On Saturday, French artist and hip hop dancer Zyko became the first foreign national to win the hit dance competition show Street Dance of China with his elaborate Chinese mythology-inspired performance in the season five finale.
Zyko, whose full name is Nicolas Monlouis Zyko, is the choreographer for the Paris-based hip hop group Brainstorm Dance Company. He also competed in season four of Street Dance of China but withdrew early for personal reasons.
In the fifth season, Zyko became known as a “master of geometry and space” for his elegant, form-focused style. He is especially good at isolations, which are movements that involve only certain body parts while the others remain still.
Street Dance of China is known for its efforts to facilitate cross-cultural communication through dance. Zyko’s final performance highlighted the show’s fusion of cultures: Titled ‘Shan Hai Jing: Hundred Beasts,’ the dance was based on stories from Shan Hai Jing, an ancient text covering Chinese mythology.
During the eight-hour finale, 13 finalists were whittled down until only Zyko and Japanese dancer Kyoka were left. The dance battles were interspersed with performances by the four team captains — Wang Yibo, Han Geng, Lee Seung Hyun, and Liu Yuxin — as well as guest appearances by previous Street Dance champions.
Notably, Kyoka is the first woman to make it to the final battle in the show’s nearly five-year history. This season, the program also welcomed Liu as its first female captain.
Season five began on August 13 with more than 100 competitors. Performances were organized in various styles — not just hip hop — and contestants performed individually, in pairs, and in group dance battles over two-and-a-half months.
This season was the first where dancers were not assigned to specific captains, though Zyko was part of Han’s team last season.
Cover image via @zyko_brainstorm/Instagram
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