Hip-hop’s future stars are polishing their moves
The country’s funkiest movers will be slamming for glory at the Thailand Hip-Hop Dance Championship on April 8 and 9, hoping to be part of the world finals in the US in August.
M Theatre on Bangkok’s New Phetchburi Road will be hosting the national round.
More than 4,000 of the world’s best dancers, crews and mega-crews from 50 countries will mass in Phoenix, Arizona, this summer for the World Championship. Hip-hop artists and other celebrities will be there to perform and cheer on the contenders.
“Hip-Hop International Thailand started in 2013 after D Maniac sent a video clip of their stage show to the overseas organisers and qualified to compete in 2011,” says Tharuekamon Yodchan, director of the local event.
“Because of their impressive show they were invited to attend the competition again in 2012. By the time the Thai event started there were loads of hip-hop groups getting attention, some of them ranked, like, 15 out of more than 70 teams from around the world. Last year D Maniac finished fifth out of 50 teams.”
D Maniac took its cues from “The King of Garuda”, a play performed by the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre, impressing the judges with their mingling of delicate Thai artistry and a rough-and-ready Western music genre.
“Some people worried that blending Thai culture with hip-hop might cause offence,” says Pravas Siripongpun, one of the crew’s members, “but groups from other countries were doing the same, and the audience loved the fusion of raw hip-hop and a gentle Thai performing art.
“We’ve been competing in the championships for five years, but this year we’re definitely going to be the champs. Our motto is ‘Never give up!’”
Ian Levia and Jay Lopez from Mexico, Kite Masai from Japan, Xernan Alfonso from the Philippines and Thailand’s own J Da will be the judges for local contest next month.
Already getting underway at MBK Centre and continuing through Sunday is the “Devotion Dance Camp”. The training session features workshops by hip-hop stars including Pravas, Girin Jang of South Korea, Eric Ardila from Canada’s Rock Well Family (world champs in 2013) and Pakorn “Mark” Wanithanont from Urban Studio.
Keep on top of events via the “HHI Thailand” page on Facebook.