strong. Dance quickly became an outlet for him to work through these emotions. “I started to fall in love with [dance] as a means to better express myself,” he explains. “It really saved my life.”
The Crown competes at the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

The Crown competes at the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

© Justen Williams / Red Bull Content Pool

Determined to one day have the confidence to show the world his talent, The Crown committed himself to a year of practicing in private to build up courage. His hard work paid off, and by the end of that year, he was performing publicly at his high school. Eventually, that would evolve into competing in dance battles at school. From there, he was able to build a solid community of dance friends, and over the years, they have been able to learn from and teach one another.
The Crown mastered his craft and is now battling on national and international stages. He’s set to be a wildcard on November 4 at the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Final 2023 in Frankfurt, Germany. The Minnesota native specializes in a variety of dance styles, including hip-hop, animation, breaking, popping and locking. He credits his upbringing in the African American community, as well as his Liberian and Korean heritage, for his ability to be so open minded when it comes to different styles and perspectives within dance. His background has also fostered a deep love and appreciation for music of all genres. These characteristics have proved to help make him a stronger dancer, especially when it comes time to battle.
The Crown after winning Red Bull Dance Your Style 2022 qualifier in Chicago

The Crown after winning Red Bull Dance Your Style 2022 qualifier in Chicago

© JP Calubaquib / Red Bull Content Pool

Participating in Red Bull Dance Your Style has been perfect for The Crown because, to him, Red Bull Dance Your Style is “a pure dance competition—it’s about who's out dancing whom.” He loves facing competitors who leave him feeling excited with each body motion. Beyond their physical movement, he’s interested in observing the intention behind his opponent’s flow.
As a very charismatic person, during a battle, he never feels pressured to get the crowd on his side. “It's more about if I express myself, somebody is going to feel that, and [it] will resonate,” he explains. “They will also feel what I feel, and now, suddenly, the crowd’s engaged.”
The Crown wins the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

The Crown wins the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

© Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool

Last year, The Crown took home first place in the 2022 Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final. This was a big win that came at the peak of a very difficult time for him. What the Red Bull Dance Your Style audience couldn’t see behind his impressive dance moves was the heavy heart that he held. A month before he went on to dominate the qualifier in Chicago, The Crown's father passed away. He nearly decided to forgo the Chicago competition, however, he pressed on and put all of his focus into his craft. “I was doing it 100 percent before, but [now] it has to be 1,000 percent,” he thought to himself.
He would go on to crush the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final, however the weight of it all came to a head when The Crown lost at the final stage of the Red Bull Dance Your Style 2022 World Final in South Africa---battling through a recovering meniscus. “It really hit hard because I didn't give myself a moment to stop and breathe,” he reflects. “I don't think I was prepared to feel like I wasn't good enough.”
The Crown says that since time has passed, he’s made peace with many of the things he hadn’t accepted during that time. He’s also had time to rest and fully recover from his injury. And although he may not have won the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Final last year, he now realizes that he was still blessed in that moment because of the lives he was able to touch throughout his journey to that stage.
The Crown competes at Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

The Crown competes at Red Bull Dance Your Style National Final 2022

© Jesus Presinal / Red Bull Content Pool

I still believe in myself 100 percent, and I think that's a beautiful thing.
The Crown
“I still believe in myself 100 percent, and I think that's a beautiful thing,” he says. “The impact spoke for itself, at the end of the day.”
Now that he’s got his mind and body in a healthy state, he says that he’s going into next week’s Red Bull Dance Your Style World Final with a light heart. Gearing up to enter the competition as a wildcard, he’s on a mission to motivate people around the world, which he tells through his art. “I move with my family and friends on my shoulders,” he says. “And for those people that don’t have a voice, as well.”
As he reflects on the way dance has saved his life, he recalls “being in my room, expressing myself and saying, ‘I'm gonna make it through the day,’ when I felt like I couldn't.” As someone who has always been inspired by all forms of artistic expressions, whether that be music, dance, or even painting, he hopes to be a source of inspiration for others. He hopes that when people watch him dance, they feel the way in which this art has impacted him.
”I just want people to really know that they're not alone,” he says. “I'm here with you. I made it through, you can make it through too, and hopefully my dance inspires you.”