Dr. Mary Fogarty and Sky Fairchild-Waller talk “Urban Dance”

With Tina Rasmussen at the helm, Toronto’s elite vessel of international contemporary performance just got a bit more international; critically acclaimed Compagnie Käfig’s Agwa/Correria brings French and Brazilian champions of urban dance together under the direction of hip hop prodigy Mourad Merzouki to Toronto from May 2-5, presented as a part of World Stage 2012.

In preparation for Compagnie Käfig’s arrival, and with the subject of urban dance on the tip of the zeitgeist’s tongue, we asked Dr. Mary Fogarty, Assistant Professor of ethnography and breaking technique in the Department of Dance at York University to sit down and chat.

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Interview with Crazy Smooth of BBoyizm Dance Company

Interview with Crazy Smooth of BBoyizm Dance Company

Meet Canada's Yvon Soglo, known as "Crazy Smooth." He's the founder of Bboyizm dance company. Since emerging on the b-boy scene, he has become known for his skyrocketing energy, swiftness and accuracy. His immaculate mastery of technique marked him out early on as a dancer. His journey as a choreographer in the theatre proves equally raw and emblematic.

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Spontaneous Lux: Freestyling in Hip Hop Dance and Music

Spontaneous Lux: Freestyling in Hip Hop Dance and Music

This essay and the accompanying video documentary explore "freestyling" (improvising) in hip hop culture, focusing in particular on a Canadian b-boy (breaking) crew called the Albino Zebrahs, which distinguishes itself through improvisational tendencies and choices. An ethnographic analysis of their approach to b-boying reveals that the values and processes behind freestyling involve more work and intention than most outsiders imagine. 

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"Supplementary motor area and primary auditory cortex activation in an expert break-dancer during the kinesthetic motor imagery of dance to music"

"Supplementary motor area and primary auditory cortex activation in an expert break-dancer during the kinesthetic motor imagery of dance to music"

The current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural activity of an expert dancer with 35 years of break-dancing experience during the kinesthetic motor imagery (KMI) of dance accompanied by highly familiar and unfamiliar music. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of musical familiarity on neural activity underlying KMI within a highly experienced dancer. In order to investigate this in both primary sensory and motor planning cortical areas, we examined the effects of music familiarity on the primary auditory cortex [Heschl’s gyrus (HG)] and the supplementary motor area (SMA). Our findings reveal reduced HG activity and greater SMA activity during imagined dance to familiar music compared to unfamiliar music. We propose that one’s internal representations of dance moves are influenced by auditory stimuli and may be specific to a dance style and the music accompanying it.

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The multiple legitimacies of Tentacle Tribe

The multiple legitimacies of Tentacle Tribe

According to Hugues Bazin (2002), hip hop dancers working in theatrical settings have a "double legitimacy" as they gain acceptance in two contexts with different expectations, criteria and values. In this case study, we researched how an emerging dance company negotiates artistic identities in the entertainment, street dance and theatrical art worlds, finding acceptance across competing discourses. Tentacle Tribe, a dance company comprised of Emmanuelle Lê Phan and Elon Höglund, operates simultaneously in hip hop, contemporary dance and the entertainment world of companies such as Cirque du Soleil, receiving commercial, street and critical attention. In 2013, we interviewed them, observed their performances, rehearsals, and pedagogy to analyze their success at traversing these different contexts.

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"Breaking expectations: Imagined affinities in mediated youth cultures"

"Breaking expectations: Imagined affinities in mediated youth cultures"

This article examines the mediated encounters experienced by participants in hip hop and funk dance styles especially breaking or b-boying/b-girling. It introduces the concept of imagined affinities to describe the spectrum of these encounters, which are enacted through mediated texts, or by travels through new places. Using interviews with dancers as a guide, I argue that artefacts made, distributed and circulated by dancers help to produce perceptions of commonalities between them. The nature of the process of rapid mediatisation, which has taken place during the past few decades, and its subsequent impact on breaking or b-boying/b-girling, are considered here through a concerted effort to historicize shifts in practice and experience. I examine the historical moment when homemade videotapes began to proliferate in the cultural practices of breaking, providing a source for the values and codes of hip hop culture. At that time, dancers on tour, who created the videos, celebrated the local contexts of other dancers from around the world while simultaneously showing a determination to appreciate breaking through its own practices and formats, even as these practices were becoming rapidly transformed and expanded through international networks.

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The Body and Dance

The Body and Dance

"The Routledge Reader on the Sociology of Music offers the first collection of source readings and new essays on the latest thinking in the sociology of music. Interest in music sociology has increased dramatically over the past decade, yet there is no anthology of essential and introductory readings. The volume includes a comprehensive survey of the field’s history, current state and future research directions."

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Movies, Moves and Music: The Sonic World of Dance Films

Movies, Moves and Music: The Sonic World of Dance Films

Dance on film has never been more relevant or compelling. From Saturday Night Fever, to Black Swan and the Step Up series of street dance movies, mainstream cinema has engaged, entertained and instructed generations of audiences, young and old, in the power of dance to shape bodies and desires. Music and sound are an indelible part of this phenomenon. Music not only motivates dance, it provides the affect that engages issues of sexuality, gender, ethnicity, power and pleasure, present in the dance. Cinematic dance inhabits a particular set of sound worlds, from the intimate to the epic, that place movement and music in a complex frame of engagement for all the senses.

This volume explores the relationships between movement, music and sound as they appear in a variety of screen dance genres. From a historical foundation, Movies, Moves & Music takes a multidisciplinary approach to the consideration of teen dance films, screen dance, pastiches and parodies of historic dance genres, and Bollywood musicals, ending with a phenomenological account of the interaction of the moving body with the world. Films considered include Centre Stage, Flashdance, Across The Universe, 1941, Honey, the Step Up films, and many more. This volume gets to the heart of the impact of screen dance on contemporary culture.

 

Each One Teach One: B-Boying and Ageing

Each One Teach One: B-Boying and Ageing

What happens to punks, clubbers, goths, riot grrls, soulies, break-dancers and queer scene participants as they become older? 

For decades, research on spectacular 'youth cultures' has understood such groups as adolescent phenomena and assumed that involvement ceases with the onset of adulthood. In an age of increasingly complex life trajectories, Ageing and Youth Cultures is the first anthology to challenge such thinking by examining the lives of those who continue to participate into adulthood and middle-age. 

Showcasing a range of original research case studies from across the globe, the chapters explore how participants reconcile their continuing involvement with ageing bodies, older identities and adult responsibilities. Breaking new ground and establishing a new field of study, the book will be essential reading for students and scholars researching or studying questions of youth, fashion, popular music and identity across a wide range of disciplines.

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