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Jit & Japan: Meet Red Bull ‘Dance Your Style’ Veterans Beasty and Queen Gabby

Jit & Japan: Meet Red Bull ‘Dance Your Style’ Veterans Beasty and Queen Gabby

The Red Bull Dance Your Style Competition makes its return this year, amplifying hundreds of young dancers who make the culture of movement the force it is today. I caught up with last year’s Chicago qualifier contestant Queen Gabby and Boston’s qualifier winner, and USA finalist Beasty, to discuss how self-preservation helps us pour back into the community and pave the way for our youth.  From ‘Jit’ in Chicago and the hip hop dance culture in Japan, both women have navigated the dance industry while keeping their own identities in tact.

Queen Gabby, Queen of Detroit Jit

Queen Gabby photographed by Jimmy Love

How would you describe ‘jit’ to someone who has never heard of it, or doesn’t have much knowledge of dance in general? 

“Simply put, it’s like urban tap dancing.” 

Queen Gabby is a professional dancer and a true trailblazer who specializes in ‘Jit’ – “a native Detroit dance style known for its footwork, armwork, and grooves.” She describes it as “flashy and having flare, and really just representative of Detroit.” Having been practicing the dance for over a decade, she talks about how jit culture was dying in 2008-2009 and didn’t resurge until about 2014. Throughout the years, she’s continued to be active jiting by teaching lessons and partaking in events with her crew who also sometimes performs under the name ‘Jithappens’.

How are you using dance and national platforms such as Red Bull Dance Your Style to promote the social movement supporting justice and equality in the U.S? How would you say that your dance style or mission is representative of that?

“I think the history of jit itself. Just like being black in America, we have had to fight so hard for jit to even have a platform. And jit is connected to techno music, which a lot of people don’t know was created by black people. In the past, we have been in spaces where they wouldn’t let us perform because the dancing was ‘too black’. We entered spaces where we had to ‘play it safe’ and ask ourselves if our dancing was too raw when going into different rooms. 

We also use jit when there’s conflict. When the George Floyd murder happened, we used it to express ourselves in a healthy manner during an unhealthy time.” 

Although she now lives bi-coastally, Detroit will always be home and it is important for her to maintain it’s culture, including jit, but also to help build the community and future generations. 

I think our passions tend to mean different things to us at different phases of our lives. How does ‘jit’ or dance in general feel different at your current phase in life versus when you were younger?

“When I originally started dancing, it was an outlet for me and it was fun. Now it’s still those things, but I’m moreso focused on showing kids that they can make a living dancing. In Detroit, people were jiting, but had no examples of what you can do with it. So many talented people just lacked resources. More recently, I have been learning about artist grants, etc. that would’ve helped a lot had I known sooner. But it’s better late than never.” 

I think as black people, we can all relate to the fact that our communities don’t always give us the resources to accomplish non-traditional careers. Queen Gabby’s work in the community helps show children that they can make a living off of maintaining their roots and Red Bull Dance Your Style’s competition is one of the resources that makes this possible through their platform and prize offerings for competition winners.  

Queen Gabby’s hope is to keep jit “deeply rooted in its roots and not change it, while also giving it to the next generation of dancers” to uphold.


Hip Hop from Japan to New York – Meet Beasty

Beasty photographed by Ashton Benjamin

Beasty is an active dancer of many forms, her favorite styles include light feet and locking, but hip hop being the most prevalent in her life. She began dancing at the age of 4, having parents who owned a dance studio in Japan. Like Queen Gabby, she talks about maintaining the culture of hip hop and also paving the way for future generations. And as she’s growing and attaining more self-awareness, she understands the importance of tending to self in order to help others. 

What keeps you motivated to keep going when you’re feeling like you’re in a funk or just unmotivated to keep going with dance?

“I’m 20, so it’s not always easy to balance dance with everything else in life. I love teaching dance, and meeting so many new people. I love the kids of course, but also being able to meet people of all different walks of life – lawyers, nurses, teachers, anyone really. Dancing also takes me out of a negative mindset, and just makes me healthier.”

She acknowledges her increased self-awareness by explaining, “sometimes like writer’s get writer’s block, I get dancer’s block and usually it’s a sign that I need to pour into and take care of myself.”


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What is the biggest difference in hip hop in Japan versus hip hop in the U.S.?

“Hip hop is Japan is huge. And in Asian culture, people are very serious about anything they decide to do. So people were very eager to learn about it, and it was pretty prominent. Getting to New York was almost disappointing in comparison because it’s the home of the art but not as visible. For example, I didn’t see too much batte dancing. My dad was a battle dancer, so I grew up around it. I also think the pandemic contributed to some of it.” 

How does your mission and your dance style align with Red Bull Dance Your Style?  

“I think bringing more awareness to hip hop, and even battling. Hip hop is not even mandatory in schools, but it’s a big part of our culture. Showing kids that you can make a living from dance, and hip hop more specifically. Red Bull is bringing awareness to this.”  

What are some of your goals for the near future? 

“I hope to one day open my own dance studio. At the moment, I’m supporting my parent’s new studio in New Jersey and learning from the residences I have. I really want to be a help center for dancers, and maybe even have my own agency to scout. When I was younger, I wished I could get scouted for opportunities. Helping the youth and spreading the right messages are the biggest things to me.” 

Be sure to tune in to Red Bull Dance Your Style’s upcoming competition taking place now until May 31, 2022  to see more of these groundbreaking dancers. 



*Find out more information for each event on   

  • April 7 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Boston @ House of Blues Boston
  • April 16 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Tampa @ The Cuban Club
  • April 24 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago @ Morgan MFG
  • April 30 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Washington, D.C. @ Union Market
  • May 6 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Oakland @ Frank Ogawa Plaza, Downtown Oakland
  • May 13 – Red Bull Dance Your Style Atlanta @ Heaven at The Masquerade 
  • May 21-22  – Red Bull Dance Your Style USA Weekender 


Following 130 events in over 30 countries all around the globe, dance’s heavy-hitters will come together to battle for the third-ever Red Bull Dance Your Style World Championship title. For more information about where to buy tickets and event details follow the Red Bull Dance Your Style website and be sure to follow @RedBullDance on Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube.

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