Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved dance. I used to dance in front of the mirror, the kitchen floor, my front porch or on the school yard in front of my peers. I even used to dance in front of the television with my little “dance crew” while the TV was in the off position and watch my reflection as my crew and I did the Snake and the Running Man dance to the Hip Hop sounds of Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, MC Hammer and A Tribe Called Quest.
When I look back I can’t think of what was louder, my bright pink polka dot shirt with coordinating suspenders, or the speakers shaking the walls and shifting pictures as I grooved the night away.
I was just a kid then, but not much has changed for my love of dance and Hip Hop music. I still dance in front of my mirror, the kitchen floor, and my front porch. I even still get down and dance at school yards like I did recently with a new generation of Hip Hoppers for the upcoming City Folk “Rise Up to Dance” performance, featuring Celebrity Choreographers and Originators of Krump style dancing, Hurricane and Big Mijo of Los Angeles, California. I had a blast watching the kids perform on stage to one of the hottest hip hop dance forms of this generation, Krump dancing.
I had a nostalgic moment at one point during the rehearsal, because I was once that eager kid learning how to dance and express myself. I remember the level of confidence that I built from just getting out there and showing my moves to whoever was willing to watch. I could see that same excitement and energy I had while parading around in my living room dancing to my favorite hip hop tune.
What I loved most about the “Rise Up to Dance” kids was that they were committed. I could tell the kids were giving it their all, stepping outside of their comfort zones and were excited about participating in something positive. Dancing is what saved me at one point, and it is nice to see the youth of today doing the same.
Hurricane stated during rehearsal with the kids of the “Rise Up to Dance” project, “We love to share with them what saved us from the streets and getting into other bad things.”
Big Mijo added, “It is not about the money, but about the kids first. We love to see them doing something positive and that is why we are here in Dayton doing this project.”
Besides Hurricane and Big Mijo, Dayton is privileged to have so much artistic talent working together in the city at the same time thanks to the wonderful people over at Cityfolk. Featured artist include Kwame Ross of the Prophecy Music Project, Renee McClendon Lead Local Artist for Fairview site, and a host of others.
Julius Jenkins, who goes by the stage name “Eclipse” is a 10 year B-boy and Pop lock dancer and the lead local artist working with east end community children for the “Rise Up and Dance” performance.
Julius stated during our interview, “I Definitely see growth from the children involved. Our goal is for the kids to gain confidence and tap into their creative side. We want to show people that these kids are not just running around in the streets, even though the neighborhoods may be ran down and they are less fortunate. We want to give them the opportunity to gain confidence and do something positive for themselves. They have just as much talent and potential as anybody else.”
Marie Medina, who goes by the stage name of Pandora, is best known for her role in “Step Up 3D” as a featured dancer with moves that set the crowd on fire. Pandora is working with Dayton’s east end kids for the “Rise Up and Dance” project and is having a blast working with the children.
Pandora stated, “Dancing is what saved me from going down the wrong path. I want to help and inspire kids just like I was inspired by the dancers in my neighborhood.”
Pandora is originally from Santa Ana, California and has been a Pop Lock dancer for over 10 years traveling the world performing.
Sparrowfaith is another Lead Local Artist, who says his Krumping style of dance was inspired from the hit movie “Rize” in 2005. Sparrowfaith stated during our interview, “I watched the movie “Rise” over and over and began to practice. I am out here in Ohio and they [Krumpers] were in California so I did not have any teachers, but I just liked it so much that I latched on to the style. ”
Sparrowfaith encourages the community to come out and support the kids and artist who have put in so much hard work for a great cause.
Kelsa Rieger, Community programs manager for Cityfolk, states “I have been afforded an amazing opportunity to do what I have always dreamed of, which is to combine all my passions into one career. I am able to bring together the arts, dance, culture and my passion for community development together.”
When I asked Kelsa what people should expect from this performance she added, “People can expect to have their minds blown. They will see things they have never seen and learn things they have never known. My hope is that people gain a deeper appreciation for the art forms that they will experience during the show.”
As I covered this story, it took me back to the little dancer in me that every now and then likes to come out and groove a little bit. Oh those were the days. I can still hear the sounds of LL Cool J’s “I Need an Around the Way Girl” playing in the background while I was doing the Cabbage Patch dance.
Fortunately, there is an opportunity for everyone to step outside of their daily routine, become a kid again and experience the same feelings I did by coming to the Cityfolk “Rise to Dance” performance taking place March 19, 2011 at Stivers. Show time is 6pm and celebration reception will follow right after the show. For more information and tickets visit www.cityfolk.org or call 937-910-1005.