International Dance League Emile Vrolijk

International Dance League brings the best urban dancers to Rotterdam

The best urban dancers and performers from Europe come to Rotterdam this September during the first edition of the International Dance League to compete in spectacular theatre shows with battles. The event combines the worlds of hip-hop, street dance and theatre, providing a completely new dance experience for both competitors and audiences.

The main element of the International Dance League is the dance competition, for which dancers from the Netherlands and abroad have registered as individuals. After the closed preliminaries on 28 August, teams are formed of the best dancers, who will compete in the semi-finals (9-10 September) and the final (11 September). Tickets are available now.

In preparation, the teams will work towards these showcases and battles, and the dancers will receive training, workshops and dramaturgical guidance. In the end, several prizes will be awarded, including for best dancer, the audience favourite and best team. The total prize money amounts to more than 20,000 euros.

The International Dance League is all about connecting genres and disciplines. The dancers do not know in advance what the DJs will spin during the battles. They are therefore forced to go back to the roots of urban dance and simply dance to the music they hear. The focus is on authentic expression, not on individual styles. This is how crossovers and innovative moves arise. The top dancers with various skills and dance backgrounds will raise themselves and each other to a higher level in exciting battles in which they will try to outdo each other in front of hundreds of people.

The dance competition is presented by the pioneers of the Dutch urban dance world. They will explain what can be seen on stage. This makes the International Dance League innovative and interesting for both dancers and connoisseurs, and for first-time visitors.

International Dance League at Theater Rotterdam

The initiator and director of International Dance League is Leal van Herwaarden, who is well-known in the hip-hop world as a dancer, cultural entrepreneur and creative director of HipHopHuis. With International Dance League, he wants to open up the urban dance world to a wider audience, and work on the artistic development of urban dance.

Leal van Herwaarden, director International Dance League, says: “We are striving to create a professional infrastructure within the urban dance world and the battle circuit in order to raise hip-hop and street dance as a genre to the next level and to contribute to the emancipation of these dance communities. The theatre is of great value to us. It is unknown territory for many of our supporters and plays an important role in making battles accessible to a wide audience that is used to going to the theatre.”

Theatre Rotterdam supports by providing the participants with dramaturgical guidance and by facilitating the shows. Moreover, Theater Rotterdam sees the International Dance League as a welcome expansion of its dance and international programming, and as the perfect opportunity to scout for new dance talent. The International Dance League makes the programme more diverse and draws a young, multicultural audience across the threshold of the theatre.

Alida Dors, artistic director Theater Rotterdam, says: “The collaboration with International Dance League is interesting because Theater Rotterdam wants to support young artists and entrepreneurs in their development. That can be both on stage and behind the scenes. Moreover, International Dance League reaches a new target group that we find interesting, and the collaboration is in line with our goal of organising polyphony. And of course, it’s always nice when dancers and other theatre-makers meet up, to try and enrich and i

Cover: Emile Vrolijk

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