Red Bull is all about taking things to the extreme, and though we may typically associate the company with high-flying bike aerials, heli-skiing or other adrenaline-packed sports, it also supports less dangerous (but equally as thrilling) activities. Like dancing. For the last few years, the Red Bull Dance Your Style competition pitted dozens of internationally-acclaimed dancers against one another for a worldwide freestyle dance battle where only one dancer came out on top. And this year, on April 5, it’s coming to Denver for the first time.
Here’s how it works: 16 dancers are carefully selected by the Red Bull Dance Your Style team, where they face-off against each other in front of an audience to the sounds from a live DJ. The audience votes for their favorite who then advances to the next qualifying round.
Denver’s qualifying segment is the US semi-final, and the two people in Colorado will go to Washington D.C. on April 21 through 25 to battle it out for a spot to the world final battle in Johannesburg, South Africa in October. Denver is sharing the semi-final honors with three other cities — New Orleans, Houston and Boston.
In addition to the US cities, 39 other countries will have their own qualifying battles and winners to contribute to the world final, making this a truly global event.
A few things set Red Bull Dance Your Style apart from other popular dancing competitions (Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance?). First, there are no celebrity judges. The winners in each round and even in the world final are decided by the live audience which also means that the overall vibe and impression of a dance are more important than the technical aspects.
Second, the competition happens in the form of a true dance-off — one-on-one street style. These dancers are the cream of the crop in their respective genres, which includes hip-hop, popping, waacking, locking, breaking, krumping, house, flexing and more. For Denver’s match, we can expect to see a mix of local and national dancers. All of these styles match up against different styles, so the competitors must react to their opponents instead of just trying to impress the audience.
Finally, Red Bull Dance Your Style doesn’t allow the dancers to choreograph their routines. Every match uses a live DJ who plays an unreleased tracklist. That way, dancers must have an arsenal of moves and the ability to deploy them with minimal planning. It truly “presents a no-holds-barred competition allowing the dancers to fully embrace the moment and optimize the spotlight” as the release stated. The spontaneity of the whole thing makes it feel like you’re just happening upon an incredible dance-off in the streets.
Denver’s event will be hosted by breaker legend Ronnie Abaldonado, an All-Star from the other Red Bull dance competition series, Red Bull BC One for b-boys and b-girls. The music will come from Denver’s own DJ A-L. The list of participating dancers hasn’t been released yet.
“Red Bull Dance Your Style is all about giving freedom to dancers,” explained Red Bull. And for the audience, that means that the competition is all about watching dancers live in their most passionate moment, which is a pleasure no matter how much you know about their individual moves.
The Red Bull Dance Your Style qualifying round will be held on April 5 at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St., starting at 3 p.m. Tickets are available here for $1o.