A Hip-Hop ballet set to Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” with additional music by Hilltop Hoods
Director’s Note: In hip-hop culture, we often think about the idea of “the loop”—a beat sample that is repeated over and over to make a full musical track. When a DJ scratches a loop or an MC rhymes over the beat, the juxtaposition of sounds shifts the loop in our ears. On a larger scale, we all live through the loop of the four seasons every year. Although the seasons remain the same, we are personally evolving and therefore feel the same seasons in new ways each time they come around.“Megan Alfonso and Adaku Utah share the stage, demonstrating how movement can switch from crisp to balmy at a moment’s notice. The tools of hip-hop, which cause a body to break down and build back up again, give the familiar music a playful edge, even though the dancers aren’t playing around.” Gia Kourlas, The New York Times
Fusing old-school hip-hop styles with cutting edge, 3D video technology, When the Sky Breaks moves Deca beyond narrative dance and into an abstract world where b-boying (breakdance) waving, popping and house dance come alive against a city morphing from solid to liquid. The Deca Crew interacts with the 3D universe as the pure joy and spirit of dance transforms the buildings into rain and the streets into oceans. The city’s energy restores and replenishes the dancers just like water, and when the sky breaks, both come alive. Embracing the fluid side of hip-hop, the dancers float, slide, spin, wave, and balance as the projections and choreography seamlessly merge together.
When the Sky Breaks is best viewed in eye-popping 3D with Chroma-Depth 3D glasses in any venue with a regular LCD projector. Featuring the VJ work of Holly Daggers (VJ for The Roots, Moby, James Brown, etc) and DJ Henry C, When The Sky Breaks premiered to sold-out crowds at Joyce SoHo in July 2010.
“Watch out “So You Think You Can Dance” Decadance is HERE. A must see!”
—Devin Pullins, Idanz.net
The Cage –a new hip-hop ballet inspired by Jerome Robbins’ 1951 New York City Ballet piece of the same name–premiered at the B Supreme Festival of Women in Hip-Hop at London’s Southbank Center in April 2010. The Cage looks at moments where darkness and light collide, pushing the physical limits of the female hip-hop dancer and the potential of hip-hop as a theatrical language.
“Brooklyn-based Decadancetheatre got things off to a promising start. In The Cage, the four company members balanced their cohesion as a tightly knit unit against individual strengths.” –Donald Huerta, The London Times
“Their mixture of hip hop style with contemporary format making for a piece of dance theatre where you never knew what to expect showed the vulnerability beneath the tough b-girl exterior.—Storm, Toomuchflavour.co.uk
Loosely inspired by Maurice Sendak children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, MAX338 imagines a surreal, urban setting where graffiti comes to life. Graffiti writers often tag their name followed by the street number where they are from. MAX338 comes from the 338 words in Sendak’s book. In Deca’s new work, Max is a graffiti writer who “puts on his wolf suit and causes mischief.” When Max gets caught tagging around the city, his mother sends him to his room. But in true hip-hop style of making something out of nothing, Max’s imagination turns his white walls into a magical canvas where everything he paints dances off the wall. MAX338 examines the relationships between an artist and his/her work, between reality and fantasy, and between the creator and the created. With explosive, aggressive movement inspired by the flow, shape and energy of various graffiti lettering styles as well as the gestures used by graffiti artists to paint their work, MAX338 fluctuates between narrative dance theatre and an abstract examination of the human body as physical graffiti. In hip-hop culture, the city is the canvas—so do you ever have to go home from your own fantasy world?
Meet Iva, a young girl in the inner city whose youthful exuberance keeps her blissfully ignorant of the potential dangers around her. One day, in the midst of exploring her surroundings, she meets an unlikely companion who will prove to be an even more unlikely savior – a dazzling creature known only as the Firebird through which Iva can see all things that are possible. As Iva encounters a series of challenges–evil b-girl antagonists, a shifting chain link fence, confounding forests–she will need the Firebird’s light to find her way out.
Originally performed in 1910 by the Ballet Russes, (music by Igor Stravinsky, choreography by Michael Fokine), The Firebird was based on a Russian folktale. Decadance Vs. The Firebird is an urban ballet for the 21st Century. Mashing up Stravinsky’s score with original, hip-hop beats, fusing breakdancing with ballet, and remixing the classic story into a contemporary text, the all-female cast challenges the ballet convention of a “handsome prince” and instead creates a world where women battle for the right to rule the dance floor. A high energy dance performance ready to entertain diverse audiences of all ages, Decadance Vs. The Firebird presents a new vision for hip-hop dance theatre.
I was There from the Beginning (2006)
I was There is a high energy hip-hop performance showcasing the diverse skills of women in hip-hop. The piece begins with one solo dancer who, disappointed by the misogynistic sounds coming out of her hip-hop radio station, turns the dial back to the old school days and finds women “throwing down” (break dancing) on cardboard, wrecking on the mic, and tagging the city. As more women join the movement, the audience begins to feel the unique challenges women face in the hip-hop world. The more the women dance, the more the strength of hip-hop’s female voices, bodies, and style is heard. Set to an original score that samples the pioneering sounds of MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Roxanne Shante, I was There incorporates projected images of the work of Lady Pink and Toofly—two legendary female graffiti writers, and the spoken word styles of Derin Adesida.
The City Breathing (2007)
Gamon introduced Decadancethtre to the concept of L-Wire light suit costumes. The City Breathing takes it to the next level as we explore wireless, programmable technology allowing the choreography and costumes to work together– faster and tighter. This piece brings to life the unique energy of a graffiti-covered metropolis at night where the electronic heartbeat of the city pulses through all bodies that enter it—a visual spectacle with breathtaking movement. The City Breathing has wowed audiences all over the world.