Ready to pop, lock and drop it? The “Breakin’ The Law: International Festival of Urban Movement,” which features international dance competitions in popping, breaking and AllStyles categories, begins Wednesday on campus.

The festival, which is the largest international break dancing event in the Midwest, is free and open to the public and will go on until May 4, according to a University of Wisconsin statement.

Event Co-director Katrina Flores said the festival aims to “display the power” that hip-hop culture has to bring people together.

“One of the main goals is to educate people about the power that hip-hop culture has to build communities on a local and global scale,” Flores said. “Hip-hop culture has also been criminalized in the many eyes, so we want to show the positive power it can have.”

The urban movement festival is organized through the local branch of Breakin’ The Law, in cooperation with King’s Eye View Productions and the Madtown Breakers.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate, the Associated Students of Madison, WUD Late-Night Grant, Red Bull, the Willy Street Co-op and a Wisconsin Experience Grant.

The festival will feature exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops and a “Physics of Breakin’ Youth Saturday Science Day,” all of which aim to create a relationship between local and international networks cultivated by hip-hop culture.

“The biggest thing I would say that pushes us to continue is the community involvement,” Flores said. “This is probably one of the largest multicultural events on campus. All ages, religions and economic statuses come together for a common focus.”

The event will start with a “Breakin’ 101″ class Wednesday, hosted by the Madtown Breakers in the Northwoods room of Union South.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will also hold an “Elite 8 Youth Battle” May 3, followed by dance workshops hosted by world-renowned dancers. The Sett at Union South will host an international dance competition, “Breakin’ The Law: 11 Year Anniversary,” on both Friday and Saturday night.

[Photo by Flickr user bobbi vie]