For a small island country located far from the centers of street dance culture, the Philippines plays an outsize role in the scene worldwide. Legit Status, a team founded in 2009 by coach Vimi Rivera, has continued that reputation. This August they captured the bronze in the top category of Hip Hop International, one of the world’s biggest street dance competitions. Every year, around 50 countries descend on the West coast of America to battle it out in a dozen different categories, and Filipino teams nearly always rank among the top in the mega crew competition, beating out teams from the US, Japan, and other bastions of street dance. “This year had the most intense level of competition,” Rivera says. “It’s crazy”
Legit Status started with only eight members recruited from the private schools that Rivera taught at. They’ve been competing nearly every year since their founding but only recently started to capture medals. There are now 50 members total, specializing in everything from krump and locking to house and dancehall, although at their peak there were 100. To prepare, Legit starts training in January for the nationals competition in April, which they need to qualify at in order to go to the US. They practice for four hours a day, four days a week, just to qualify. Then they keep practicing until the international competition in August.
This is the third time Legit has taken home the bronze in the past four years. In the 2000s the Philippine All-Stars introduced Pilipinas to the world stage, taking home the gold three separate times in the adult crew category. But in the past five years, Filipino crews seem to have dominated the mega crew competition. Upeepz got the gold twice and A-Team captured it once. “I can never claim that we’ll finally get it,” Rivera says. “but one thing’s for sure, we’ll always work our hardest to represent to the fullest!”