Ever wondered what hip hop is like on the other side of the world? U.S. audiences will get the chance to see eight hip-hop dancers from around the globe show off their moves in two free performances this month in NYC and Washington D.C.
The eight dancers, who hail from Bolivia, Burma, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Uganda and Zimbabwe, arrived in NYC on September 30 and began a two-week exploration of hip-hop dance in the U.S. Coordinated by the Bureau of Educational Affairs and the Kennedy Center’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, the tour encourages the exchange of cultural ideas between the the U.S. and other nations. The group will visit three major U.S. cities to work with some of the top names in hip hop, from noted B-boy choreographer Ken Swift to Broadway Dance Center faculty member Luam Keflezgy.
In addition to taking master classes and sight-seeing in NYC, the dancers took part in a round table discussion at NYU's Silver Center, on October 5. The conversation delved into one question: "If you stripped away everything else, what is essential for hip hop's continued existence?" Along with guests like Martha Diaz, founder of the Hip Hop Association (H2A), and B-Boy Alien Ness, the dancers discussed globalization and the true principles of hip hop: love, peace unity, and having fun!
Tonight, the dancers will show their stuff in a free performance with DJ Yako440 and the Brooklyn Ballet at The Schermerhorn in downtown Brooklyn. Later this week, participants will stop in Philadelphia for more workshops and classes before heading to the nation's capitol. In Washington, D.C., the tour will culminate in another free performance, this time at the city's famed Kennedy Center. At 6 pm on October 11, the eight dancers will take the Millennium stage for a funky evening of hip-hop dance fusion—from breakin' to popping and locking—directed by Washington D.C.-based choreographer Simone Jacobson.
Can't make it to the Kennedy Center in person? Watch a free live stream of the performance online at www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/. The recorded stream will also remain available for future viewing.
Pictured: The international hip-hop dancers with Afrikka Bambaataa at the hip-hop round table. Photo by Joe Conzo.