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The new Ballare Carmel dance ensemble brings professional dancers from around the world to Carmel Valley. | Art, theater and culture

When Lillian Barbeito saw the Hidden Valley Institute of the Arts stage, she heard angels singing. But when the director of the institute, Peter Meckel, showed her the dormitories where the dancers could sleep, Barbeito realized that she had found the place to cultivate the art of dance practiced locally and consumed locally. .

“Never do people come together so much as through dancing,” says Barbeito, seated barefoot outside the building where rehearsals for her new dance company Ballare Carmel have already started, attracting dancers aged 17 to 37. of the whole world. Their shoes are lined up at the entrance; the whole valley listens to Pergolesi Stabat Mater chosen for practice. The dancers do not hesitate to dance with a mask and the organizers do not hesitate to clean the space three times a day. “It’s amazing that people can touch again,” says Barbeito.

Formerly the co-artistic director of Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC, Barbeito moved to Carmel in August 2021. Since then, she launched the Carmel Dance Festival – the first show was in late July – and will now present Ballare.

Ballare Carmel is a local dance company that will work with dancers from as far away as Canada and Taiwan. Its mission is to bring professional dance to the highest level in the region and present it to the local community. Barbeito wants to involve local dancers, she says, but focuses on local performance. The verb “ballare” means “to dance” in Latin.

Currently, with choreographer Ishan Rustem, born in London and based in Switzerland, the resident choreographer of the NW Dance Project in Portland who has come to train with the 20 dancers selected for this iteration (not all of them will perform), Barbeito is creating a show. for the community on Saturday September 18th.

“He’s everything I ever dreamed of,” Barbeito says of Rustem, adding that she wanted to work with him because of his kindness as an instructor and his ability to empower young dancers from diverse backgrounds. .

“To me, it’s a very simple formula,” says Rustem, giving the dancers a five-minute break (the music going from haunting James Blake to happy Erykah Badu). “Before I was a teacher I was a student and I can remember what worked for me.”

Rustem plans to teach the younger generation about their artistic responsibility. He also believes that trust, vulnerability and openness to information are important when imparting knowledge. “It’s no fun when your teacher is a diva and that’s not the way to get the best out of people,” he says.

BALLARE CARMEL LAUNCH PARTY includes a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. and a preview at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 18. Hidden Valley Theater, 104 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. $ 25. 659-3115, hiddenvalleymusic.org


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Famous Dance Team Breakdancing on Taiwan National Day | Taiwan News

Six-year-old TBC dancer doing break dancing.

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The famous breakdance troupe The Best Crew (to be confirmed) will perform on Taiwan National Day (October 10).

Founded in 1996 and originally named “Taipei Breaking Crew”, TBC is the country’s first dance group to perform and teach street dance. Comprised of members from the north, center and south of the country, TBC has grown rapidly and has won a number of competitions at home and abroad.

TBC and students from Juang Jing Vocational High School rehearsed the upcoming show on Wednesday, September 15 in the auditorium of the Taiwan Police College. Dancers between the ages of six and 60 participate and include senior coaches and professional breakdancers in their ranks.

Famous breakdancing dance team on Taiwan National Day
(CNA photo)

Street dancing is no longer just part of a subculture; It is a fashionable sport that will be showcased at the national day ceremony and internationally, according to the General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC).

Breakdancing in Taiwan is remarkable, according to TBC director Huang Po-Ching (黃柏青). The GACC filmed a documentary titled “The Soul of the Craftsman” to record the achievements of Huang and his team, according to CNA.

“The letter B in ‘B. Boy’ not only signifies breakthrough but also breakthroughs,” Huang said in the video.

In 2024, TBC will travel to the Summer Olympics in Paris, as the International Olympic Committee first granted breakdance event status.

Dance team famous for breakdancing on Taiwan National Day
(CNA photo)


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After 25 years, the Sacred Dance Ensemble of Fredericksburg takes its bow | Local News

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With those words and inspiration in mind, Wilder approached her then pastor and asked if she could dance at an upcoming service.

On Pentecost Sunday in 1996, Wilder performed a solo dance in the sanctuary using white cloth to symbolize the Holy Spirit descending to the disciples after Jesus’ ascension.

Subsequently, she invited other local dancers to a workshop, and a core of women began to come together each week as the Sacred Dance Ensemble of Fredericksburg.

“I told them I heard the call, but I didn’t get a roadmap,” Wilder said. “I had no idea where it was going, but I asked them to trust the process and come with me, and we did.”

For longtime members, the group has been a way both to keep dancing a part of their lives and to use their love of dancing to express their faith.

“I’m never whole unless I do something with dance,” Greenlaw said. “We feel called to do it and I think it is a ministry.”

In addition to those with extensive dance training, the group has members who “haven’t taken dance lessons in their lives,” Wilder said.

“It has always been interfaith,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what church you go to or what faith you are. We’ve had people come forward and say, “I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t dance, but I feel called to explore this. And we just invite them to explore. There’s never been the wait for you to dance in worship, you can just come dance with us.


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WANT Dance Crew special guests flex idols’ dancing prowess on ‘Street Woman Fighter’: K-WAVE: koreaportal

WANT Dance Crew

Other WANT members supported Lee Chaeyeon, regardless of comments from other program participants. To further support this, WANT’s next dance performance could be their own way to strike back against enemies!

Recently, a new clip from next week’s episode of “Street Woman Fighter” reveals that the dance team WANT will be performing on the song “Turn Up The Music” and they are joined by three special guests, namely Yoojung of Weki Meki, Yves of LOONA and Lee Young Ji!



Yoojung, Yves and Lee Young Ji, as “female” artists themselves, are the perfect special guests to show their support for Lee Chaeyeon and the WANT dance team. After seeing this, netizens and viewers are absolutely delighted to see the trio perform alongside WANT!

Netizens are even more excited because Weki Meki’s Yoojung, LOONA’s Yves and Lee Young Ji are known dancers in the K-pop industry, which shows just how much the industry wants to support Chaeyeon!

It’s time for the idols to shine amid the scathing comments of fellow program participants!

In particular, the next episode of “Street Woman Fighter” will be broadcast on September 21!

Stay tuned for more updates and news on “Street Woman Fighter”!

© 2021 Korea Portal, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Key words: kwave, kwave news, kwave updates, Kpop, kpop news, Kpop updates, Mnet, mnet news, mnet updates, mnet shows, Mnet programs, mnet Street Woman Fighter, Street Woman Fighter, Street Woman Fighter news, Street Woman Fighter Updates, Street Woman Fighter WANT, WANT Street Woman Fighter, WANT, WANT Dance Crew, Lee Chaeyeon, Chaeyeon, Weki Meki Yoojung, Weki Meki, Yoojoung, Loona, LOONA Yves, Yves, Lee Young Ji



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An internationally renowned dance troupe will take the stage at the Holmes Theater on Thursday evening

“There are several different pieces on the show, but the most important work is titled ‘Burning Air’,” Shapiro & Smith artistic director Joanie Smith said in a recent phone interview.

Smith explained that the play is “loosely based” on the Great Hinckley (Minn.) Fire of 1894. In one particularly evocative scene, the dance is intended to portray people standing in about 18 inches of water, alongside of local cattle and wild animals all seeking refuge from the surrounding flames.

“These images are very powerful for us,” Smith said.

“It was literally a firestorm,” Smith said of that 1894 fire, which burned 350,000 acres – over 400 square miles – of forest land and claimed the lives of more than 415 men, women. and children as well as countless pets, livestock and wildlife.

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Smith also noted that the exact number of people who died in that fire was still unknown, as during this time period, Native American lives lost were not counted in the official tally.

Smith said she and some of her fellow dancers thought the timing of this piece was particularly appropriate, with the recent wildfires in Canada sending unpleasantly smoky air through Minnesota at various times this summer, as well as the more recent fire that sent clouds of black smoke across downtown Detroit Lakes last Friday.

While undoubtedly tragic, said Smith, the play “Burning Air” is also meant to evoke emotions of hope and faith. Other pieces performed during the two-hour show will evoke romance, inspiration and even comedy.

“There’s this unique piece, called ‘Shirt’ … it’s about a bunch of men negotiating and busting about for a bunch of shirts,” Smith said, adding that the performance was intentionally humorous. . “It was totally inspired by my dogs.”

Smith explained that her three dogs were known to fight and argue over a toy they didn’t even notice until she picked it up and called attention to it. “It’s really, really funny.”

In another more poignant piece, titled “To Have and To Hold,” the dancers evoke a sense of romance and what it really means to lose a loved one. Although it was choreographed by Smith and her husband, Danial Shapiro, several years earlier, the play took on special significance after her death from cancer in 2006 at the age of 48.

“It’s about trying to grab hold of the important people in your life and hold on to them,” she said, adding, “We miss him so much.”

Although they will only do one show at the theater during the trip, the dancers of Smith’s troupe will actually be in Detroit Lakes for several days this week, working with dancers from Northern Lights Dance of Frazee and Summit Dance of Detroit Lakes as well as seniors from the Silver Sneakers program at Ecumen Detroit Lakes and the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, as well as the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center.

“It’s the kind of thing we really love to do,” Smith said of their outreach work; their appearance at the Holmes Theater, as well as outreach programs, are funded by a touring grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, she added.

If you are going to

What: Shapiro & Smith dance

When: Thursday September 16, 7:30 p.m.

Or: Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes

How? ‘Or’ What: Tickets cost $ 15 for adults, $ 7.50 for students and can be purchased by calling the Holmes Box Office at 218-844-7469 or by reserving your seats online at dlccc.org/holmes-theatre.html.


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Dance team reconsiders decision to change culturally meaningful name | New

On July 9, the former presidents of Kuumba Beatz, a hip-hop dance team at LMU, announced in a Instagram post that the crew name would be changed to “The Kollective” indicating that this decision came after “reflecting as a crew and having conversations with members of our LMU community”.

The current presidents, double major in junior dance and psychology Shelby Lawrence and major in junior dance Tatum Fouts, have now reversed the name change.

The word “kuumba” comes from the Swahili language, a indigenous language of Africa spoken in particular in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Eastern Zaire. As mentioned in the post, the term translates to “creativity»And also represents the sixth day of Kwanzaa.

“When our crew was founded, it was representative of [African] Cultural significance. Over time the demographics of the crew have changed, ”they said. As a result of this change, “the personal identities of the crew no longer corresponded to African traditions or practices”.

The post concluded by saying that the “K” in “Kolective” would honor the story of the crew. “We look forward to discovering this new chapter and hosting fall auditions in person and continuing the legacy of the team. [this year],” they said.






As of September 14, the message announcing the crew’s name change had received 24 comments expressing confusion and opposition to the decision because of its cultural and historical implications.

Instagram user rviblu’s most liked comment said, “Instead of erasing the cultural significance of the dances that your members (who [I] I guess they don’t line up with the cultures they mimic) don’t line up with, how about using the name Kuumba to learn about the moves you mimic with your dancing.

Pointing to the African roots of the dance style that flourished in the United States and around the world, the user said, “Don’t dance in styles that don’t resonate with all of you, especially if you can’t even keep the name to honor those cultures. Make a different band.

Amber Lapree Waterford, a 2010 alumnus and 2009-2010 former president of Kuumba Beatz, spoke to Loyolan about her reaction to the announcement.

“I was disappointed,” said Waterford. “[Kuumba Beatz] was created by individuals who wanted to see a dance group more oriented towards the African side of dance… When it comes to the fundamentals of dance, everyone generally has a very Eurocentric vision… [so] making sure there was an accurate representation within the dance community to represent, you know, people of color, but, more specifically, African Americans or blacks… that’s a big part of why [Kuumba] was created, ”she said.

Agreeing with many comments on the post, Waterford felt that creating another dance team was a better alternative than changing the name of an existing dance team. She encourages students to think about what it means to identify with an organization. “And if you still don’t identify with the organization you belong to, that’s okay… there is another one to be a part of,” she said.

However, Waterford was confused by the premise of the name change altogether. “To be quite frank, Kuumba has always been inclusive in the sense that you don’t have to identify yourself as Black or African American. It’s for everyone, ”she said.

The crew co-chairs canceled the name change to another Instagram post August 16. Thanking the community for the comments received on their previous post, they said: “We did not knowingly intend any form of cultural erasure and we sincerely apologize to those we have offended.”






kuumba 2

The post also said they were hosting a town hall “to advance conversations about naming, implicit biases, cultural appropriation and erasure as it relates to LMU’s Hip Hop teams.” The Director of the Office of Black Student Services Jeffrey Dolliole and associate professor and president of the dance department Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo will help organize the discussion.

Contacted by the Loyolans, the current presidents of Kuumba Beatz initially agreed to speak to the Loyolans, but then declined to comment publicly until town hall at an unannounced later date.

While Waterford was relieved to see the name Kuumba Beatz restored, “there is still a lot of work to be done,” she said. “Keep the name? Great. Keep our history? Great. But that’s not enough because, as many comments have said… the announcement of the name change showed this right and privilege.

Waterford is optimistic that the team is working with Dolliole. “[He] was at LMU when I was at LMU and he’s a wonderful human being… I know the job he does is great, ”she said.

Coming out of the summer’s events, Waterford hopes that conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure continue, not only within the dance community, but for all members of the LMU community. “Learning from it now, having conversations now, making the adjustments now and getting back to the roots of Kuumba Beatz is very important,” she said.

“Make your, I would say, student responsibility, especially at [the] University [where] one of their mission statements is the education of the whole person. This is the perfect opportunity to dive into it … So if it just doesn’t fit, that’s okay. It’s good. There is no bad blood. Just create something of your own and keep that in mind for the future, so that you don’t encounter that… even after college life, because it’s the real world. This is all just a taste, ”said Waterford.



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How this NJ dance troupe turned pandemic fears into a joyful performance

With the New York skyline as a backdrop, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Closes Weehawken’s summer concerts on the Hudson series this Friday.

The free event at Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center tackles a heavy subject: the pandemic. Don’t worry, however, it won’t be a depressing evening.

“Shadow Force” is a 25-minute dance featuring six dancers reacting “differently to the isolation situation and those feelings translated into movement,” Chen told NJ Advance Media. “I think there are unknown forces we are facing right now – the isolation of the division and the insecurity.”

The dancers working together “imagine that love and connection will help us and come out of the shadows with struggles,” she adds.

Performing during sunset should add a special touch to the show which, weather permitting, starts at 7pm.

“You will see the light change with the sunset as the background continually shifts completely in the dark and only sees the light on the dancers on stage,” Chen explains. “Visually, it will be beautiful and dramatic. “

The 90-minute performance, which features Chen’s signature steps of traditional Chinese dance mixed with modern dance, includes other numbers evoking different moods, including joy.

“I’m going to open with a dance called ‘Raindrops’, a really beautiful female quartet,” Chen says. “I like the evening to have something pleasant and sweet. I don’t want that pain. I want to show light and hope.

A dancer performs ‘Raindrops.’

“Raindrops” was triggered by memories of Chen’s childhood in northern Taiwan, where it rains frequently. She describes this dance as soft and playful and leads to “Shadow Force”. The evening ends with “Emissary of Light”, a solo.

Chen won’t play. At 61, she describes herself as semi-retired but continues to teach and choreograph. Like so many dancers, Chen first entered a dance class at the age of 4.

She studied traditional Chinese dance and later Western forms, including modern dance. At 18, Chen was on tour, and at 22, he emigrated from Taiwan after earning a BFA in dance at Taiwan University of Chinese Culture.

At NYU, she earned a master’s degree in dance education. Decades ago, she and her husband decided to make New Jersey their home.

“I need personal space,” Chen explains. “Across the river, I heard sirens all the time. As an artist, I need space. I need to hear the birds. I went through New Jersey, and I can see birds, trees. We have deer in the yard. And as an artist, I could think, I could create.

New Jersey's Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Gives Free Concerts This Weekend

Nai-Ni Chen, dancer, choreographer and teacher, has long made her home in New Jersey.

The company is in residence at University of the City of New Jersey in Jersey City. During the pandemic, Chen worked with dancers on Zoom.

As the performance at Weehawken marks the end of the summer concert season on the Hudson, Nai-Ni Dance Chen Dance Company is also performing at Montclair on Saturday at Dance party on the lawn.

She is delighted to give the free concerts.

“Dancing is still not as popular as music, movies, and sports,” Chen acknowledges. “Sport is number one in this country. For me, as a dancing person, I would like to have the whole world to enjoy dancing. I am a messenger. I want to keep playing and representing my work around the world. While it is free, it is accessible to everyone. It is no longer the elite.

When she visited the Hudson River Performing Arts Center, Chen liked to see families “watch the shows and get together as a family.” This neighborhood is very diverse, and you see all kinds of people, and they all come together for that. And what can be more powerful to bring family and all the arts together? “

After a year and a half, which has seen the horrific increase in hate crimes against Asians, Chen notes that she came to America because she historically embraced immigrants. In 40 years in the United States, she had never witnessed such a division. By presenting the dance, she hopes to foster cultural understanding.

“In a performance, you see how different countries come together, and it can cross cultural boundaries, and when it’s beautiful, people forget the difference,” Chen says. “They don’t look at me, ‘Oh, you’re Asian.’ Dancing is universal, and when you express it as a human, it doesn’t matter where you come from.

“Shadow Force”, performed by the Nai-Ni Chen dance company

Friday at 7 p.m.

Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center, 1200 Harbor Blvd, Weehawken

Free entry, bring a chair or blanket

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Jacqueline Cutler can be contacted at [email protected]. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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E4 to Follow Bristol’s Dark Angels Dance Team for New Reality Series | TV

E4 will follow a top dance team for a brand new reality show.

Provisionally titled Breaking Bristol, E4 will enter the world of Bristol-based dance troupe and reigning hip-hop world champions the Dark Angels.

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Cameras will follow the group as they fight to achieve what no other has ever done – defend their British title and win back-to-back gold at the National Dance Championships.

Share E4: “We dive head first into the intimate personal stories of the strong 30-dance troupe, juggling full-time jobs or education with their passion for dance.

“Bound by strong friendships and the familiarity of growing up in the tight-knit community of Knowle West, we will follow their ambitious journey throughout the season and beyond to Bournemouth and the UK Championships, as they dance for a lifetime to defend their title and solidify their impact in their small town south of Bristol, where everyone knows each other.

“In a competitive and hard-working world, camaraderie and friendship are essential and this ambitious team is as close as it gets. There is hard work and there is also laughter, and the close bond with their head coach and mentor Charlie and his equally committed wife Steph help these dancers come to life by performing mind-blowing routines amid tough workout routines designed to keep them on top.

“Together, the Angels are able to balance relationships, family, school and work, with their dreams of world domination in dance and of becoming professional one day.”

Harjeet Chhokar, Channel 4 The Factual Editor-in-Chief said: “We join the Dark Angels as they live a year like no other, struggling to retain their title and win back-to-back gold medals, a feat that no other team do. achieved, while managing the day-to-day. challenges of sometimes hectic lives.

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“This series is real and relatable, it has light, brilliance and flair and an irresistible dance flair. We are truly delighted that E4 viewers are hanging on to this brand new factual offering – Breaking Bristol (w / t). “

The six-part series is produced by Proper Content and will air on E4 in 2022.


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Afrika stage! dance troupe to perform at Hancher

Afrika stage! will play ‘Drumfolk’ in Hancher after a week of community engagement with UI students and other groups.

In 1739, 20 enslaved Africans in the American colony of South Carolina used their drums to start a revolt against their slave owners. This campaign for freedom, known as the Stono Rebellion, caused widespread apprehension within the British American colonies and met with the Negro Act of 1740. This act severely restricted the expression of African slaves and prohibited their use. of the drum.

This Saturday at Hancher, Step Afrika! will tell the story of the Stono Rebellion and the Negro Act of 1740 through a theatrical experience called Drum. For Jakari Sherman, director of Drum and percussionist for Step Afrika!, the show is a story of recovery.

The dance troupe performs steps, a form of percussive dance that began to develop after enslaved Africans could no longer use the drums to communicate. The dance style is practiced by historically black fraternities and sororities.

“We have the opportunity to present the history of stepping – which is our favorite tradition to play – but through this history we are able to see a lot of the use of drums in the show and the introduction of a lot of early African American percussion traditions, ”Sherman said.

Some of those traditions include the hambone, the ring cry, and more recent contemporary footsteps, Sherman said.

“I really love the journey we are taking through this story and all the different shapes you see along this path,” he said.

Because Drum explores a very specific facet of American history, Step Afrika! Founder and Executive Director C. Brian Williams recommended viewers read both the Stono Rebellion of 1739 and the Negro Act of 1740 before the show.

“This truly fascinating piece of legislation, drafted by American settlers – of what was then the colony of South Carolina before the actual formation of the country – raises questions about the manifestations and history of social injustice in the country.” Williams said. “It also raises questions about how we respond to social injustice.”

In the case of the Negro Act of 1740, instead of creating more freedoms for African slaves, the settlers tried to suppress their freedom even more. Freedom is what enslaved Africans fought against in the Stono Rebellion of 1739, and it is an ongoing struggle today, Williams said.

“Even to this day, you see people fighting against systemic injustice and inequality in the country. But we always see people moving to improve it, ”said Williams. “Drum is our effort to tell the story of the beginning of American history that precedes the existence of the country. It’s a great moment in history that more Americans should know more about.

Afrika step! has been in Iowa since Monday and the company has been busy training, performing and educating all week. Last night, the company helped dedicate a sculpture at the Muscatine Art Center to Mary Jo Stanley, who was a great friend of the arts, Hancher executive director Chuck Swanson said.

RELATED: A brilliant new semester: Hancher kicks off the UI school year with an outdoor light show

Wednesday, Step Afrika! performers spent most of their day with UI dance students, teaching step master classes.

Afrika step! will perform Drum live in Hancher on Saturday evening. According to Swanson, the performance is a historic moment that touches on the past and raises social issues of today.

After the show there will be a ‘talk back’ for people to discuss what they saw on stage with Williams and some of the Step Afrika.! dancers. In Swanson’s eyes, there is no better way to start the fall season in Hancher.

“It’s a pretty amazing way to kick off our season,” Swanson said. “This is exactly one week’s work that Hancher strives to do.”

Tickets for Drum can be purchased through the Hancher ticket office, and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday September 11.


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Filmmaker Addison Wright turns his lens on an inspiring Chicago dance troupe in Hiplet, and hopes his films will open hearts and eyes

Addison wright Hiplet: Because we can is part of the Scene In Color film series, presented by Target, which showcases incredible filmmaking skills. As part of the series, three emerging filmmakers will receive mentorship from producer Will Packer, and their films can be viewed on Rotten Tomatoes, MovieClips Indie Channel, Peacock and the NBC app.

They have the “sexy walk”; “The pretzel; »« The dougie; “” La Viviane. ” These are not 1950s overtones. These are the dance moves performed by a special Chicago-based ballet company. Founded by Homer Hans Bryant, hiplet is a combination of hip-hop and traditional ballet performed with a dizzying and intoxicating effect by a collection of incredible local dancers. Director Addison Wright, another Chicago native, decided to make a film about these viral sensations after discovering the cast on Instagram. His eight-minute documentary short, Hiplet: Because we can, was an official selection at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival, later became a Vimeo staff choice, and is now part of the Scene in color film series.

Wright’s film, titled after the dance, fuses a choreographed music video feel with precise documentary style for a vivid exploration of this invigorating new style of movement. While the performers’ movements speak for themselves – their swaggering strides texturize their powerful and beautiful black forms, mesmerizing the setting with a fearless spirit – Wright interviews them as well. The exuberant ballerinas explain the retreat they experienced in a world classically defined by whites for their unique artistic identity, varied body types and blackness.

In Hiplet, Wright takes an immersive and empathetic look at these talented women. He shows great agility in the making of his films, capturing the ballet motifs of the dancers while oscillating between striking colorful compositions and equally magnetic black and white filmed interviews. Hiplet is not only an exhilarating introduction to an evolving new style of ballet, but the perfect launching pad displaying Wright’s fresh and confident voice.

Here, Wright chats with Robert Daniels, a Chicago-based Tomatometer-approved Top Critic.


Robert Daniels for Rotten Tomatoes: How did you first get to the movies?

Addison Wright: I grew up in the 90s, so I was glued to the TV watching MTV and BET. I’ve always been fascinated by music videos and by directors like Hype Williams and Spike Jonze, and Little X. So I knew early on that I had a passion for it. I went to Simeon High School in Chicago, where I played football for four years. I ended up getting a scholarship to Delaware State University. I played football there and my specialty was TV production. I didn’t have a camera in high school or anything like that, but once I got to college I realized this was something I wanted to pursue.

I ended up injuring myself during my first year in college. So I didn’t play football, but the team wanted me to be around so I traveled and filmed practices and games. When there was no practice or game, I would borrow the camera and shoot clips on campus. That’s when I started learning how to build stories in music videos. So I would take some of the things I had learned in some of my classes and apply them to my videos. This is where my passion started.

(Photo by Addison Wright)

Daniels: Where and when the idea of Hiplet first form?

Wright: I was on Instagram and on my Explore page I saw these black ballerinas doing ballet a little differently. So I clicked on it and heard the music and saw them in the dance studio and thought these girls were nuts. I was scrolling up and started seeing them over and over again. So I researched Hiplet ballet flats online and saw some of the ads they were in like the Old Navy and Mercedes-Benz ads and featured in Japan and other places. Then I saw that they were based here in Chicago and I was like, whoa that’s a story to be told.

At the beginning, the concept was that I would make a full clip of them. I wanted to shoot it at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago because it was a white establishment a hundred years ago. And I want to put black girls in this beautiful cultural center, and let them do their thing in a place they couldn’t have been a hundred years ago. But once we got the cost of renting that space back, I knew we couldn’t do it.

So we ended up finding a gym on the south side, the Grand Ballroom, which is at 64th and Cottage Grove. You won’t even notice it if you drive or walk past, but if you look up you can see the beautiful terracotta. The story grew when I went, at least once a week, to the studio to film the girls and watch them rehearse and practice just to see how they move and see their personalities so that I get to know different angles and areas. to watch out for. . Homer, he’s the founder of Hiplet, and I was having a casual conversation and he told me how these girls were going through. Every time they post something online, people laugh at them, but these same people are imitating what they are doing. He comes from the dance community. People of different races look at them and see that they don’t do traditional ballet, so they talk about it. So I decided to give the girls the floor: we are going to film them, but we are also going to let them talk about the adversity they often encounter. This is what changed the film’s path a bit being a music video. That’s what made me realize how much I wanted it to be a short film and a documentary, but with the feel of a music video.

Daniels: How long did the shoot take?

Wright: Filming took about 12 hours a day. We started charging around eight in the morning and wrapped up with the girls around eight in the evening. It was a bit longer for us, but the girls were there all day. It was a lot of rehearsals. When the girls arrived they knew what they needed and we knew what we needed to do regarding the installation of the lights and the blocking.

Daniels: I want to go back to blocking. I think what’s great about your movie is that you can feel the energy of the dance. How did you get to this point where you got the right angles to bring the live energy to the camera?

Wright: My DP, Dan Frantz, and I would go to the studio where the girls were rehearsing and we would film some parts of the performance. It was a month before the shoot. We would sit down and determine the best angle for the camera location and lighting patterns. We also went to the ballroom and took some photos. I knew where I wanted to place the girls. I knew some of the angles I wanted to achieve based on their choreography. But it was a collaboration between him and me.

We were rushing against the clock to get some things as we only had the location for one day. But my goal was to really capture the energy of ballerinas. Make sure they make eye contact. Whenever the camera came in I made sure to tell them to interact with the camera. If he is near you, look at the lens, look through as if you are on stage and someone is looking you in the eye in a crowd. The camera is the crowd.

Daniels: And now your film is part of the Scene in color film series. How did you hear about this opportunity and what attracted you?

Wright: Funny, I didn’t know until they contacted me. And I was completely blown away. Even when talking about it right now, I’m still in shock because it’s all surreal. They said they saw the movie and really loved it. And I was like: me, really? It’s great that they like the movie. About three weeks later they gave me the details and I thought it was amazing. I remember making the movie public in February on Vimeo and it ended up becoming a Vimeo staff choice and then went viral. A month later, NBC contacted me.

Daniels: How do you feel about having a producer like Will Packer as a mentor?

Wright: It’s an amazing feeling to have someone who is a powerhouse within the industry and within the black community as a mentor. Even hearing me say that, it seems unreal. Just being able to choose your brain and having the ability to ask what to do in this situation, in certain situations, or do you think it’s a good idea, can only help my career in an extremely positive way. Maybe he can give some insight into his experience. He may be able to point me in a direction that could give me more visibility. I’m extremely excited to just be able to chat with him.

Daniels: What advice or advice has Will given you so far?

Wright: I asked him what is his favorite movie that he has ever made, the one that left him the most memories. He said Crush the yard. In short, he wanted to make this film to inspire people. Being able to hear that from him lets me know I’m doing the right thing. My goal as a filmmaker is to inspire people through the lens. And if that can’t change the world, at least I’ll open a person’s eyes. Will also said that he enjoyed the movie and that I was where I was supposed to be. To hear that as a promising filmmaker, as a black filmmaker, you know, hearing Will Packer say I’m where I’m supposed to be, it’s extremely crazy, man. It overwhelmed me. It solidified me as a filmmaker in my eyes and in my heart.

Daniels: What do you hope people take away from Hiplet?

Wright: I was born and raised in Chicago, and Chicago always has a negative light on us. I want people to be able to see these black girls on TV, on their phones and on their computers to see how, number one, beautiful they are; number two, how they take the ballet in a totally different direction by not changing the ballet but adding a touch to it. I want it to be motivating for black boys and girls to see someone who looks like you, who does something that changes the world of ballet by making a difference.

See more short films and meet more filmmakers from Scene in the color film series.


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