Hip Hop International annual competition to take place in Phoenix


Jude Joffe-Block: MORE THAN 4,000 OF THE WORLD'S BEST HIP HOP DANCERS FROM MORE THAN 50 COUNTRIES ARE COMING TO ARIZONA FOR HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL. HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT.

{VIDEO PLAYS}

JOINING ME NOW ARE THE COMPETITION'S CO-FOUNDERS HOWARD SCHWARTZ AND KAREN SCHWARTZ. WELCOME TO HORIZONTE. SO THIS EVENT IS A DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP. I HEARD IT’S REFERRED TO AS THE OLYMPICS OF HIP HOP. THEY’LL BE DANCE TEAMS COMPETING ALL OVER THE WORLD. SET THE SCENE FOR US. WHO ARE THE DANCERS? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?

Karen Schwartz: THEY’RE COMING FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. THEY’RE IN 50 COUNTRIES. SO WE WILL HAVE 4,000 DANCERS COMING IN, MAKING UP 250 DANCE CREWS ALL AROUND THE WORLD FROM JAPAN TO INDIA, BOLIVIA, ALL OVER. THEY’VE WORKED A WHOLE YEAR. THEY TRAINED AND COMPETED IN INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, WON THE GOLD, SILVER, BRONZE AND MADE IT HERE IN PHOENIX.

Jude Joffe-Block: AND HOWARD, I UNDERSTAND YOU TWO GOT THIS IDEA 18 YEARS AGO ON THE STREETS OF PARIS. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU CAN TELL ME THAT STORY.

Howard Schwartz: IT’S TRUE. KAREN AND I WERE TRAVELING FOR , ACTUALLY, ANOTHER EVENT THAT WE HAD DEVELOPED AND CREATED AS WELL. WE WERE IN PARIS, WE SAW B-BOYS IN THE STREETS AND IN JAPAN WE SAW DANCE CREWS DANCING IN SHOP WINDOWS AND THE SITUATION WAS NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN A B-BOY IN BATTLE. YOU SEE THEM IN A BATTLE IN THE STREETS WHERE YOU PUT IN A DOLLAR BUT YOU NEVER REALLY SAW THE BATTLE. SO WE DECIDED. LET’S SEE IF WE CAN TAKE IT OFF THE STREETS AND ON TO THE DANCE FLOOR.

Jude Joffe-Block: WONDERFUL. AND SO KAREN. WHAT COUNTRY IS THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS FROM LAST YEAR.

Karen Schwartz: WE HAVE U-S-A AS THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS AND THE PHILIPPINES ARE ALSO EXCELLENT. JAPAN AS WELL SO THEY’RE COMING BACK, AND SO IS THE JAPANESE, TO GO FOR THE GOLD AGAIN.

Jude Joffe-Block: SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE, I MEAN, THIS IS A SEVERAL DAYS WORTH OF COMPETITION. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH. HOW CAN YOU GET FROM DAY ONE TO GOLD?

Howard Schwartz: WE ACTUALLY START OFF -- FIRST TWO AND A HALF DAYS OF COMPETITION IS U.S.A. CHAMPIONSHIP. WE HAVE DANCE CREWS ALL OFFENSIVE THE -- OVER THE UNITED STATES TO REPRESENT THE UNITED STATES. WE HAVE U.S.A. WINNERS THEY START THE FOLLOWING DAY AND GO THROUGH THE THE WEEK AND QUALIFYING COMPETITIONS AGAINST OTHER CHAMPION CREWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, IT KEEPS BUILDING AND BUILDING UNTIL FINAL FIGHT WHICH WILL BE AT GCU ARENA FRONT OF ABOUT 7000 PEOPLE.


Jude Joffe-Block: THAT'S ON SATURDAY AUGUST 11th 6:30. THAT IS OPEN TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC?

Karen Schwartz: ABSOLUTELY. YOU CAN GO TO GCU ARENA.COM OR FOR TICKET INFORMATION. IT'S AN AMAZING EVENT. THE VIDEO YOU SAW JUST GIVE YOU A TASTE WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. BUT THE ARENA IS PACKED AND THE ENERGY IS UNBELIEVABLE.

Jude Joffe-Block: GREAT. WHO ARE THESE DANCERS WHEN IT COMES TO AGE? ARE THERE DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS COMPETING? I MEAN WHO ARE THE YOUNGEST AND OLDEST?

Howard Schwartz: WE HAVE DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS. WE HAVE A JUNIOR CATEGORY FOR THOSE JUNIORS WITH ARE 8 TO 12, WE HAVE VARSITY TO FROM 13 TO 17 AND THEN WE HAVE THE ADULT CATEGORY. THEN WE HAVE MEGA CREW, THAT'S ANY AGE. IT'S INCREDIBLE WHEN YOU SEE THE SYNCHRONIZATIONS. INCREDIBLE MOVES OF THE MEGA CREW. IT COMES DOWN IF THE FINALE

Jude Joffe-Block: WHAT IS A MEGA CREW?

Howard Schwartz: MEGA CREW ARE HIP HOP DANCERS THERE'S DIFFERENT STYLES OF HIP HOP DANCE. YOU SEE B BOY, LOCKING AND POPPING, HOUSE DANCE. THAT'S MANY STYLES. TYPICAL CREW IS FIVE MEMBERS TO NINE MEMBERS. AND THAT'S WHAT YOU SEE JUNIOR VARSITY AND ADULT CATEGORIES. YOU GET TO THE MEGA CREW WHICH IS 15 DANCERS TO 40 DANCERS ALL DANCING TOGETHER

Jude Joffe-Block: WOW. AND SO BEYOND THE COMPETITION, THERE'S ANOTHER ELEMENT TO THIS WEEK OF EVENTS.

Karen Schwartz: ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE URBAN MOVE DANCE WORKSHOP WE BROUGHT IN THE BEST PRESENTERS AND INSTRUCTORS. ALSO WE HAVE THE WORLD BATTLE. THAT'S ONE VERSUS ONE IN POPPING, LOCKING, BREAKING AND TWO VERSUS TWO BATTLE. WE HAVE THE ICONS IN DANCE. THOSE ORIGINATORS, THE ONE WHO STARTED IT 45 YEARS AGO. IN FACT, ON AUGUST 11th WE'LL BE CELEBRATING THE 45th ANNIVERSARY OF HIP HOP. SO, SOME OF THE ORIGINATORS WILL BE HERE WITH US.

Jude Joffe-Block: ALONG THOSE LINES, LOT OF THINK OF HIP HOP AS AN AMERICAN ART FORM. SO, I'M WONDERING WHAT IS THIS COMPETITION SAY ABOUT WHERE THE HEART AND SOUL OF HIP HOP IS IN THE WORLD THESE DAYS?

Karen Schwartz: I THINK IT'S EVERYWHERE. I THINK ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL AND WORLD HIP. DANCE CLAPP. WE HAVE BROUGHT PEOPLE TOGETHER. THEY SHARE A PASSION FOR DANCE. IT'S WHEN THEIR ISSUES GOING ON ALL OVER THE WORLD. AND YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOW MADE FRIENDSHIPS AND WE BRING THE WORLD TOGETHER IN A VERY SPECIAL WAY. AND WHILE IT'S COMPETITION, YOU SEE MUCH MORE FRIENDSHIPS THAT ARE ESTABLISHED. IT'S AMAZING.

Jude Joffe-Block: IT MAKES ME THINK, LOT OF THESE DANCERS HAVE A COMMUNAL VERBAL LANGUAGE. THEY'RE COMING FROM ALL OTHER THE WORLD. HOW DO SEE THAT PLAYING OUT WHEN IT COMES TO DANCING? DO YOU SEE THAT COMMUNICATION HAPPENING THROUGH BODY MOVEMENTS?

Howard Schwartz: IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. IT'S TYPE OF EVENT WHERE EVERYONE IS SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER. OFCOURSE, YOU COME TO WIN THE GOLD MEDAL. IT IS OLYMPIC LIKE WHEN YOU GET IN THE ARENA AND YOU'RE COMPETING TO WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. WE REALLY TRY TO BRING ALL THE CREWS TOGETHER. AND IT'S VERY FREQUENT WHERE WE WILL HEAR FROM A DANCER HE AND SHE BEEN TO AUSTRALIA OR JAPAN HAVE AND BEEN INVITED BY ONE OF THE OTHER DANCERS. TREMENDOUS FRIENDSHIPS ARE STARTED AND WE REALLY SAY HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL IS UNITING THE WORLD THROUGH DANCE. WE LIVE BY THAT.

Jude Joffe-Block: GREAT. THIS WILL BE YOUR SECOND TIME IN PHOENIX. WHY PHOENIX? HOW DO WE GET SO LUCKY?

Karen Schwartz: YOU KNOW WHAT? WE HAVE A WONDERFUL HOME. WE WANTED TO DEVELOP A FEELING OF COMMUNITY AND ARIZONA GRAND RESORT WHERE WE ARE BECOMES OUR OLYMPIC VILLAGE. AND IT IS PACKED WITH DANCERS AND JUST CELEBRATION AND IT'S JUST A WONDERFUL ATMOSPHERE FOR THEM AND WE'VE ENJOYED ARIZONA. WE’VE BEEN --THERE'S A HOT BED OF DANCE HERE. WE PRODUCED ALSO FOR EIGHT SEASONS, AMERICA'S BEST DANCE CREW. SEASON SIX? SEVEN WINNERS ARE FROM ARIZONA.

Jude Joffe-Block: THIS WILL BE THE 18th COMPETITION. I LOVE TO KNOW WHAT EACH OF YOU WILL LOOK FORWARD TO EACH TIME. WHAT ARE JUST SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS TIME?

Howard Schwartz: YOU KNOW, THE THRILL AND EXCITEMENT THAT WE FEEL INSIDE, WE'VE BEEN PRODUCING THIS EVENT FOR MANY YEARS. IT KEEPS GROWING AND GROWING. WE HAD 12 COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. WE STARTED IT IN SOUTH BEACH IN MIAMI. WE ACTUALLY PUT A FLOOR RIGHT OVER THE SAND. THAT'S HOW IT STARTED. IT GREW AND GREW. NOW HIP HOP INTERNATIONAL IS IN 50 COUNTRIES. WE JUST SIGNED SIERRA LEON WHICH IS IN AFRICA. HOPEFULLY THEY'LL GO FOR THEIR VISAS AND WE’LL GET IN THE COUNTRY AND BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE TO REPRESENT THEIR COUNTRY. WHAT I’M SAYING IS WE LOVE TO SEE IT GROW. WE LOVE TO SEE THAT HIP HOP, THE FEELING THAT SOMEONE HAS FOR HIP HOP THROUGH DANCE IS GROWING.

Jude Joffe-Block: HOW ABOUT YOU KAREN?

Karen Schwartz: YOU KNOW WHAT? I JUST LOVE TO SEE PEOPLE'S DREAMS COME TRUE. SOMETIMES IT'S JUST ARRIVING HERE AND MAKING IT THAT IS THEIR DREAM. EVERYTHING ELSE IS ICING ON THE CAKE. AT THE ARENA, WHEN THE WINNERS ARE ANNOUNCED AND THE ANTHEMS ARE PLAYED AND THE CONFETTI FLIES AND THE MUSIC IS PLAYING AND TEARS IT'S JUST AN UNBELIEVABLE FEELING. YOU CAN SEE THAT WE'VE GIVEN A LOT OF PEOPLE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE AND ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS AND CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

Howard Schwartz: I WANT TO ADD TO THAT. IF YOU'RE IN THE AUDIENCE, THE ENTHUSIASM AND THE EXCITEMENT THAT THE AUDIENCE FEELS THAT WE FINALLY HAVE TO LET EVERYBODY ELSE GET UP AND DANCE. THERE'S ONE TIME WHEN OUR EMCEE BRINGS EVERYBODY UP AND EVERYBODY IS DANCING FROM THEIR SETAS, BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH FEELING AND THERE’S SO MUCH EXCITEMENT. THAT'S WHAT WE LOVE. THE FEELING OF THE EVENT AND THE CROWD. NATIONALISM. FLAGS BEING WAVED. IT'S FUN.

Jude Joffe-Block: THAT'S FANTASTIC. WE'LL LEAVE IT RIGHT THERE. THANK YOU TWO BOTH FOR JOINING US AND BEST OF LUCK WITH YOUR EVENT.

Howard Schwartz: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Karen Schwartz: COME OUT OF ARIZONA.

Jude Joffe-Block: THANK YOU FOR WATCHING "HORIZONTE" AND ARIZONA PBS. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.

[VIDEO:] "HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

Hip Hop International’s (HHI) mission is to unite the world of hip hop through dance. The 17th annual HHI dance competition is in Phoenix for the second straight year. We’ll talk to Howard and Karen Schwartz, HHI co-founders about the competition.

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In this segment:

Howard and Karen Shultz, co-founders of the Hip Hop International

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