Hip hoppers, listen up. Juste Debout, the first-ever Hip Hop World Championship will be held in Paris next month.

Now, that may seem far away, but there’s a reason last year’s winners are coming to Mumbai. Tomorrow, they will conduct auditions to select talent that will take part in eight qualifier rounds on Tuesday. Winners stand a chance to compete in the finals in France.

(Clockwise from top) Toyin Sogunro, Shiori Enomoto, Niki Awandee and Delphine N’Guyen
(Clockwise from top) Toyin Sogunro, Shiori Enomoto, Niki Awandee and Delphine N’Guyen

“India has over 40-50 jams and dance events every other week. The country has already made its mark on the world stage and we feel the competition will be stiff,” says Niki Awandee from Sweden who will be in the city next week to judge the competition that was launched in 2001 by dancer Bruce Soné in France. She’ll be joined by Delphine N’Guyen aka Dey Dey (France), Toyin Sogunro (USA) and Shiori Enomoto aka CIO (Japan).

In French, Juste Debout means  ‘just upright’ and was born out of  the need for a competition for authentic urban forms of dance. More than 10 years later, Juste Debout has tapped into talent from countries like Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Spain, and Switzerland, to become the largest dance event in the world. “In Mumbai, the contest will focus on locking, popping, hip hop New Style, house, experimental and dancehall,” says Awandee.

The main events include two on two battles in which a duo work as a team trying to outperform the opponents in a specific dance style category. Participants will dance to tunes selected by the Juste Debout DJs. Dancers will not be given the song in advance. A battle finishes when each dancer has performed twice. After each battle, the judges will pick winners that will qualify into the next round.One winning couple will be selection for each of the four dance style categories.

Auditions will be held on February 22 at 11 am at Arpita Step Up Studio, E Square Complex, Subhash Road, Vile Parle (E).