Two-time Red Bull BC One World Champion Lilou has built a formidable reputation as one of the sport's most uncompromising and popular characters. With a unique dance style and an engaging stage presence, he perfectly combines the new style of flexible moves with classic footwork and power moves. His B-Boy name comes from his family nickname, Alilou.
Born in France, but of Algerian descent, a six-year-old Ali Ramdani first discovered B-Boying on TV, where he was fascinated by breakers doing power moves and headspins. His brother taught how him to moonwalk, and from there the rest is history. Lilou helped found the legendary Pockémon Crew just a few years later in 1999.
Lilou has a storied past competing with Red Bull BC One. In his first year, in 2005, in Berlin, the then underdog surprised everybody by taking the World Champion title. He received a huge winner's belt, which was supposed to be a challenge trophy to be handed over to the next winner the following year, but he actually refused to give it back, unfazed by the threat of never being invited to the championship again. In 2006, he returned but was eliminated early on in the battle. In 2007, he was selected as one of four Wild Card entries to compete in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he lost to RoxRite (USA) in the semifinals.
The World Final was held in New York City in 2009, and it became the first time that anyone in the event's history twice became World Champion. "Winning Red Bull BC One twice means I'm part of B-Boy history and I am very happy about that," Lilou then said of his victory. "Maybe someone else will also win a second time, but being the first one to do so feels really nice."
Lilou has a unique dance style and an engaging stage presence, as he is at once vicious and humorous. The audience loves his style, and he perfectly combines the newer style of flexible moves with classic footwork and power moves. His signature move is a variation of the air-chair.
For Lilou, the most important asset of a B-Boy is determination—not only in battles, but in everyday practice and lifestyle. "Find out what you want and then go and get it, no matter what!" he says. "When you're in a battle, you're there to win, not to play, so what you have to do is kill the enemy!"
Lilou has had a black belt in kung fu since he was 16 years old. The Kung Fu mentality has helped with his breaking. "Just like in kung fu, you have to anticipate the move your opponent is going to come out with and you'd better have an answer to that," he says. "You need to learn new moves and combinations and develop your style all the time if you want to be a winner."
Lilou lists his greatest influences as Michael Jackson, Zinédine Zidane, Mohammed Ali and Jamiroquai. He admires their careers, their charisma and recognizes them for being legends in their respective area of expertise. In addition to his success on the international battle circuit, he also joined Madonna as a dancer on her MDNA tour.
Lilou is passionate about videography and runs a popular YouTube channel, TVLilou, where he reveals stories of his global dance travels. He recently launched a web series, "Street Off."
When it comes to battle strategies he explains, "Just like in kung fu, you have to anticipate the move your opponent is going to come out with and you'd better have an answer to that. You need to learn new moves and combinations and develop your style all the time if you want to be a winner."
"I have participated in many competitions all over the world, but Red Bull BC One is definitely the most important solo competition," he adds. "The atmosphere is indescribable. When you are backstage just before the competition you can feel your heart beat really hard and fast."
Among the many items that Lilou wears when battling to express his individuality, he sometimes puts on a "I'm Muslim Don't Panic" t-shirt, or keffiyeh, to express solidarity with his brothers and sisters who face adversity worldwide. He recognizes that there are many wars around the world for territory, money and more, but his battles are on the dance floor!