Unity dance event welcomes American dance icons in Astana

Guests of the festival from the United States. Photo credit: Arman Aisultan/ Kazinform
Guests of the festival from the United States. Photo credit: Arman Aisultan/ Kazinform

Astana-based Gumilyov Eurasian National University hosted the Unity Dance Event on April 12-14, Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports. Organized by Dom Dance Kz dance studio in partnership with the American Embassy in Kazakhstan, the event aimed to celebrate the art of dance while promoting healthy lifestyles and cultural exchange.

The festival welcomed dancers and enthusiasts from various regions of Kazakhstan, as well as neighboring countries such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation and the United States.

The festival's agenda featured a range of activities designed to engage participants and enrich their understanding of dance. On April 12, the participants had the opportunity to attend an educational lecture delivered by speakers from the United States, recognized pioneers of street dance culture - Mr. Wiggles, Loose Joint, and Princess Lockerooo.

Born and raised in New York City, Princess Lockerooo (real name Samara Cohen) is a professional dancer. Photo credit: Arman Aisultan/ Kazinform
Born and raised in New York City, Princess Lockerooo (real name Samara Cohen) is a professional dancer. Photo credit: Arman Aisultan/ Kazinform

In an interview with Kazinform, waacking pioneer Princess Lockerooo spoke about the purposes of the visit to Kazakhstan.

"I am here for the Unity Dance Festival and Astana. My reason for being here is to continue to spread waacking around the world. Kazakhstan has always been one of the countries that stood out to be one of the strongest countries in the world for waacking and there is a strong and beautiful community of young waacking dancers. Now I am just continuing my mission and sharing the history and legacy, teaching and experiencing this beautiful cross-cultural event," she said. 

Mr. Wiggles, a street dancer known for his popping skills, emphasized the importance of seeking information from original sources, encouraging Kazakh dancers to invest in their personal growth. He stressed the value of enjoying dance and music for their intrinsic qualities rather than solely for financial gain.

Princess Lockerooo echoed these sentiments, particularly in the context of waacking, urging participants to explore the history of the dance form. She highlighted the need to learn from pioneers and suggested watching old films to gain a deeper understanding of its origins.

Loose Joint, a freestyle hip-hop dancer from New York, shared insights on the significance of connecting with cultural roots in dance, also mentioning the potential benefits of engaging with talent agencies for career advancement.

Following the lecture, the participants took part in masterclasses led by distinguished guests, allowing them to refine their skills and broaden their knowledge across different dance styles.

The highlight of the festival occurred on April 14 with the presentation of dance battles, where participants competed in various styles such as locking, popping, waacking, hip hop, and more.

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