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August 1973 is acknowledged as the critical moment of the emergence of Hip Hop, as innovated by Black and Brown youth in New York City. To celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary and dance in Hip Hop as a global phenomenon, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, home to one of the nation’s largest contingents of faculty in higher education with Hip Hop dance expertise, will host a dynamic festival of panels, workshops, and dancing organized by artistic lead and curator d. Sabela grimes.

“Celebrating Hip Hop Dance Scholarship” is the first of three parts. 

Schedule:

5–6 p.m.: A musical essay by DJ Lynnée Denise, 2022 Sterling Brown Visiting Professor at Williams College and founder of “DJ Scholarship,” who has re-positioned the role of the DJ from party purveyor to archivist, cultural custodian, and information specialist.
6–7 p.m.: Reception with food and drink.
7–8:30 p.m.: Hip Hop scholarship panel celebrating the publication of the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies with editors Dr. Imani Kai Johnson and Dr. Mary Fogarty in conversation with Dancing Funk & Disco Kinships: Kinethic California author Dr. Naomi Bragin and USC Kaufman professors E. Moncell Durden and d. Sabela grimes.
8:30–10 p.m.: Hip Hop dance workshops open to all (registration and liability waiver required) will be taught by choreographer/teacher/dancer Monica Polk and USC Kaufman artist in residence Toyin Sogunro

Bios:

Naomi Bragin uses dance, writing, and performance as creative resources for healing, artistic collaboration, and reenacting histories. Teaching dance, performance, and cultural theory, and co-directing the arts research group Critical Acts: Socially Engaged Performance at the University of Washington, her first book, Dancing Funk & Disco Kinships: Kinethic California, received the 2023 National Endowment for the Humanities Open Book Award.

DJ Lynnée Denise is an Amsterdam-based writer, interdisciplinary artist, and global practitioner of sound, language, and Black Atlantic thought whose work has been featured in cultural and academic institutions worldwide. She was the 2022 Sterling Brown Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College and has been the recipient of numerous global residencies and lecturer positions, including at Stanford University, UCLA, and Spelman College.

E. Moncell Durden is a dance educator, choreographer, ethnographer, embodied historian, and author. As an associate professor of practice at the USC Kaufman School of Dance, he specializes in pedagogical practices that prove cultural and historical context in what he calls the “morphology of Afro-kinetic memory.” A highly sought-after instructor, Durden teaches practical and theoretical classes and is an expert in locking, house, Hip Hop, authentic jazz, and party dances from 1900 to the present.

Mary Fogarty is associate professor of dance at York University, Toronto. A long-time member of the KeepRockinYou arts collective that organizes the Toronto B-Girl Movement, Mary has performed in Canada, the U.S., Germany, Scotland, England, and Portugal. Mary has published two collections of research on dance: The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies (co-edited with Imani Kai Johnson) and Movies, Moves, and Music: The Sonic World of Dance Films. Mary has also been a visiting scholar at the Hip Hop Education Center, founded by Martha Diaz at NYU.

d. Sabela grimes, a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, is a choreographer, writer, composer, and associate professor of practice at USC Kaufman, whose interdisciplinary performance work and pedagogical approach reveal a vested interest in the physical and meta-physical efficacies of Afro-Diasporic cultural practices. Considered one of the most imaginative and innovative artists in his field, grimes created and continues to cultivate a movement system called Funkamentals that focuses on the methodical dance training and community-building elements evident in Black vernacular and Street dance forms.

Imani Kai Johnson is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in the African diaspora, Hip Hop, and power. She is currently an associate professor of critical dance studies in the Department of Black Study at UC Riverside, and author of Dark Matter in Breaking Cyphers: The Life of Africanist Aesthetics in Global Hip Hop. Johnson also co-edited Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies, and is founder and artistic director of the “Show & Prove” Hip Hop Studies Conference Series.

Monica Polk began her dance journey in Washington, DC, in 2005 with the youth dance company, Future Shock DC. During that time she trained in several street styles including Popping, house, locking, krump, and Beat ya feet. At 15 she began teaching and choreographing for the local studios and companies, then starting her own company shortly after. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2019 , she has taught at studios including Debbie Reynolds, Movement Lifestyle, Eighty Eight, Millennium, and Fuzion Force LA, and danced for artists such as Lizzo, Janelle Monáe, DaBaby, and Ozuna. She loves to share her passion for dance, and hopes to continue to create a positive learning environment for dancers of all ages.

Toyin Sogunro is a professional dancer, educator, and artist in residence at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. As artistic director of the Urban Artistry dance company and a performer, winner, and judge at some of the top dance competitions in the world, most, if not all, of her work revolves around preserving the authenticity of Black culture through street and club dance. A cultural ambassador, Sogunro travels to different urban arts communities around the globe to broaden her perspective and understanding in all sorts of dance forms and share her own talents and teachings.

Related events:

Celebrating Kinetic Innovation: A Birthday Party for Hip Hop
Saturday, September 30
McCarthy Quad
For info, click HERE.

Celebrating Collaboration & Community
Wednesday, October 4
Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center
RSVP beginning Friday, September 1 at 9 a.m.
For info, click HERE.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices. Organized by artistic lead and curator d. Sabela grimes and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Co-sponsored by the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs and La CASA.

Artwork: Dark Matter in Breaking Cyphers book cover

Event Details

  • Trinity Sumlin

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