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'Ugly dance' fanatics aim to unite world in horrible dancing

By Holly Yan, CNN
  • Ugly Dance World Cup: "It's so easy to dance nicely, but ugly dancing is an art"
  • There are no limits or rules
  • The "ugly" dance phenomenon counters typical, mainstream moves

(CNN) -- Their moves are heinous. Their clothing, laughable. But a team of four young men in Germany are now enjoying international fame as the ugliest dancers in the world.

Timo Middendorf, Levin Bosche, Victor Vu and Michael Beth -- better known as "Die Dezentiner" -- are the new champions of the Ugly Dance World Cup.

"It's just so amazing," said Vu, 19. "To be honest, we did not prepare. Our secret is to dance spontaneously."

The "ugly" dancing phenomenon is a slap in the face to the sophisticated, mainstream moves in uber-chic dance clubs.

"Hanging out in the corner, cool guys, beautiful people ... boring," said Florian Schuppel, the 32-year-old "supervising selector of epic ugliness and sweet lord of communication" for the Ugly Dance World Cup.

"It's so easy to dance nicely, but ugly dancing is an art. We like to call it 'ugly aesthetics.'"

Schuppel and three friends -- Christian Muller, Bjorn Willemsen and Falko Ohlmer -- started the Ugly Dance World Cup after years of their own abhorrent dancing.

"We didn't invent ugly dance, but we were the first who realized the importance of putting it in the center of attention," Schuppel said. "Just recently there was a massive ugly dance circle at a wedding, and guests were doing a battle with the worst moves. We realized it's the same all over the world, and people [who] understand that particular kind of humor have similar personalities."

This year's Ugly Dance World Cup finals took place in Hamburg, Germany. A jury, comprised of randomly plucked members from the 700-strong audience and a previous world champion, decided the teams' fate. The winners received a hideous "trophy of ugliness."

The championship battle between Die Dezentiner and the second-place team Inferno Ragazzi featured songs including "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory. The finalists unleashed moves that almost defied description, such as a maneuver resembling a cross-legged swan struggling to take flight.

"They were charming and exceptionally ugly," Schuppel said of the winners.

But don't be mistaken -- the World Cup, which attracted dancers from Afghanistan and Russia, isn't for the truly pathetic.

"We are not searching for bad dancers," Schuppel said. "It's not about bad taste, too. That's tragic. We don't make fun about tragic people. We search for stars ... Maybe we are even searching for the best dancers in the world. They are just supposed to do it ugly."

While Die Dezentiner improvises most of its dancing, the group is now known for its "shy dance," in which Beth "dances in an exaggerated way, like a shy guy," Vu said.

Vu, who has no formal training in dance, said he's not afraid to throw out some hideous moves in public.

"The people in clubs and discos are watching you, and that's fun because you stand out from the crowd in a way," he said.

Schuppel said he hopes to inspire a "big ugly dance family all over the world."

"Everyone should dance," he said. "Ugly dance will always be diverse. There are no limits and rules. If there are some, they must be broken."