In the tradition of last year’s RBMA NYC United States of Bass event, the opening night of Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York will once again celebrate a range of hyper-local dance music sounds that have made a global impact. On May 1, Brooklyn Night Bazaar will serve as a unique playground for showcasing four different sounds and dance styles from the New York/New Jersey area: housing, voguing, flexing and Jersey Club.
Taking to the turntables, some of the most revered DJs of their respective club sounds will provide the soundtrack for four dance crews comprised of celebrated masters of their dynamic craft. Customizing the large, open Williamsburg space to fit the occasion, four unique stages will be set up to showcase each style with a distinctive twist. Throughout the night, the crews will rotate between stages, creating a compelling environment that invites the audience to partake in the eclectic dance mayhem.
Holding the musical reins for bruk up will be dancehall king Bobby Konders. Characterized by moves such as the crab walk, the shoulder pop and the ghost walk, bruk up was embraced by NYC dancehall lovers in the mid-‘90s, and slowly transformed into the style known today as flexing (or bonebreaking). The dance roster will include Drew Dollaz and Bones the Machine, who have toured with Madonna as her backup dancers, Samiam, who has earned the nickname “Moviemansam” for his cinematic dance interpretations, and Bed-Stuy Veteran/LOUD League crew founder Albert “The Ghost” Esquilin.
Nourished equally in clubs, loft parties, and raves throughout the United States over the last 30 years, house dance is now a staple of urban dance battles and dance school curriculums worldwide. Hoisting the dance flag for housing and waacking (a disco-driven street dance style that originated in Los Angeles in the 1970s) will be Cricket and Eriko, who host a frequent house dance cypher called The Lab in Manhattan, as well as prime waacking authority, Princess Lockeroo. NYC house legend Todd Terry will provide their musical backdrop.
Evolving out of the gay ballroom scene of 1980s Harlem, voguing and ballroom house has recently made a strong comeback in popular culture. To the sounds of Fade to Mind-affiliate DJ MikeQ, as well as the fierce commentator Kevin JZ Prodigy, a trio of legendary voguers is set to make jaws drop at Bounce Ballroom. A true ambassador of the dance, Javier Ninja represents the House of Ninja, a main staple of vogue since its early days. Dashaun Wesley from the House of Evisu is a master of a dizzying array of duckwalks, catwalks, dips and spins, while Leiomy Prodigy embodies vogue femme attitude, performing effortlessly in all manner of skintight outfits and six-inch heels.
The youngest style in our celebration, Jersey Club has been causing a storm over the last five years. Already a veteran of the breakbeat- and call-and-response-based sound at age 23, DJ Sliink will soundtrack the stage along with his protégée Mike Gip. On the dancefloor, Gip is bringing his young ’n’ hype Jersey squad, including SoSo, Emanni, and artist/rapper/DJ/dancer Fiinesse. Add to that a trio of dancers affiliated with DJ Lilman’s Team Lilman dance team—Ani TL, King Naboo, and Urkle—and you can expect to see the Tip-Toe, the Getty Up, the One Leg Back, the Sexy Walk, and whatever new dances Newark has invented this week.
At Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York’s inaugural Bounce Ballroom night, prepare for a history lesson that your booty will never forget.
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Cricket vs. Meech at House Dance Forever, Amsterdam, 2012
Bones, Dollaz & Samiam Flexing in NY
Baltimore Dancing vs. Jersey Dancing