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    Street dance hots up, as Freeze makes its summer debut 

    The brain-child of city-based hip hop group, the Black Ice Crew, Meltdown will be the first summer edition of Freeze, the city’s biggest celebration of underground urban culture. “Freeze has been going on for seven years, and everyone has been asking for a summer edition. With hip hop becoming increasingly popular, we think there’s more than enough support for it,” begins Naser Al Azzeh, the founder of both the Black Ice Crew and Freeze Festival.
    Summer popping
    Held in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, Meltdown includes participants from Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. Categories include break dancing, popping and beatboxing. “One of the things I’m most looking forward to is the ‘two on two’ break dancing, because we’ll be assigning random partners to the contestants. We call it ‘Why So Serious’ because we’ll play the craziest music we can, so that competitors have to think on their feet,” says Al Azzeh. A final category is ‘all style’, in which groups of three can perform a freestyle routine across hip hop genres. “This is also a fun category to watch, as groups can go wild and mix it up,” he adds.
    Feel the beat
    While there will be around 200 entries across the competitive categories, the Black Ice Crew expect over 500 participants to turn out over the two-day festival. Judges include city-based BBoys June and Achaiah, as well as popular Sri Lankan rapper Julius Mitchell, who will be judging the beat boxing category. “We’ve just found out that he’ll be coming, and we’re super excited to have him on board,” says Al Azzeh, adding that he hopes it will encourage more beat boxers to come forward and show their talent. While the city’s hip hop scene is still in its infancy, it’s come a long way in the last seven years. “I now can’t keep track of all the young talent coming up. I’d say that we have the best hip hop scene in India, not in terms of numbers, but in terms of how everyone is at peace with one another. We just don’t tolerate negativity,” he says, adding that festivals like Meltdown are a perfect example of different city-based crews coming together to promote hip hop culture.
    `100 entry for spectators. At Max Mueller Bhavan, CMH Road. Details: 9880991782
    —Maegan Dobson Sippy


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