Busting a Move at Willie Kruger Dance Competition

8th Annual Dance Competition Held at Sports Garden

DULUTH, Minn.- It started in 2011 with just 10 dancers.

This year, 43 solo dancers and 13 dancing groups got their groove on for the 8th Annual Willie Kruger Dance Competition.

The thump of bombastic beats, and the cheers from crazy crowds turn the Sports Garden upside down.

The competition brings the community together every year.

It not only benefits the dancers, participants and spectators were asked to bring hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to donate to the homeless.

All about the community, just the way Willie Kruger would have wanted it.

“It’s free, and it’s just about the community coming together as a whole, and what Willie Kruger represented,” said Founder John D’Auria.

“He didn’t believe in race he didn’t believe in economic background, he didn’t believe in religion, he just believe everyone should come together and dance.”

D’Auria started the competition in honor of his cousin, and local breakdancing pioneer, Willie Kruger.

Willie learned all of his moves out on the streets, making it his mission to give other kids a safe environment to express themselves.

Here, with brightly colored outfits breaking out in insane moves, his dream lives on, after his death in 2010.

This year, with competitors coming from as far as Minneapolis and Michigan, is the biggest Willie Kruger Dance Competition to date.

The group competition floods the dance floor with talent, attitude and character.

Each group performs for two minutes, scored by the three judges.

Soon it boils down to just two groups: Elite Family, and Game of Survival.

The two teams have a final dance off.

Elite Family electrifying the dance floor with their ecstatic isolations, while Game of Survival’s slow, powerful movements bring the room to its knees.

“First place, has to go to Elite Family,” announces D’Aria, as the crowd’s applause almost matches the dance group’s happiness, engaging in their special victory cheers.

But they dance, for something more than victory.

“It’s for me to feel good about who I am,” Elite Family co-director Shawn Vue said, after leading his group in a raucous victory yell.

“Well, I like bonding with new people, and meeting new people that share the same passion with you,” another girl said.

“One, it’s very, very healthy, and also it brings us together,” said fellow co-director Nancy Xiong.

“And, who doesn’t like to dance?”

The community sure loves to dance.

According to D’Auria, their energy is unstoppable.

So when he began toying with the idea of stopping the event after 10 years, the community quickly changed his mind.

Categories: Community, Entertainment, Features, Minnesota, News, News – Latest News