Last night, August 6th, I attended "Hip Hop Generation Next" - performed at 7:30pm outside at Damrosch Park Bandshell as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The show was presented in collaboration with Dancing in the Streets and sponsored by Bloomberg. It included performances by Full Circle, FootworkKINGz, Chinese American Arts Council Martial Arts Society, Last For One, Lee In Soo Dance Project, and Baja + the Dry Eye Crew.
There were five companies from three continents - from New York City to Chicago, from South Korea to Sierra Leone.
The Martial Arts Society wowed the spectacularly large audience with its amazing stunts - flips, fighting sequences a la Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, breaking thick sticks against stomachs...
The FootworkKINGz showed us just how fast feet can move in the style born out of Chicago, while ILLSTYLE & PEACE PRODUCTIONS presented a fabulous blend of hip-hop and modern dance.
My personal favorites of the evening were Last For One (blow your mind breakdancing) and Lee In Soo Dance Project (beautifully executed, fluid popping and locking in perfect unison).
The evening ended with inspiring music from Baja + the Dry Eye Crew - getting everyone up out of their seats to groove! After sitting and watching all the amazing dancers, we were all itching to dance ourselves!
It was wonderful to see so many people come together to enjoy some of the finest hip hop dancing there is to see on a thank-goodness-ly clear August night!!!
Check out the individual company bios below...
BRANDON ALBRIGHT a.k.a. “Peace” is the Artistic Director of the Philadelphia-based ILLSTYLE & PEACE PRODUCTIONS. Founded in 2002 by Brandon Albright and Forrest Webb, the company is a multicultural mixed gender dance company whose work fuses the moves and spirit of hip hop with various other styles of dance and delivers a positive message of individual expression to worldwide audiences young and old.
Chinese American Arts Council Martial Arts Society is led by the award-winning Tai Chi Master Hui Zhang and a first-class Chinese actor and dancer Zhiqiang Wang. Together, they have turned a 2,500-year-old combat training into an art form. The troupe consists of the best professional martial artists based in Metropolitan New York.
FootworKINGz is an all-star dance ensemble featuring the best of Chicago’s footworkers. It was founded in 2007 by Leida “Lady Sol” Villegas as a professional dance ensemble with a mission to attract global recognition to “footworkin’,” a unique, Chicago born street dance style. The company is under the Artistic Direction of Charles “King Charles” Parks.
Last For One is a b-boying team based in Seoul, Korea and is widely considered as one of the greatest teams in the world. It was the winner of the 2005 International Battle of the Year, the biggest hip-hop dance event worldwide. Last For One travels extensively year-round, performing, and was recently featured in the acclaimed documentary film “Planet B-boy” (2008). www.lastforone.co.kr
Lee In Soo Dance Project was established in 2008 by choreographer Lee In Soo. Lee In Soo has received notable acclaim at the Seoul International Performing Arts Festival and National Dance Competition. He has performed internationally, including in the Netherlands, at the Vienna ImPulsTanz Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival and Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.
Full Circle Productions was founded in 1992 and established as a non-for-profit in ‘96 by veteran hip-hop performers Rokafella (Ana Garcia) and Kwikstep (Gabriel Dionisio). Full Circle offers 360 degrees of NYC Hip-Hop Culture informed by the urban artistic experience, reaching musically from percussion to turn-table to beat-box; from hip-hop, Latin, Garage and House to spoken word. www.fullcirclesoul.com
Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew (Bajah, A-Klazz, & Dovy) are genuine superstars in Sierra Leone, West Africa: so famous that they sell out shows at their country's national stadium, and 30,000 cheering fans greeted Bajah when he returned home after his first trip to America. And it's not just because their music is so fresh (which it is)—they're heroes for speaking out against social and political injustices, giving a voice to the