Miami is one of six metro areas to host Red Bull’s regional qualifying rounds, with Boston, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Miami-native Flores dancing in pop-up battles around town in anticipation of Saturday’s contest. She says the city’s culture shaped her interest in dance even before she discovered styles like the one she performs today.
“Coming from Miami, there’s a lot of dancing,” Flores says. “I’m Cuban through and through, and it’s part of our culture…to dance everyday, and wake up and fall asleep to music.”
But it was a Brazilian jujitsu class in Broward that introduced her to the style of dance that excites her the most today. At the time, her instructor invited her to attend an underground dance meet dubbed house of drums. It was his introduction to the underground dance scene.
“After seeing different dance styles like poppers, dancehall, house dancers, choreography and love of dancing because of my Cuban culture, it helped me fall in love with different forms,” recalls -she. “But I had no idea what I was looking at. It was the first time I saw all these styles and seeing all these people expressing themselves in different ways.”
Once she discovered the scene, Flores embarked on learning popping. She researched the style and its 60s and 70s roots in Fresno, California. And she started dancing with a team.
In 2017, she quit that dance team with the goal of pushing her style even further. She traveled to California and trained with members of the legendary Electric Boogaloos, the street dance crew that pioneered the pop dance style.
Red Bull noticed her talents on Instagram and invited her to participate in the Dance Your Style movement. She was thrilled because she says there aren’t many competitions that feature poppers these days.
“Breakers have so many opportunities globally, and as a popper and like any other dance style, we don’t have as many opportunities because the styles aren’t really known,” says Flores. “I try to fight to keep popping alive. A lot of times people confuse popping with [similar styles like] botting or animation, but I really want to keep the style in its original core. Popping is a groovy style.”
Foxxy says she encourages dancers of all styles and skill levels to support Dance Your Style competitions, especially at the local level. “The people you’re going to see in this competition are the ones who haven’t given up on their craft and are continuing to perfect and cultivate it,” she says. By attending, says Flores, dancers and spectators can make the underground dance scene flourish.
“What people don’t realize is that all this stuff you see on TV is all stolen moves and broken down moves from the underground. Dance styles like popping, locking, house, the litefeet, the crump — a little bit of those styles were stolen to do those commercial things,” Flores says. “We cried out for an opportunity like this. Finally, we have our chance to shine and show you the real, authentic people behind the dance.”