Tasneen: Back to the competition, what do you look for as a judge?
Thomas: First of all dancing to the rhythm, we look for choreography, do they have costumes or at least the same t-shirts, then the music selection, footwork of course, original styles and top rocks/Brooklyn rocks/up rocks, however you call it and then the power moves and the electric boogie which includes locking and some other stuff. What is very important is that we don't want to force any crew to do moves they don't usually do. In the past the crews thought they had to show a little bit of everything and then they started to practise locking or popping and that looks bad so we decided to let people do what they have practised and are good at. Most of all don't forget that it is a dance and not a power sport, dance on the rhythm that's all we're looking for, have your own style, don't bite.
Tasneen: There were a lot on dancers in this year's event how was the judging for you?
Thomas: It was a bit exhausting judging 25 crews, the quality of at least half of the crews was low but it is good for the kids to be on stage in front of a big crowd because it educates them. At BOTY we have 15 crews but they all have a good level, at the German nationals we have 12 crews which is nice for the audience. At the end I think Emile was hurrying the last crews on, it was too much, so next year we have to think about how we can eliminate the crews in a fair way maybe with regional competitions.
Tasneen: Do you have any set rules like the length of the show or number of crew members?
Thomas: I am actually working on a booklet to give away to everyone who runs their national finals and there is a rule like no more than 7 minutes and no more than 10 dancers in a crew. If a crew has a show of 7.5 minutes we will not cut off the music, but sometimes 5 minutes are better than 7 or 8 minutes, if you are 8 dancers 5 minutes should be enough in the 1st round you only have to show what you can do best in a good way. This is also what the judges are looking for, if there are 3 people in the 5 minutes doing a windmill, it is not necessary, if 1 is specialised in air twists it is enough if he is doing it. In Germany already the new crews recognize this because at Battle of the Year we always have a similar jury, we have like 8 people and we pick out about 5 who are always the same, they are of course experienced and a bit older (in their late 20s) and the kids now recognize that we want to see dancing more than air twists. I mean it's basically the audience which wants that because they don't understand all the complicated footwork so it's not as attractive to them. The dance crews should make a difference between commercial shows where they do all their head spins and real competitions and Hip-Hop jams. In Germany the kids are already starting to learn this because the jury is not looking for 16 air twists in a row - it's boring.
Tasneen: Final thought?
Thomas: Chapters definitely need to be started all over the country with lots of support for Emile and Black Noise hosting the main event but always keep in mind that bigger is not always better, it is nice to start with small events.