When hip-hop choreographer Micaya took stock of the performance options for Bay area hip-hop dancers in the 1990s, she felt far from satisfied—and so she did something about it. Her International San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest, the first festival dedicated specifically to hip hop, had its inaugural year in 1999. “I had seen the artistry,” says Micaya. “What was happening in the hip-hop dance world was incredibly impressive, but I didn’t see it being acknowledged as an art form. Other than battles and competitions, I’d never seen it honored on a stage.”
Now in its 15th year, the festival culls around one hundred submissions each year, from all over the US and as far away as Belgium, South Africa and the Philippines. Over three evenings this November, companies perform, master classes are held and hip-hop students and choreographers alike get the chance to network and share. Local companies that will perform this year include Micaya’s own SoulForce Dance Company, Academy of Villains, Funk Beyond Control, Loose Change, Mind Over Matter and Chapkis Dance Family.
“This festival started just as a springboard for the talent and sophistication I’d seen in hip hop, but it’s now become this world-wide convergence,” says Micaya. “When I get to finally sit down and watch the performances, I feel like I’ve been blessed.” See sfhiphopdancefest.com for tickets, the full list of performance artists, each night's program and group discounts.
Photo courtesy of Micaya
Finis Jhung's career as a professional dancer began in 1960 in the Broadway and national companies of Flower Drum Song. The Korean-Scottish-English Hawaii native then went on to dance with San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, found his own company, Chamber Ballet USA, and teach his unique classical ballet style to professionals and amateurs all over the world. Now, at age 80, his teaching has gone full circle back to the basics, primarily focusing on what he calls his "adult babies"—absolute and advanced adult beginners—at The Ailey Extension in New York City.
As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.
In an event inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, The Washington Ballet will perform the world premier of WHO WHEN WHY this Saturday, June 24, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Kogod Courtyard.
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.