During the day, Ottawa City Hall is teeming with councilors, city officials and people paying parking tickets.

But at night, at least the third Friday of the month, you’ll find an energetic crowd of DJs and dancers of all ages ready to battle it out.

It was then that Th3rd Fridays, a free monthly street dance battle, seized part of the building on Laurier Avenue.

Created by Alea de Castro and Arnaldo Betancourt Silva of Moov Ottawa Dance, the battles aim to share the art, culture and history of street dance with the city.

“We bring the dancers together so they can showcase their talent and skills to the Ottawa community,” said de Castro.

Lack of local exposure

The dancers compete for the prize pool, made up of donations, while a crowd cheers them on.

A judge then selects the winners.

Dancers gather for a group photo after the 3rd Friday Dance Battle at Ottawa City Hall on February 15. (Oskar Dap)

Battles began in January 2018, but were put on hold this fall as de Castro and Betancourt Silvia searched for a new location.

The duo applied for an Awesome Ottawa grant and received $ 1,000 in January 2019 to help organize the events.

Organizers Alea de Castro, right, and Arnaldo Betancourt Silva, left, of Moov Ottawa Dance received an Awesome Ottawa grant to help organize the 3rd Friday dance battles. (Gavin Cramer)

“In Ottawa, we found that there was a lack of street dance events for us, not just Arnaldo and I, but the community at large,” said de Castro.

“We felt there was this need to have something more frequently. To make sure the dancers have something to look forward to, something to work towards. So we got this idea from other cities that are organizing monthly battles. ”

‘A beautiful, beautiful thing’

Jeans Pigott The town hall plaza hosted last month’s event and also hosts this month’s, which kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight.

Participants in the Th3rd Fridays battle say the Ottawa dance community is like family.

“The community here is amazing,” said Max Chen, a Carleton University student and local break dancer.

“Everyone is so inviting. It’s smaller than Toronto or Montreal, but that just means you know everyone.

The 3rd Friday Battle Dancers say the Ottawa dance community is like family. (Oskar Dap)

Battle judge Brad Fitchett agreed.

“A lot of these dancers, we don’t just see each other in training. We don’t just see each other in battles. We also hang out of that. It’s a very beautiful thing,” he said. .

“It really is a family and community affair, and it’s a safe place. It’s a safe place where people can really enjoy life, dance and be happy.”