A hip-hop contest will be organised every month for dancers throughout the country in preparation for a final round at the end of next year, according to Nguyen Viet Thanh, head of the Southeast Asia hip hop champion crew 2010, Big Toe.

Thanh said that the move was aimed at creating opportunities for hip hop lovers throughout the country to practise, compete and enhance their dancing skills and develop the Vietnamese hip hop movement.

The first monthly contest was held on Dec. 26 in Hanoi , drawing 66 dancers from across the country who competed directly in a knock-out format. The judges included members of Hanoi-based Big Toe namely Nguyen Anh Duc, Bui Manh Thang and Nguyen Manh Nam .

Thanh said he hoped to invite foreign dancers to join the judges for the final round.

"We want to develop hip hop as a healthy way for Vietnamese youths to express their characters," he said. "The final winners will compete as Vietnam 's representatives at an international competition."

Big Toe won the Battle of the Year (BOTY) Southeast Asia in Singapore in October this year to earn the 10-member dance team tickets to France to compete at the BOTY International Final 2010 in November.

Founded in 1992 when hip hop first arrived in Vietnam with just seven members, the crew has grown to 60, and won national and international acclaim.

BOTY is an international competition for break-dancers. Each region or country will have one representative at the BOTY International Final in France./.