Sara Bennet is amused to find herself researching hip hop battle rules and regs lately. But it’s not just some internet flight of fancy like some of us are prone to do.
There is going to be a massive battle at the Inaugural Charleston Dance Festival where five local crews will face off September 10th-16th. Being that Sara has organized the fest, brushing up on hip hop-ology is kind of essential.
Festival co-founder and DanceFX director Jenny Broe Price says these dancers are “disgustingly good” and that there is a surprisingly big hip hop culture here in Charleston. In a month, we’ll see it front and center as five crews bring their moves to fight for bragging rights and a cash prize. The audience favorite wins, circa Step Up.
There will be a veritable nexus of dance here at the festival, something that really couldn’t be found outside of Spoleto until now. From African to modern, jazz, ballet and aerial dance, it will all be represented.
“We are going to create a portal so people can walk though it and be exposed to as much as they want,” says Jenny. She calls hip hop the “most human form of dance” and says dancers have been coming in off of the streets since she opened up DanceFX.
Sara was one of those people. Once she found her niche in DanceFX classes, she was then inspired to create the Charleston Dance Alliance, hoping to fill the need and want in our community for more cohesion, visibility and performance venues for local dancers. Her own frustration with not finding adult dance classes that suited her level of performance for so long led to a realization that both dancers and teachers were out there, but perhaps not connecting. After finding 10 dance groups who wanted to perform at Jail Break, which she also helped found, she thought, “I see that you are here and exist in your own niche but the rest of the community doesn’t know about you. How do we make that happen?” Sara made it happen.
Charleston’s dancing denizens will be on full display during the festival’s many master classes for dancers (make sure to hit up a class with our fave Angel Roberts on Sunday), free outdoor performances around the city, and nightly shows at Memminger. A big don’t miss will be a groundbreaking dance/music improv with Entropy Ensemble (Thursday night’s entertainment).
“We are blurring the lines between traditional ideas of dance and audience and taking it to the next level,” says Sara.
Which means you watch, and you dance. Break a leg, Magic Mike.
September 10-16, 2012
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Story by: Dee Dee Arthur
Photos by: Ryan Woolsey