A few weeks ago Milo and I went to the San Francisco International Hip Hop Dancefest at the Palace of Fine Arts. It’s always an amazing show! It’s one of San Francisco’s great treasures, and this is year 20 of the annual festival run by Micaya. The festival itself conveys how deep the Bay Area community runs and fosters these strong ties across countries to other dancers. Really a beautiful community.
Highlights, Loyalty Dance Team from Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s performance of This Is Wakanda!!! So dynamic! So creative! The skill! They express such joy! Last year I loved their 101 Dalmations dance so much I became a staunch fan! Maybe that sounds weird, but it was a beautiful narrative transformation and celebration of pop culture. They are just superstars.
I also really loved Duwane Taylor (from London) in his piece It’s Time to Speak. It was incredibly moving. I think the first half, or certainly a long intro, of it was Duwane dancing but without speaking, enacting some of the history of black folks (I think, particularly in the United States, the Civil Rights Movement). He stood (silently) at a podium and danced out Martin Luther King’s speeches and assassination. He danced Malcolm X. He was dance-miming out a more and more impassioned protest at this podium that went faster and faster. Krump style dance with explosive, convulsive movement, he is really a genius! At some point the dance seemed to lead into present day struggles against police violence and police murder of black people. I would even say of disabled black people, which transcends the situation in the U.S. I wish for a video of this particular performance online because it was different than the earlier version I was able to find. Then, at some point Duwane did begin to speak, and rap. The civil rights movement improved things but here we still are in a world with such violent injustice. Speaking out and activism are just what we have to keep on doing.
Here is what looks like an older version of the piece:
Amenti Movement was also absolutely mindblowing. Emotional, intimate, I would even say it felt somehow they were dancing ways that men heal each other from a culture of toxic masculinity, and so many other damages, to one of tenderness and support, painful as that can be. Not sure if that was part of their intent, but it’s what I was seeing from their performance.
This would be incomplete without mentioning the cool as hell Hip Hop Nutcracker performance by The Tribe! Wow!!!! They took it to the next level. And you can still see this as it’s coming up December 16th in Redwood City at the Fox Theater!