Toronto is the centre of Canada's hip-hop universe this weekend as the Unity Festival celebrates the culture's music, art and dance.

The four day festival is the marquee event for the Unity Charity, an Ontario-based program that uses rap, dance and graffiti as a way of empowering teens.

Thursday night's breakdance battle attracted some of North America's best young talent to the dance floor.

The mostly teenaged crowd went crazy as the 19-and-under competitors twisted, contorted and spun to the beat.

Caerina Abrenica

18-year-old Caerina Abrenica started breakdancing in high school. She says dancing helped her get through some tough times. (CBC News)

For participants like 18-year-old Caerina Abrenica, dancing has become a way of life.

​"I started breakdancing in high school," she says. "It was kind of a hard time to get through, so I feel like once I started dancing it really gave me a different personality in a way, in a good way because it really helped me get through things."

Check out Caerina's moves and some of the other competitors at Thursday's battle in the video above.

The Unity Festival wraps Saturday with a free outdoor concert in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square featuring American rap star Biz Markie and Canada's Maestro Fresh Wes.