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United We Dance Issue no. 6 | December | Happy Holidays

Welcome to United We Dance..

Welcome to United We Dance, your monthly magazine from the international world of street dance!

Since the month of holiday spirit is upon us, this December issue will be getting festive: featuring articles on Christmas traditions across the world, ranking the best Christmas adverts with dance, an interview with Chuck on the transition from street dance to pantomime, feel good stories, and much more!

Scroll down to start getting into the Christmas spirit...

Contents

  1. UDO News
  2. UK - What's On this Christmas?
  3. Feature: Celebrating Christmas Across the World..
  4. Video: Twist & Pulse 'Christmas Spirit'
  5. From Street Dance to Pantomime: An interview with Chuck
  6. The Best Christmas Adverts featuring Dance
  7. How to Celebrate Christmas in your Studio
  8. Our Christmas Wishlist...
  9. A Feel Good Festive Story (with UDOIT! Dance Foundation)
  10. The Twelve Days of UDO ..
  11. In Next Month's Issue...

UDO News..

UDO heads to North America

Last weekend the UDO team jumped across the pond to Orlando, Florida for the North American Hip-Hop Dance Championships 2018. Dancers from across America, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean showcased their exceptional performances throughout the two day event. As well as competing in the dynamic competitions and battles, dancers had discounted access to the Build a Beast Convention Tour workshops, from the IMMABEAST Faculty (including celebrity choreographer and online sensation WilldaBeast Adams), who was on the judging panel for the weekend.

Here’s a few of our highlights ..

A special shout out & thank you to everyone who competed in the North American Hip-Hop Dance Championships. It’s safe to say, hip-hop is here to stay!

Tis’ the season to be giving ..

As a special thank you to our incredible dancers, supporters and teachers, we are giving away a variety of prizes as part of the UDO holiday giveaway.

And in the spirit of the holiday season and giving, a selected handful of these competitions have a twist - we’re asking you to nominate what dancer/ teacher /supporter / team you think deserves the prizes.

Prizes include: day passes to Worlds 2019, merchandise vouchers, spotlight features in the United We Dance magazine, meet and greets and much more.

We’ll be releasing competitions every other day starting from the 3rd December. To find out how you can get involved, keep a look out on the @udostreetdance facebook and instagram!

Looking back on the year ..

2018 has arguably been the best year in the UDO world. Seeing the incredible talent, energy and dedication of the global community makes the team at UDO proud to do what we do. This year, we watched the passion for street dance spread even further afield, with new competitions in Asia Pacific and North America, as well as witnessing dancers from across 35 countries head to Glasgow, for the UDO World Championships 2018.

We've counted down our highlights this year:

1. The introduction of 2.0 Championships in the UK - witnessing SuperCrew and quad goals!

2. Heading to Asia Pacific and North America for the first time for the North American and Asia Pacific Street Dance Championships

3. THAT locking demo from Valentino at the European Championships

4. Watching all 35 countries showcase their love of street dance at the UDO World Championships 2018

And last but definitely not least ..

5. Watching our UDO dancers grow throughout competitions this year - seeing firsthand how dance has such a positive impact on everyone’s lives.

What’s been your favourite moment of the competition year?

Let us know on social by sharing your memories!

The 2019 UDO Dance Season ..

After an incredible year, we’re looking ahead in eager anticipation of the routines, talent, energy and most importantly, passion of the UDO street dance community in the new year.

With the end of the 2018 year kick starting the UK 2.0 Championships, we’re looking forward to starting the 2019 year in full swing: watching all the impressive and artistic SuperCrew routines, our dancers popping, locking and house freestyles in the new battle categories, and watching quad showcases.

In 2019, to continue celebrating dance in our global community, we will be heading back to North America and Asia Pacific, as well as launching the inaugural UDO Scandinavian Open Championship in Denmark, coming October 2019! And as for the creme-de-la-creme of UDO Championships, the 2019 UDO World Street Dance Championships is moving back to the home of dance, Blackpool for August 2019.

To find out more about how you can get involved in 2019, click the link below!

UK - What's On This Christmas?

Throughout December, there’s always plenty to do; and that’s just the holiday shopping! The dance world lights up for the holidays every year, with Christmas-themed performances, dance school showcases, pantomimes, parades, and much more. Here’s our run-down of what to watch this month…

The Classic

The hotly anticipated ballet-based film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms came out 2nd November, and the live version The Nutcracker is coming from none other than the Royal Ballet. The Nutcracker doll is given to Clara, who delves into a magical realm on Christmas Eve. A perfect Christmas classic, the Royal Ballet will perform until 9th January 2019 at the Royal Opera House, London.

The Romantic

Popular Christmas films are being screened in cinemas everywhere. Our favourite? The touring Love, Actually with full orchestra! We know, it’s not exactly a dance film, but the iconic scene of Hugh Grant busting a move in Number 10 has got to be one of the most well-loved dance sequences. Catch Love, Actually on the big screen until 13th December. Shows are running in cities from Cardiff, Edinburgh, Hull, Manchester, York, Cambridge, and more!

The Comic

As a staple of Christmas celebration, pantomimes across the country will open their doors this month. Featuring your favourite dance stars, you can catch the some of the UK’s leading dance talent in Pantos near you! If you’re near Northampton, why not take a trip to Neverland with Flawless in Peter Pan? In Arbroath, UDO favourite Chuck will be making wishes come true as the Genie in Aladdin, while Chris and Wes will be bringing the laughs in Maidstone’s Snow White.

The Fantastic!

With activities like UK Lapland and tours of Hogwarts on offer, along with ice rinks, markets and grottos springing up in almost every town centre, it’s easy to go into spending overdrive. But remember what really makes the holiday period special; spending time with loved ones. Pop on that Christmas radio station, throw those decorations up, and get dancing to some festive tunes!

Celebrating Christmas Across the World..

As we approach the time of year that’s all about spending quality time with friends and family, we wanted to take a moment to consider what this time of year means to our UDO family across the world. Our dance family spans generations, time-zones, continents, languages, and cultures. Yet, we are all united through our love of street dance.

Here’s our rundown of Christmas traditions across the UDO world. Wherever you are, we’d like to wish you the happiest of holidays!

The UK: Towns and cities host all-singing all-dancing Christmas parades, which normally end with the switching on of the Christmas lights. Many towns welcome German Christmas Markets, and host carol concerts through the month of December. Families gather on Christmas eve, and the main celebration comes on the 25th December with a roast dinner, mince pies, and Christmas cake.

Greeting: Merry Christmas! (Scotland/England) Nadolig Llawen! (Wales)

Ireland: Christmas is a time for family and friends to come together, with carol services and Christmas-themed events running across the country. Like the U.K, turkey takes centre stage, and St Stephen’s Day (26th December) is the main celebration for many Irish families. There are often parties lasting late into the night!

Greeting: Merry Christmas! / Nollaig Shona Dhuit! (Irish).

Philippines: around 80% of the population are Roman Catholic, so Christmas is a much-loved time of year. the Giant Lantern Festival is held on the Saturday before Christmas eve each year, and the most popular Christmas decoration is also a lantern, made from bamboo strips. People indulge in a midnight feast on Christmas Eve, welcoming in one of the most important holidays of the year.

Greeting: Maligayang Pasko (Tagalog), Malipayon nga Pascua (Illonggo).

Mexico: From December 16th to Christmas Eve, many children perform processions known as the ‘Posadas’, which represent Mary and Joseph’s trip to the Inn. During this time, the outsides of houses are decorated with lanterns, evergreens, and nativity scenes. Posadas culminate in big parties with piñatas and fireworks, and Christmas Eve is the biggest party of all!

Greeting: Feliz Navidad!

the Netherlands: people celebrate Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) eve on 5th December. Sinterklaas visits the houses of children to deliver them presents, and families then get together on the 25th and 26th December to celebrate the holidays. Music plays an important part in Dutch Christmas traditions, as does dancing at holiday parties!

Greeting: Prettig Kerstmis!

Belgium: Similar to the Netherlands, Sinterklaus visits children on the 6th December to bring sweets and presents. The lavish Christmas meal is eaten on 24th December, featuring stuffed turkey for main and a chocolate log cake for dessert. Like its Western European neighbours, Belgium hosts many a Christmas market through its towns and cities, where Smoutebollen (sweet, deep fried dumplings) are a treat of choice.

Greeting: Vrolijk Kerstfeest (Flemish/Dutch), Joyeux Noël (French), Frohe Weihnachten (German) djoyeus Noyé (Walloon).

USA: The holidays in the States are celebrated with the national enthusiasm, bringing communities together for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas celebrations. Houses are often decorated with expansive light displays, with the most famous decoration being the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree in New York. Often the setting of many much-loved Christmas films, the USA loves going all out for the festive season.

Greeting: Happy Holidays!

France: Père Noël visits the children of France on Christmas Eve, and places sweets in their shoes by the fireplace. French markets are immensely popular this time of year, and often feature festive songs and performances. Gastronomy plays a huge part in French Christmas tradition, with meals lasting for up to 6 hours at a time featuring everything from fois gras to roast goose to caviar to patisserie.

Greeting: Joyeux Noël!

Germany: Christmas markets also feature in German towns big and small, offering treats such as the famous Stollen cake. Christmas eve is the main day for exchanging presents with loved ones, but the celebrations continue to Christmas and Boxing Day.

Greeting: Frohe Weihnachten!

Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, we wish you a happy holiday season!

Twist & Pulse 'Christmas Spirit'..

UDO judges and much-loved duo Twist & Pulse have the perfect video to get you in the festive spirit. This original, feel-good Christmassy tale put a street dance twist on everything we love about this season. Featuring all-singing all-dancing elves, new Santa sidekicks, and a message of friendship and support, this short musical film is perfect for dance fans this Christmas.

From Street Dance to Pantomime: An Interview With Chuck

Along with mince pies, Christmas songs and tree decorating, an enjoyable addition to the holiday season is pantomime performances. Performed across Britain, pantomimes are a unique form of theatre performance as they allow the audience to interact with the cast, bringing joy and laughter to their lives.

We spoke to UDO faculty member Chuck (who has been cast as Genie Jay Z in Webster Memorial Theatre's take on Aladdin), on his experience of performing in pantomime and how he believes this can bring transferrable skills to your street dance performances.

Hi Chuck. Can you tell us about the role you're playing in Aladdin?

I'm playing Genie Jay-Z in the Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath version of Aladdin. This panto is a reimagining of the tale of Aladdin, which is written, directed and choreographed by JJ Christine. Set in a far away village called Tang Wang, this tale tells of an Evil Abanazar’s quest, who in looking to become the most powerful ruler of the world, asks for the power of mighty hip-hop Genie Jay Z to grant him wishes. Meanwhile, Aladdin and his brother Lankie are on a quest to become international superstars and escape their lives working in the laundrette for their Mother Widow Spankie. All the while, Princess Jaz is looking to find freedom to hopefully find her one true love. This tale tells the story of what happens when all the characters' paths cross - with plenty of fun, craziness, singing and dancing included along the way!

What is your favourite part about being able to work in pantomime?

There are so many enjoyable aspects to working in pantomime. One of my favourites is the fact that it is so festive, and really gets me in the mood for the Christmas holidays. Having the opportunity to go on stage, perform, make people laugh, and get in good spirit this time of the year is an amazing feeling. It’s a total feel-good project and there is so much fun involved. As a performer in pantomime, I feel the more fun we have on stage the more enjoyment the audience has. Pantomimes aren't performances that can be passively watched, so once that curtain goes up, the cast and the audience start the adventure together.

How do you adapt your style to different settings, going from street dance to pantomime?

Pantomime is a very different format to my usual showcase format. Normally I would come out and dance and then I’m done, but not in this scenario. Being part of the main cast, I have to use more than my dance abilities. Personally when I showcase, I like to try and keep my audience engaged with not just my dynamic and crazy moves, but stage presentation and performance. It’s these techniques I try to carry over into my role and into my dialogue in pantomime.
If I am to compare pantomime to my breaking background then attributes I would link would be: confidence, charisma and commitment. For me this means 'if you don’t believe in what you're doing and execute it with confidence and character, how will your audience believe you?' It’s the same way I would view a battle or showcase; focus on being the best version of myself, and believe in who I am and what I have to show.
There isn't time to worry about opinions and other people's point of view (unless it’s your director!) Another aspect I can link from street dance to pantomime is team work in a crew battle or showcase. You all have to do your job and support each other, trust each other, and if one person doesn’t do so well you help them out and pick them up. Likewise, if your crew member is on fire you blow it up, but no matter what you have each other’s back. This works the same on stage in pantomime; the cast work together and have to be a team. Pantomime is a massive team effort and one trait that has helped me in panto from breaking is team work. Work together to produce the best results for everyone. Don’t just focus on your own role within the team, understand and respect everyone’s role within the team.

What advice would you give to street dancers who are looking to be involved in projects outside of their comfort zone?

The advice I would give is to go for it! Everything is an experience and you can learn so much from taking part in different projects. You learn about ways of thinking and perspective, and how to apply your skills in a new way. I would 100% encourage UDO dancers to get involved in projects such as pantomime, theatre or anything that is deemed outside of your comfort zone. It will help boost your confidence, bring new skills and will provide a fresh perspective on how you can showcase yourself and what you do.

What other projects are you working on at the moment?

Pantomime is a great, fun break to the end the year. It's nice to stay in one place and to work on just one project with lots of amazing people, but I am looking forward to getting back on the UDO circuit and working with the team! I can’t wait for the UDO British Championships 2019, it's always such an amazing event!

Catch Chuck performing as Genie Jay Z in Aladdin, this December at the Webster Memorial Threatre in Arbroath.

You can also find Chuck bringing his energetic, breaking showcases in the 2019 UDO new year, including at the UDO British Street Dance Championships 2019.

The Best Christmas Adverts Featuring Dance!

From mid-November, major companies across the world gear up to drop their Christmas adverts. Some aim to make us cry (we’re looking at you, John Lewis), some to make us laugh, but most of all, they signal that the Christmas period has well and truly begun. As we know, Christmas is all about sharing time with loved ones, and connecting with friends and family. These short films with their beautiful soundtracks, whimsical characters, and poignant messages often manage to raise more than just a smile or a tear; they make us reconsider what the spirit of Christmas really is.

And what better way to showcase unity, compassion, and support than featuring dancers?

Sainsbury’s ad nailed in this year: ‘the Big Night’ featured children of all ages putting on a performance that would make even the most Scroogy among us break into a smile. The once-nervous children put everything into a performance for their parents, reminding us that ‘we give all we’ve got for the ones we love’. Look out for the show-stealing bauble!

‘To Your Own Beat’ is the theme of River Island’s Christmas party advert, and features dancers of all ages, ethnicities, and abilities. They strut their stuff in sparkles, ruffles, jazzy suits, and sleek dresses – a clever showcase for their clothes, but doesn’t contain a Christmassy message we’ve come to expect from a festive advert.

Not usually one for adverts, the BBC couldn’t have done a better job in 2017. The short film charts a little girl’s determination to perform at the Christmas talent show, and will tug on the heartstrings of every parent. Her single father’s support reminds us what Christmas is really about: spending time together.

In 2017, we were mesmerized by this advert from Apple. The dancers whirl through the snow-dusted streets, like the snowflakes that fall upon them. A beautiful advert that captures our attention, it encourages viewers to ‘move someone this holiday’. We’re still not sure how they managed to keep wireless headphones in throughout the lifts and turns though…

Note: feature does not imply endorsement of any corporations or products.

How to Celebrate Christmas in the Studio..

Around this time of year, we love to think about how to best celebrate Christmas with dance families everywhere! Here’s our rundown of how to celebrate the festive season in your dance studio…

The Perfect Christmas Showcase

Nothing bonds a dance family together much more than preparing for a show. The hours spent rehearsing, the beautiful costumes, the makeup, the hairstyles, the music…it’s often the highlight of a dance school’s year. When things get a little chaotic, remember to take a step back and enjoy the crazy, sparkly days leading up to the show. Make sure there’s plenty of bubbly (and lemonade for the kids!) to go around once the curtain falls, and take the time to celebrate with your dance family. Having a ‘perfect’ show doesn’t have to mean that every routine goes to plan and every step is executed on beat: it can simply mean watching your dancers enjoy themselves on stage.

Party Time!

Once the Christmas show is complete, a party can always keep the festive fun going! Make sure you pack the playlist with your students’ favourite dance tracks, and throw in plenty of Christmas tunes. Decorating the studio doesn’t need to be expensive, as some tinsel around the mirrors and lights strung across the barre can make the world of difference! Get the invitations sent out far and wide, welcoming in all members of your dance family.

Season of Giving…

To keep the Christmas spirit high, why not suggest a Secret Santa among the dancers? Giving little gifts can show them all how valued they are, and gives them a little something to look forward to at the end of term. Gifts to teachers are always appreciated, and parents can get involved by sharing a mulled wine or two at the Christmas parade!

Let’s be honest: if Christmas adverts have taught us anything, it’s that the greatest gift we can give to those we love is our time. However you celebrate the festive season with your studio, we hope your dance families enjoy spending quality time together. Now, let’s get the box of celebrations out…

Note: this piece first appeared on 'Encore Weekend - the ultimate dance experience' blog.

Our Christmas Wishlist..

Want to treat yourself or your team this holiday season? Have a look at our top picks on the must have clothing and accessories for the next year’s street dance training and competition calendar!

Ratchet

Ratchet Women's Yellow Long Sleeve Crop Top - £9.99
Ratchet Burgundy Sweater - £12.50

Brand B1

Bandanas for you and your squad - £2.99
Linear Performance Adidas Duffel Bag - to store your competition gear - £21.95
Rep #UDOSwag at a 2019 Championship - £18

A Festive Feel Good Story..UDOIT! Dance Foundation & the Road to World's Fundraising Journey

Charity fundraisers Brett & Lee were on a mission with UDOIT! Dance Foundation and the Teenage Cancer Trust to change young people’s lives in 2018. Your participation in the bingos, raffles and events all played a huge part towards the Road to Worlds 2018 fundraising activities.

The Road to Worlds Fundraising Journey

Throughout 2018, fundraising ambassadors (and UDO dads Brett & Lee) set themselves a challenge to walk the equivalent in steps from their home town of Plymouth to the World Championships 2018 in Glasgow, forming the Road to Worlds campaign. Although they missed their target steps, they managed to walk an impressive 670,000 steps at our UDO street dance Championships throughout the year.

As well as the countless hours of steps achieved, raffles and bingos were hosted at UDO championships and their local community centre to contribute towards the fundraising activities. Their hard work didn’t go by unnoticed, with Lee achieving runner up at the Woolwell centre ‘Fundraiser of the Year Awards.’ Lee was congratulated for his hard work in fundraising to change young people’s lives and also creating a social circle for his local community to play bingo!

Thanks to your help and kind donations this year, the fundraising activities raised a total of £5,000, which has been split between charities UDOIT! Dance Foundation and the Teenage Cancer Trust. The money raised funded 100 hours of nursing for the Teenage Cancer Trust (the equivalent to two and a half weeks!) allowing the Teenage Cancer Trust nurses to provide specialist care & support to young people with cancer. The money raised for UDOIT! Dance Foundation is now contributing towards the funding of projects in local areas, including free dance classes to allow the opportunity for young people to dance. These projects increase confidence, self esteem and the physical & mental wellbeing of young people.

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated and got involved with the 2018 Road to Worlds campaign.

Road to Worlds 2019 will be launched in the New Year, click the button below to find out more!

To find out more about the incredible work of the Teenage Cancer Trust, please visit

The Twelve Days Of UDO ..

To end the year in good spirits, we want to finish the holiday issue of United We Dance with a take on the carol 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' from Peter McGuire - a parent, supporter and UDO Scotland team member.

Cue the 12 days of UDO..

In Next Month's Issue...

Next month, we'll be helping you beat those January blues with a whole host of New Year themed features.

Think dance-based New Years Resolutions, advice on beating the January slump in the studio, events to look out for in the New Year, why we're so excited for 2019, and much more!

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Drop us an email marketing@theudogroup.com or send us a message on social media: @udostreetdance.

Credits:

Created with images by Yannis Papanastasopoulos - "untitled image" • 3dman_eu - "paris la fayette department store france christmas" • jill111 - "decorating christmas tree santa woman"

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