Braunschweig. For many of you, thinking of the quiet town of Braunschweig, Germany brings to mind two things: lederhosen and schnitzel. On the streets of cities all over the world, youth who claim 街头文化 (jietou wenhua or “street culture”) repeat the word “Braunschweig” like some ancient mantra. The reason? The German city plays host to the annual Battle of the Year (BOTY), in which the world’s finest hip hop dance crews compete for the respect of their peers and new razors from the competition’s sponsor, Braun. For any breakdancer, a trip to Braunschweig to compete in the BOTY would be akin to Ralphie finding a Red Rider B.B. Gun on Christmas morning.
For Shanghainese crews, the road to Braunschweig begins this Saturday at Luwan Gymnasium (卢湾体育馆), where the Chinese qualification round for Battle of the Year will be held. The competition will be fierce, however, as the finest poppers, lockers, breakers, uprockers, and hip-hoppers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau — assembled in teams of 4-8 people — will compete for the chance to represent China (still one country, two systems, but only one winner) in the international BOTY competition Oct. 22.
Yes, that trip to Braunschweig that we all dream about is on the line. If you find yourself with nothing to do on Saturday, or if you have never seen two crews “battle,” swing by Luwan Gymnasium and join Shanghaiist for what promises to be an exciting event.
UPDATE: And the winner is … Fabulous gets fabulous at B.O.T.Y.
BOTY. 2 p.m. July 2, Luwan Stadium, 128 Zhaojiabang Lu (上海卢湾体育馆 肇嘉浜路128号). Tickets: RMB 30-300. Advance tickets are available by phone — 62894322 or 62892918 — but you might want to brush up on your Chinese before calling if it’s rusty.
All images courtesy of Battle of the Year’s online gallery.