We’ve been huge fans of Red Bull’s Dance Your Style competition for years now so we were especially hype to score an invite to this year’s Boston qualifier earlier this month.
That excitement grew exponentially after experiencing the competition live and watching a 20-year-old young woman dubbed Beasty take the crown.
New York native, Tomoe ”Beasty” Carr started her dance training in Japan at Next Generation Dance Studio under the tutelage of Cebo. In addition to forging a solid foundation of over a decade of experience dancing hip hop, house, waacking, locking, popping, and breaking, Beasty also trained in ballet and modern styles at Peridance Center. Additionally, Beasty also studied litefeet under pioneering dancers Chrybaby Cozie and E Solo.
We caught up with Beasty following her win. She was in great spirits as she described the energy that she brought to the competition.
“Battles are nothing for me,” Beasty told Global Grind. “I’ve gotten to that point where I’ve entered so many battles… that’s like have fun. You know, you can do this. It’s not a problem. You got this. If you want to win, win.”
If she makes it sound easy, keep in mind she’s been competing for over a decade now since she was just a little girl living in Japan.
“That’s where I learned how to dance, actually, because my parents had a studio there,” Beasty explained to Global Grind. “I’ve been dancing since I was young. Like, my first performance was like, five or something.”
“My dad was my teacher,” Beasty continued. “He had a couple of instructors there, too. So, I learned from them, too. I had ballet, jazz, modern, and my dad made sure I took house first. No, it was hip hop, first. And then he was like, ‘You have to do house.’ And it’s crazy because on the first day of my house class, I showed up in baggy jeans and a baggy T-shirt, because that’s what you do in hip-hop, right? So, everybody’s in sweats because, you know, a house is more of a sweat in a t-shirt kind of that you could be loose as you’re moving. Hip hop is more like at that time, I feel like it was more hard and just raw. So when I showed up, I was so embarrassed. That was an interesting class. I think I cried in that class, too, because I didn’t understand it, but I kept going though.”
Brought up in the close-knit community of dance it seems only right that Beasty faced off against her own “uncle” in the final round of competition.
“My dad is Cebo, he’s a house dancer and is known in the community and yeah that’s like my uncle,” Carr said of Gutta, who’d ironically, beaten out one of his former students, Stiggity Stackz in order to advance to that final round.
In her first two rounds of competition, Beasty faced other female competitors, Lioness from New York and Lady Beast from Brockton, MA. In her third-round of battle, Beasty defeated Lil O, before eventually triumphing over Gutta to win the qualifier. We asked her whether the co-ed battles were more challenging, but she said her training pretty much prepared her to compete with anyone and that the gender of her opponents never really crossed her mind, although several of the genres she dances in typically separate the male and female battles.
“They don’t normally combine the guys and the girls in the litefeet community,” Beasty told Global Grind. “It’s always the girls with girls and the guys with the guys, and then it’s always less girls than guys since it’s male dominant. I think for me growing up, I didn’t really think of dances for guys. I felt like it was for girls too, because I grew up in it.”
“I feel like I always had a tomboyish feel for myself,” Beasty added. “I guess I kind of just had a little bit of masculinity, but I always like that side of hip hop. I always liked that groovy side of hip hop.”
Despite her nonchalant stance toward her win, Beasty says dance did present certain challenges on the way to her latest victory. In fact, she says her biggest obstacle was finding her own style.
“It’s crazy how this is happening,” Beasty told Global Grind. “It really is because I feel like if I look back at any interview that I did when I moved back here [from Japan], I’m just like, yeah, I’m just here to try to find my style, to see where I’m going. I feel like now I know it’s all styles, it’s all styles, and that’s me. And that’s my best way to explain my style. And I feel like it fits hip hop. It’s definitely groovy. I have my pocket. I know my pocket, and I just kind of know how to maneuver with it and use other styles in it.”
That versatility proved to be critical to Beasty’s Boston win. She says her strategy was to watch her opponent and deliver on what her opponent could not.
“I was just very observant of my opponent,” Beasty told Global Grind of her winning strategy. ” I’m always very observant of my opponent. Today I got lucky on my first round, and I got to go second. So, I got to see everything that they did. But for the other rounds, I went first. All the other rounds, I went first. So, I know I had to set the tone for the battle, and then I also have to very watch them so that I know what they did, and what they didn’t do. And kind of crossing that off and it’s just, like, all right from there, what can I do? What can they not do? You just kind of calculate things.”
Looks like her calculations were on point!
When she’s not battling, Beasty also works on industry projects with upcoming artists like Meg Donnelly on Disney’s “Next Big Thing” and Jidenna in the music video “Tribe” as a featured dancer. Outside of battles & projects, Tomoe frequently teaches to adults & youth through the Village Culture Collective (Ladies of HipHop, NXGN, I Love My Hood, and Dynamic Rockers) to provide free classes for the public.
You can follow her on social media @BEASTYYY.__
Tune in to watch Beasty at the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Finals USA on Oct 23 at 7:30 PM ET on the @Caffeine app