Lincoln Center Out of Doors, powerHouse Books, and Martha Cooper are pleased to announce
Twenty-five years ago, the first breakin’ battle for a large public audience was held at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Henry Chalfant organized a battle between two New York break dancing groups to introduce breaking to the public. The original breakin’ battle event, of all male dancers, held on August 15, 1981, was photographed by legendary hip-hop documentarian Martha Cooper who is now coordinating the 25th anniversary event, We B*Girlz.
To honor the rise of the b-girlz, as well as pay homage to the b-boyz who paved the way, Lincoln Center Out of Doors will present We B*Girlz: A 25th Anniversary Breakin’ Event on Thursday, August 10th on the Josie Robertson Plaza at 6:00 p.m.
In the past 25 years, women have become a strong, driving force in the hip-hop scene. As documented in We B*Girlz (Miss Rosen Editions/powerHouse Books, 2005), the first book to showcase the b-girl scene worldwide. Cooper partnered with text editor Nika Kramer to speak with old and new school b-girlz around the globe about their work to redefine the role of women in a traditionally male-dominated field.
The We B*Girlz Lincoln Center Out of Doors event will feature an all-star international line-up of female performers, participants and judges. Emceed by Toni Blackman, New York, and featuring music spun by DJ Sparkles, Philadelphia. It will feature a 3-on-3 battle between four crews: Dynamic Rockers and Fox Force, both New York City; Style Comes First, Philadelphia; and Flowzaic, London. There will also be performances by popper/locker Rowdy of Flowzaic as well as a group show by members of Keep Risin’ to the Tops, a dance troupe based in Spanish Harlem. The judges include Rokafella, New York; Asia One, Los Angeles; and Aruna, Rotterdam. The backdrop will be painted by graffiti legend Lady Pink along with Toofly and Muck.
Prior to announcing the winner of the battle, Henry Chalfant will introduce original b-boys from the 1981 event, bringing them on stage to take their bows. When the winner is announced, Toni Blackman will freestyle with two members of her Cipher Workshop, in a grand finale, with everyone on stage taking part in a jam that recognizes the achievements of both b-boys and b-girls, as well as old school and new school styles.
One of New York’s most anticipated summer traditions, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, now in its 36th year, is enjoyed annually by thousands of people who come to its FREE music, dance, spoken-word, special events, and interactive family programs representing traditional and contemporary arts and culture from around the world, and the rich cultural diversity of New York City.
For a complete listing of Out of Doors 2006 events, visit Lincoln Center’s website: www.lincolncenter.org or to request a brochure, call 212-LINCOLN.
We B*Girlz: A 25th Anniversary Breakin’ Event at Lincoln Center Out of Doors is funded by National Endowment for the Arts and co-sponsored by City Lore, Inc. in collaboration with The Point, C.D.C.
THE EVENT WILL FEATURE THE FOLLOWING:
A native of the Bay Area, Toni Blackman grew up in Pittsburg, a working-class steel town on the outskirts of Oakland, California. Born in 1968, she learned to rap on street corners during the 70s and 80s when rap first reached the West Coast. Her inspiration was to “beat the boys.” In college, she became convinced that there was a whole underground culture that expressed itself through rap but was invisible in the media. To give voice to this tradition she founded Freestyle Union, whose mission is to provide a safe space and a creative art form for urban teens. Freestyle Union thrived in DC from 1994 to 1999. When Blackman moved to New York, Freestyle Union moved with her to Brooklyn.
Blackman is revered in the African American community for her freestyling. She works with hundreds of inner-city youth, many of them master freestylers themselves. She went on to become dubbed the US “Ambassador for Hip Hop,” a title given to her when the US Department of State sent her to demonstrate and perform in Senegal and Ghana. Blackman helped to organize a hip hop and spoken word festival for the Smithsonian. She has facilitated artist exchanges with the South African hip hop community and performed in Angola, England, and France, as well as throughout the United States at venues including the ROXY, Los Angeles, and 9:30 Club, Washington, DC. Recently, she established an award for hip hop artists who are pushing the art form; the Hip Hop Ambassador Award now given annually by Freestyle Union. City Lore presented Toni Blackman as part of their Poetry Dialogues series at the 2002 national Dodge Poetry Festival. Blackman also served as the MC for City Lore’s People’s Hall of Fame Awards in 2002, introducing each honoree in rhyme.
For more than 11 years, DJ Sparkles has honed her skills as an industry DJ professional. More than a DJ, this battle-tested turntablist has radio experience, and has also made local and national television appearances. Most recently she appeared on BET, winning DJ Battles at both the BET College Day at Kings Dominion and BET Spring Bling DJ Battle at Daytona Beach.These appearances were followed up by her appearance as guest DJ on BET’s Rap City—In the Basement with Big Tigger. Sparkles was the stage DJ for Eve and Beanie Siegel at The Dell East in Philadelphia, as well as the tour DJ for St. Juste (Columbia recording artist) on Roots and Common Tour; for Salem’s Stir the Senses Tour featuring Musiq Soulchild; and for the Aaries on the Courvoisuer Tour. She has won numerous awards, including the 2003 Lady DJ Award, the Pitch Control (City Paper/Philadelphia) DJ Battle 2004, and was selected as Lady Technition. An on-air personality on 92.9 street radio, DJ Sparkles has also made several radio appearances on local Philadelphia radio: 88.1, 92.9, 98.9, 103.9. DJ Sparkles founded the Jill of All Trades entertainment group.
Rowdy, a much-celebrated dancer from the UK, will perform the opening solo hip hop freestyle dance for the We B*Girlz event. Born in Colombia and raised in Sweden, Rowdy studied locking, boogaloo, poppin’, funk, and old school dances with dancer and choreographer Damon Frost from1996 to 2000, and studied breakin’, house, and new jack hip hop with dancer and choreographer Clyde Evans Jr. in 2002. A certified snowboard instructor, Rowdy has also taught dancing since 2000. The founder of all-girl crews Chutzpah Crew SWE and Flowzaic UK, she has danced choreographed pieces for artists including Verbalisious, Jamelia, Jocelyn Brown, and Wu-Tang Clan, among others. She has appeared on television shows, in numerous music videos, and in commercials for Ikea and Nike, among others. Rowdy has performed around the world at concerts, jams, and battles, including “The Choreographer’s Ball” at the Hippodrome, London, in 2004 and 2006, and with Wu-Tang Clan at the Astoria, London, 2004. She placed 2nd at the IBE, Rotterdam, in 2004.
KR3Ts (Keep Rising to the Tops) is a hip hop dance troupe based in East Harlem and founded by b-girl dancer/choreographer Violeta Galagarza. At LCOOD, boys and girls from KR3Ts will perform an eight-minute dance incorporating and celebrating the history of hip hop dance. Violeta Galagarza is a New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage who has dedicated her heart and soul to the rhythms of life. With a background in ballet, tap, jazz, classical, and modern dance, blended with the flavor of hip hop, breakin’, African, and reggae, the multifaceted Galagarza has a varied and balanced repertoire. She rounds off impressively with the traditional Latin styles of salsa, merengue, cumbia, rumba, and tango. Galagarza developed her talents in The Performing Arts School, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and The Boys Harbor School of the Arts. The founder and director of KR3Ts, Galagarza manages group of over 60 dancers. Based in Spanish Harlem, KR3TS fulfills a need in the community to provide a positive alternative to social and street pressures by providing dance classes and support programs in a non-discriminating atmosphere. KR3TS also carries out its mission through its core performance group that fosters pre-professional dancers. KR3Ts Dance Company primarily caters to children and young adults from lower to middle income families in Latino communities of New York City. Galagarza has also pledged her humanitarian efforts as a volunteer in numerous events as evidenced by the many awards she's been honored with, including Congressman Charles B. Rangel's Award of Achievement Recognition and The Governor of Puerto Rico's Award of Outstanding Support, and donation to victims of Hurricane Hugo.
There will be a 3-on-3 B-Girl Battle with four crews of 3 girls each, and two rounds of competition: semi-finals and finals.
Style Comes First is a collective of b-girls who have their own styles and get down in any ciphers. The crew is lead by b-girl Emiko, a member of Flexible Flave, currently performing with Rennie Harris Puremovement, Illstyle and Peace Production, and Montazh. She has battled at events such as at Pro-AM Japan and SF 2004, B-Boy Summit, Bboy City, and Mighty 4.
Fox Force is an all female crew based out of New York City. Its members include 1Love, Big Tara aka Suprema, Bounce, Paulito, SeoulsoNYk and Eri. Jenn “1LoVE” Breckenridge began b-girling in the Lower East Side and the Bronx in 1999 through the mentorship of b-girl, Rokafella and soon became a member of the Syrenz crew. 1LoVE was a principal dancer and choreographer for Montazh Performing Arts Company in Philadelphia and recently performed with Rennie Harris in his work "Heaven" at DTW. Big Tara aka Suprema is a b-girl and mc with Anomolies Crew. Born and raised in the lower eastside of NYC, she was influenced by the dance and music culture of her neighborhood. She has graced many stages across the country including the Apollo, BB Kings, and the Manhattan Center and has worked with the Roots, Erykah Badu and LL Cool J to name a few. Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie began b-girling in Brooklyn in 2002 under Breakeasy, BIS crew. She has also been greatly influenced by the club scene in New York. Bounce has performed and taught throughout the US, Europe and South America. Her work has included performances for LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg. She has appeared on MTV, Comedy Central and at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and DTW. Fox Force Five is committed to repping hard and to promoting New York’s hip hop dance culture accurately and positively.
There will be three old school b-girls judging the We B*Girlz Battle: Rokafella from NY, Asia One from Los Angeles, and Aruna from Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Ana “Rokafella” Garcia is a Spanish Harlem–born hip hop dancer and choreographer. Rokafella danced with such crews as The Transformers and The Breeze Team before joining the hip hop dance company GhettOriginal. She has appeared in music dance videos such as Fabolous’ Holla Back Youngin. Rokafella is the cofounder of Full Circle Productions—a hip hop artist collective. She sings and rhymes with The Orphans and has appeared in Soular Power’d, a hip hop theater show, and the short film On the Outs. Rokafella has done work for artists like Will Smith, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Tito Puente, to name a few. Most recently, Rokafella wrote the introduction to We B*Girlz (powerHouse Books, 2005) and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington, DC. She lives in New York.
While living in her hometown of Denver, Asia One opened the city’s first hip hop shop and workspace called La Casa del Fonk. She moved to the San Diego/Los Angeles area in 1994, and hooked up with the Universal Zulu Nation and Rock Steady Crew. Asia has been breaking for 11 years, and affiliated with The Rock Steady Crew, Eternal 2 Creations, Tony Tee Dance Projects, Malcolm McLaren’s Buffalo Girls, and currently holds it down with her production and dance company called No Easy Props Productions, established in 1997, and Essential Rockers Crew. No Easy Props Productions manufactures and distributes dance DVDs and hip hop–inspired clothing, and produces hip hop lifestyle events, performances, and workshops. Asia has performed and battled throughout the US, Europe, and Japan, has taken part in professional shows, seminars and workshops, and been featured in commercial (Pepsi) and print ads (Virgin Records). Asia can be seen in numerous breaking videos and several rap videos including Slum Villages’ Tell A Friend (Capital Records); Run DMC/Jason Nevin’s remix It’s Like That (Def Jam); Blackalicious’ Deception (Loud); DJ Swamp’s Bgirls video: and Malcolm McLauren’s Buffalo Girls—Back to School (Virgin Records). Asia is a spokesperson for Tylenol, and a team “Ouch” rider. Sponsors include Tylenol, Tribal Gear, Red Bull, Mixwell, and LRG ladies.
One of Asia’s most successful events is The B-Boy Summit, now over 10 years strong. What started off as a free event strictly for b-boys and b-girls, to pay homage to the original hip hop dance form of b-boying, is now an annual four-day international conference incorporating all the elements of hip hop, as well as educational panels, DJ/MC talent showcase, funk styles segment, B-Boy/B-Girl breakoff, battles, Graff Expo, and hip hop marketplace. Currently Asia is working on B-Boy Summit Battle of the Sexes Event set for September 2006, as well as expanding into Europe with No Easy Props Europe. Asia is also an associate producer for the major motion picture Battle, coming out in 2007. She is enjoying her status of motherhood with a five-year-old daughter named Yasmin Joy.
Aruna Vermeulen is from Rotterdam, a city in The Netherlands known for its rich b-boy culture. Vermeulen has been breaking since 1998 when she was introduced to the game by her crew, Freezone. As most of the Freezone members are old school b-boys, they aren't as active as they used to be, and Vermeulen practices with the new school generation—resulting in a crew called Optima Forma, which holds performances, workshops, and battles. Highlights include performances at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a tour for the Dutch Queen in 2005. Devoted to hip hop in many ways, Vermeulen is one of the founders of the HipHopHuis, an educational centre in Rotterdam and she organized the b-boy jam Gimme a Break, which has been held in Nighttown since 1999. Inspired by b-girls like Rokafella, Angi, and Dora, Vermeulen is a fan of the athletic element in breaking. Her goal is be a full time b-girl for another decade.
Lady Pink and her all-girl posse featuring Muck and Toofly will paint a mural for the back of the stage. It will depict an old school boy and new school girl breakin’.
Lady Pink was born in Ecuador and raised in New York City. She started writing graffiti at the age of 15 and soon was well known as the only female capable of competing with the boys in the graffiti subculture. Pink painted subway trains from the years 1979 to 1985. She is considered a cult figure in the hip hop subculture since the release of the independent motion picture Wild Style in 1982, in which she had a starring role. While still in high school she began exhibiting paintings in art galleries and at the age of 21 had her first solo exhibit at the Moore College of Art. As a leading participant in the rise of graffiti-based art, Lady Pink’s canvasses have entered important art collections such as the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York, all in New York; the Groningen Museum of Holland; and many others. Her paintings have been exhibited throughout the world in venues including The Bronx Museum, The Queens Museum, and Sidney Janis Gallery, all in New York; the Federal Reserve Board, Washington DC; Le Case D’Arte, Milan; Lisson Gallery, London; and Inhound Museum, Geneva. Today she is well documented as a community activist by creating grand-scale murals throughout the city and mobilizing artists into donating public art in culturally neglected communities. She has brought her artwork in a full circle from the subways and commuters to the cultured and elite in galleries, back to working class neighborhoods. Lady Pink and her husband Smith are one of the few professional mural teams to arise from the graffiti subculture. She now shares her 2 decades of experience by holding mural workshops with students and actively lecturing in universities throughout the US.
Martha Cooper is a documentary photographer who has specialized in urban vernacular art and architecture for twenty-five years. She took the first known photos of breaking in January 1980, when she saw kids dancing in an upper Manhattan subway station while she was on assignment for the New York Post. Her books Subway Art (Holt Rinehart Winston, 1984) and Hip Hop Files 1980-1984 (From Here to Fame, 2004) contains hundreds of rare, early graffiti and hip hop photographs that have helped to introduce the arts of hip hop culture to the world. Cooper’s work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries and published in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. Most recently, she partnered with Nika Kramer to author We B*Girlz (Miss Rosen Editions/powerHouse Books, 2005), the first book to document the b-girl scene around the world. She lives in Manhattan, and is the Director of Photography at City Lore, the New York Center for Urban Folk Culture. For more information, please visit www.bgirlz.com
Henry Chalfant was born in 1940 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Stanford University with a BA in classical Greek. Later he pursued a career as a sculptor, exhibiting his work in New York and Europe. In the 1980s he turned to photo and film documentation in order to do an in-depth study of hip hop culture and graffiti art. His photographs have been exhibited at such venues as the O.K. Harris Gallery and the landmark New York-New Wave show at PS1, as well as at important galleries and museums in Europe. His photographs are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; amongst others. Chalfant co-authored the definitive account of New York graffiti art, Subway Art (Holt Rinehart Winston, 1984) and a sequel on the art form's world-wide diffusion, Spray Can Art (Thames and Hudson, 1987). He also co-produced the landmark graffiti film, Style Wars, which was first shown on PBS television in 1984 and released on DVD in 2003. He directed the film From Mambo to Hip Hop, for Latino Public Broadcasting, which will be broadcast on PBS in 2006.