For the sixth year in a row, Breakdancing Yukon Society (BYS) is inviting professional and aspiring dancers from across Canada for a weekend of performances, dance battles and workshops.

This year they are bringing up two renowned dance groups to the Yukon for the festival: OURO Collective and Tentacle Tribe.

OURO is a dance collective located in Vancouver consisting of six dancers with diverse dance backgrounds, ranging from hip-hop to contemporary. The members are Cristina Bucci, Dean Placzek, Maiko Miyauchi, Mark Siller, Antonio Somera Jr., and Rina Pellerin. Since forming in 2014, OURO has performed all across Canada.

Tentacle Tribe is a Quebec-based dance duo. Elon Hoglund and Emmanuelle Le Phan have experience in almost every form of dance. Both members have performed for and with prestigious companies such as Cirque De Soleil.

BYS also contracted local dance group Borealis Soul (boSo) to perform in the festival’s main show on July 17 at 6 p.m. Every dancer is from the Yukon, making for a very strong sense of Northern identity that is expressed in the performances. Behind the scenes is all-Yukon as well; all of boSo’s musical and technical production is done by local artists.

CypherFest has been inspiring youth to start dancing since its debut in 2011.

BYS’s artistic director Andrea Simpson-Fowler is thrilled about the positive growth the festival has sparked in the community.

“More and more kids — teenagers — want to start breakdancing or do hip-hop after they see or hear about CypherFest,” she explained, “this is great because it often means that they’re funneling their energies towards the creation of art and community. And that’s the point—to build community.”

Colton Blackjack is a 15-year-old self-taught b-boy from Pelly Crossing. He says his first breakdancing experience was at the 2011 CypherFest. “I’m excited for this year’s CypherFest. It’s such a great opportunity.”

The Yukon dance scene has grown over the past decade; local dance alumni have gone on to win awards at the national and international level, perform at the Much Music Video Awards and Juno Awards, and blaze a trail from the north to the south for aspiring young dancers.

Simpson-Fowler says CypherFest is a testament to how far dance in the Yukon has come.

“When I moved here, no one was dancing. The fact that we can host such a great dance festival shows the growth of the Whitehorse dance community.”

If you want to see some incredible young dancers and support the vibrant local dance community, going to this dance festival is a great way to do that.

Check out the CypherFest 2016 event page on Facebook. Tickets are available at Arts Underground, the Yukon Arts Centre and at

The CypherFest Schedule

Wednesday, July 13:

Kickoff event at The Old Firehall at 7:00 p.m. featuring local MC’s and DJ’s – $12

Friday and Saturday, July 15/16:

Freestyle urban and breaking battles at the wharf from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on both days – Free

Sunday, July 17:

CypherFest matinee show at 3 p.m. and main show at 6 p.m at the Yukon Arts Centre. Featuring boSo, Tentacle Tribe, and OURO. -Matinee: Adult $15 Youth $10 -Main: Adult $20 Youth $15

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