Filipinos take center stage at World Hip Hop Championships

Ella Fortun
World Hip Hop is unlike any other dance event. It is like being yourself in a crowd full of strangers who smile at you and applaud your talent.

ELLA FORTUNWhen the world comes together on one stage, magic happens. At the center stage of the World Hip Hop Dance Championships, people of all ages, races, nations, and personalities are united by their common love of dance. When shared with one another, this passion becomes an epidemic impossible to cure.


Every August, dance crews and individuals alike fly thousands of miles across the globe to compete at what most call “the Olympics of hip hop.”

Hip Hop International’s World Hip Hop Dance Championships, on its 12th year this year, is the melting pot of competitive—but friendly—hip hop dancing. It is a two-week event filled with 3 rounds of competition, as well as Urban Dance Workshops by the hip-hop scene’s latest and greatest. It’s also a great opportunity for individuals to flaunt their competitive style at the World Dance Battles.

Being yourself

World Hip Hop is unlike any other dance event. It is like being yourself in a crowd full of strangers who smile at you and applaud your talent.

Step into any dance cypher (a circle of good energy where anyone can step into the center and freestyle) and your attempts will not go unnoticed. Walk through the hallways and you’ll see crews rehearse their competition pieces. Experience the World Delegation Day, where flags of participating countries are waved around and all participants shout their country’s name, and you will realize just how fortunate you are to be there representing your country through dance.

TRAINING HARD. LSDC Street strike a pose during training. All photos from Ella Fortun 

Philippines represent!

Whenever people ask me and my team where we’re from, we proudly say “Philippines!” and get the warmest possible reaction. The Philippine All-Stars and The Crew — two Filipino adult crews —  put the Philippines on the map in World Hip Hop because of their one-of-a-kind routines that garnered them gold medals on separate years at the competition.

Thanks to their talent and what they’ve accomplished, Filipinos are filled with pride at World Hip Hop.

“Filipino! Filipino! Filipino!” and “Pinooooy! Pino-ooooy!” are proudly sung and chanted by Filipinos from all over the world before a competing crew from the Philippines performs. It is also heartwarming to see a number of Filipinos representing different countries—such as Canada, USA, Guam, and Germany, to name a few—cheering for their home country.

 PINOY PRIDE. LSDC Street members Rashme Leano, Ella Fortun, and AC Suico raise the Philippine flag on World Delegation Day.

Three timer

This year marks my 3rd attempt at the renowned international competition. Before college, in 2009, I competed for the 1st time with budding dance crew Legit Status in the Varsity Division. It was an eventful and memorable experience that landed us in 7th place among 42 dance crews.

Last year, for the competition’s 11th run, I competed in the Megacrew Division with La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street), the official street dance representative of De La Salle University-Manila. The attempt landed us in 6th place among 31 participating Megacrews. It was an experience that drove us hungry for more.

 FORTY STRONG. LSDC Street Megacrew at the 12th World Hip Hop Dance Championship Finals. Photo by Official Hip Hop International

This year, armed with a new routine and a hefty load of 40 participating members, LSDC-Street had our arrows aimed higher. At the preliminary round for the megacrew division on August 6, we became a part of history — ranking 1st among 38 crews and being at the Top 3 alongside the other two Philippine representatives: U.P. Streetdance Club (2nd) and The Philippine All-Stars (3rd).

It was an experience that brought all Filipino participants to our knees in thanksgiving. The event was capped off with a celebratory prayer said by all 3 teams. The experience brought to light the realization that making it to the top, in any way or form, is possible for the Filipino.

READ: Pinoy teams top World Hip-Hop prelims

RAISE THE ROOF. The Philippine representatives that made it to the World Finals: The Philippine All-Stars, U.P. Streetdance Club, and La Salle Dance Company Street.  

The 12th World Hip Hop Dance Championships has 9 crews from the Philippines: Varsity Division – A-Team, Legit Status, and LMN; Adult Division – ADDLIB, The Philippine All-Stars, and Unschooled; Megacrew Division – La Salle Dance Company-Street, The Philippine All-Stars, and U.P. Streetdance Club.

Almost all crews made it through the preliminaries and to the semi-finals, while The Philippine All-Stars (Adult) and La Salle Dance Company-Street and U.P. Streetdance Club (both Megacrew) made it to the finals. U.P. Streetdance Club bagged the bronze medal at the megacrew division finals.

FLAGS UP. A Hip Hop International crew member giving the Megacrew teams some inspiring words after the awarding ceremony.  

Love of dance

Being at the competition—whether as a participant or a spectator—is enough to make you feel the love of dance emanate from every single person there. All countries bring to the stage dancers who exude passion that is evident in their facial projection, movements, and stage presence.

The biggest opportunity one can have at the competition? A venue to inspire. Not only are dancers influenced by the variety of dance styles we see, but we are also given a stage to appreciate the dance and be appreciated by the dancer. –

Ella Fortun recently graduated from De La Salle University-Manila with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and a major in a Creative Writing. She has been dancing ballet, jazz, modern, and hip-hop since she was 3 years old. She is an alumni member of the La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street). 

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