Hey Canada, are you..
ready to rumble?
This past weekend, a huge chunk of Toronto’s dancers got together to celebrate their shared love of dance in the first ever Urban Rumble Dance Competition.
Lineup stacked, auditorium filled, and teams amped up, the experience felt eerily close to home, a slight surprise accounting that Toronto is the literal furthest you can get within the continent from where STEEZY is based (in Los Angeles).
But dance knows no southwest nor northeast- dance cares little of country or area code. Dance just is, and dancers just know.The more exposed we are to different pockets of our community, the more apparent it becomes that there are just slight cultural nuances between us. (Timbits from Tim Horton’s as an intermission snack was a pleasantly new experience.) We begin to realize that we are all on parallel dance journeys, striving to showcase the best of ourselves.
The show was held at Don Bosco High School’s auditorium, an 800-person seating venue that was maxed out on capacity that night. However, the venue is significant beyond serving as a space to hold the night’s crowd: it has, actually, been the exact stage where so many dancers have made their first steps. High school scene took roots at Don Bosco, and all who had since evolved in their dance paths but came back for Urban Rumble were met with a trace of nostalgia and appreciation-in-retrospect.
Hosted by Diamond Osoteo and judged by Vanessa Li, Paulo Santiago, and Carlo Atienza, the show, for the most part, involved influencers who were rooted from the community and were happy to give back. Riman Rafi, the founder and producer of the show, oversaw the whole process.
Each team brought such obvious conviction- they were hungry, eager to showcase to the audience and their fellow dancers all the work they've put in in preparation for the show. Despite the ups and downs leading up to it, UR was the climax of the journey, their respective purposes coming to life.
Everyone performed to the best of their abilities, but these three teams stood out to the judges.
A small but stacked group of charismatic breakers. They pulled out all the guns: nunchucks, choreo, power moves, and even a playful Rush Hour tidbit.
Vie Division showcased their versatility as well as dynamic, creative staging. No need for crazy props or outrageous costumes- they just delivered with straight talent.
Taking the crowd by storm, literally, were the champions of the night C2 Genesyes. Director Gregory Villarico said, of “FUTURE GENESIS”-
"It's an abstract concept about the rediscovery & reclamation of oneself. It’s inspired by the internal and external struggles that the new generation of C2 dancers experienced while going through a transitional year that saw veteran dancers, leaders, and choreographers leave C2. The challenge was to be as clear and concise with our ideas without making the thought process too accessible."
You may think that a dancer from Southern California would find all this foreign, but really?
Canada vs. US:
Some stylistic (and tons of slang) differences, sure, but similarities galore. It’s almost like our communities exist in these parallel universes where we’re experiences the same struggles, the same triumphs, the same drama and joy and everything in between. Dance connects us all, and not just in theory.
"Seeing everyone come out for the love of dance was truly inspiring. This only makes the community in Toronto that much stronger."
— Diamond Osoteo
The key is to keep moving forward, no matter the geographic location of your community, is to move together. To have witnessed an event like Urban Rumble was a blessing that inspired all involved to bridge the gaps between communities and sub-communities in order to best support and celebrate each other.
Thanks for having us, Urban Rumble! 'Twas a pleasure and an honor.
How do you think other communities can network and collaborate to build a future together? Comment below and share with us!
Speaking of international bridges, Body Rock is a huge meeting ground for dancers all over the world. Relive the night, here.
Wherever the competition, you'll probably catch these dancers leaving the venue.