The Beautiful Street

Popping

Popping Into Spring

Popping, DanceKatie JanovecComment

It is spring time and I am excited to share a new video! This was super fun to dance in. It was a wonderful sunny day and the colors are popping! While I have been training and dancing, I haven't put any new material out in a little while. It is great to see the progression I have made over the past year. 

This was shot by my super talented friend, Conrad at the wonderful new building Fair-Haired Dumbbell. I am all about integrating color into my life and loved having the chance to record a video here before all the retail stores open. Enjoy!

Song by Anna Wise - Some Mistakes

Ladies Be Poppin'

Popping, DanceKatie JanovecComment

“I think dance is a universal language. The dance moves are the alphabet of my body. I speak out loud when I dance, I share my story and explain the complexity which lives in my mind.”
-Tawatha Camilla, dancer, 
What's Poppin' Ladiez?! battle invitee

Connecting with people through movement is THE BEST. Moving with others, seeing others come into themselves, into the music, getting hype with each other or even just talking about dance, feels so authentic to me.

Living in the Pacific NW, the street dance scene is small, but vibrant. I feel supported and challenged by the community and have so much room and support to grow. With that said, female representation is not exactly, many. When it comes to female poppers, I can count them on one hand. 

Last year in Seattle, Angel ‘Moonyeka’ Alviar-Langley responded by creating WHAT'S POPPIN' LADIEZ?!, an event showcasing bad ass women and their skillz. She brought together an international line-up of female poppers, DJs and MCs. Last year’s all female popping 7-to-smoke battle was fyahh!

And that is why I am getting hyped for this weekend. 

This year she is doing it again, bringing an amazing group of women together to create what is going to be another dope event, full of workshops, panels, performances and battles!

This event starts today (literally). So peeps if you are in Seattle or want a reason to be in Seattle, show up. There are events going down Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 28th-30th. Check the page.

I got the chance to catch up with a few of the invited battle guests prior and ask them about their experience as female poppers and as dancers. Check some of their wisdom out below.


How do you celebrate your femininity in popping?

                                                               Pic:  @anthony.artefakt

                                                              Pic: @anthony.artefakt

LILY FRIAS
Los Angeles, CA

"I believe that each woman is different and has a different expression of femininity. For me, I celebrate it by empowering myself, feeling confident and beautiful in my own way and expressing that through my dance. Empowering other females around me as well, empowering being unique as a women and embracing how the presence of a strong female dancer can captivate the room by just being herself." 
IG: @lilyfdc

What or where motivates and inspires you?  

TAWATHA CAMILLA
Rotterdam, Netherlands


"I get inspired when I travel. I always meet new beautiful souls and explore different cultures. I have a strong sensitivity for positive power and I get motivated when I exchange with inspiring people. The biggest source of inspiration for me are my friends. I am a fan of seeing people grow their potential and build on their dreams. Being surrounded with awesome people, motivates you to keep your game up. And for popping, I get inspired by watching OG's dance. They preserve realness and are recognized by their name. By understanding the culture more AND more, I get inspired to keep building on my unique Tawatha style." 
IG: @tawathacamilla

What has helped you progress as a dancer the most?

                                                       Pic: Amira Betar

                                                      Pic: Amira Betar

NILO AMIRI
Oakland, California

"What has helped me progress as a dancer has probably been the community. From getting inspired by other dope poppers around me - both in terms of their talent/skill, and also the work they put into their dance - their encouragement and tips, and the jams they put on. Got a lot of love and appreciation for all of you out there, even if I don't personally know you. I learn a lot from asking questions and observation, and whatever I learn goes back into my own training. Shout out to the Bay especially, for being so good to me over the years." 
IG: @Nilo.Zamiri


Why Dance? 

STEPHANIE 'SCARECROW' SUTTON
Atlanta, Georgia


"Dance is a release for me, I love how it makes me feel, it puts me in my own world, and I love the communities whether it is bad or good. I love the culture and I love this shit, Since I began to do it I couldn't stop.....I love this shit. Why not dance? It’s apart of who I am and it is something I can't give up on. I got this far from carpet floors and a long narrow mirror in a small bedroom where I grew up. I can't back down. My teenage self would be like, “What the hell are you doing?!” 
IG: @stephroou

So, let's gooo! 

I am excited to see these women slay this weekend. These four women are only a handful of the ladies who are in Seattle this weekend. Also invited as battle guests are Sett, Keanna, Clockwork and myself. Judges include Miss Funk, Dora Pop and Lady Beast. Special guest Pandora, DJs Emecks and Toya B, and host Beloved will all be bringing them women vibes hard.

Don't sleep. 

Visit WHAT'S POPPIN' LADIEZ?!

Free yo' self

Dance, Popping, TravelKatie JanovecComment

Today, I am driving up to Seattle for a dance battle. I know, I know! If you’re my friend, you see me go to Seattle on the regular. Approximately 100% of my travels to this city are for dance battles, events or performances. I get a lot of joy out of visiting and grow as a dancer and human each time, so I'm almost always down to go.

While preparing for this short journey, I am remembering my trip from last month and have pics I want to share, and a few thoughts too.

In January, Angel Langley aka Moonyeka invited me, along with Agatron, Angyil Mcneal and Lady Scarecrow (all pictured above), to participate in a SeattleDances performance where she received an award for her event, What’s Poppin’ Ladiez (WPL). The same weekend she premiered the WPL documentary, Battle Grounds: The Hard Hits of Female Poppers.

Dancing with these ladies is beyond inspiring but eating, sleeping, practicing and getting to know everyone’s personalities and quirks is what it’s all about. I love having conversations, vibing and expanding.

 Backstage #1 Me, Angyil Mcneal, Moonyeka, Lady Scarecrow, Agatha (not pictured)

Backstage #1 Me, Angyil Mcneal, Moonyeka, Lady Scarecrow, Agatha (not pictured)

 Backstage #2

Backstage #2

Reflecting on conversations with the ladies, I returned to Portland last month thinking, what does it mean to be free? Specifically wondering, am I holding myself back from free expression. How do my choices in my daily life affect my dance life?

And more recently, I have been meditating on what it means to commit, as a human being, as a dancer, a partner, a new dog owner(!!). Without going into all the details, sometimes commitment is hard for me! Right now, I recognize a new level of commitment in my life and it feels good.

I'm realizing how connected freedom and commitment are. With commitment comes freedom and with freedom comes commitment. So let’s just say, I’m working on both -- being free in my movement and life and committing to my passions.

Excited to see what come from this weekend.

 Photo by  Warren Woo

Photo by Warren Woo

Vancouver Street Dance Festival

Dance, Popping, TravelKatie JanovecComment
 Yoshie Locking Final

Yoshie Locking Final

Whew! It has been a busy summer. I am so excited that I am getting around to writing about my Vancouver Street Dance Festival Experience. Were you there? It was truly awesome and I loved everything about my trip to the city.

Let’s get to it.

Vancouver Street Dance Festival (VSDF) is an all-day free festival in downtown Vancouver, BC, featuring battles, performances, workshops, deejays and lots of dancing. This year, VSDF celebrated its 5th year!

I arrived in Vancouver Friday and after checking into my Airbnb, I went to the battle prelims for the festival. They were held Friday evening with the top 4 winners in each category advancing to the final battles on Saturday. There were 6 categories: popping, hip hop, breaking, waacking, house and locking. I milled between the two rooms battles were held in, battled in popping and took inspiration from the other styles.

Let's get to the LADIES.

Ladies definitely represented in each category with waacking, hip hop and house having the largest number. Popping, breaking and locking had fewer, but overall there were strong dancers (ladies) in each category.

I got to catch up with a few of the ladies participating in the festival and wish I could have spoken with more!

So here are my...

Best Lady Highlights of Vancouver Street Dance Festival!

Kosi Eze - Hip Hop, House, Locking Dancer

Kosi is from Toronto and a fun-loving and giving mover. I saw her prelims and loved her energy and style. I spoke with her in between battles and was excited when she took the W in both hip hop and house. Well deserved. She lays her heart on the dance floor and flourishes in battle.

Clearly, Kosi trains a lot and has progressed immensely over the last 4 years of her dancing career. She said, “I have never been as happy as I am when I dance, ever.” She shared how finding Lady C as a mentor and teacher changed her life. She saw how her dance could have a feminine energy, be powerful, aggressive and emotional. Ultimately, be HER.

When I asked her how she feels women are supported in street dance, she said the community dictates the level of female engagement, which I love. She had just come from Ladies of Hip Hop in NYC where she felt men definitely supported the event and the ladies. She believes, we as women, have a responsibility to put ourselves out there and jump in that cypher, because it is important for younger generations of ladies to see.

And I totally agree.

Watch her VSDF final here!
 

DJ Beaubien - House Deejay

I also got to catch up with DJ Beaubien from Vancouver. She deejayed the house dance battle and plays east coast, soulful, uplifting, positive music with vocals and nice rhythms. I personally loved the music she played and have been listening to her Soundcloud since.

 DJ Beaubien

DJ Beaubien

She began deejaying 4 years ago due to a shortage of deejays playing what she liked to hear - soulful house. As she says, “I was a big fan of the music, first and foremost.” It was a natural transition for her to move from being an avid listener to deejaying herself. While she asked her mostly male deejay friends to teach her how, some were open, but mostly she learned on her own.

We had a great conversation about people who like to go out and dance to house music and people who dance the style of house. Confused? House dance is a style of dance that originates from the music. Within the music (and the dance) are influences from African, jazz, Latin, funk, etc. I love that she said, “I think music is meant to be played loud, on a good sound system, in the dark.” I definitely agree and often want more house dancers (people who dance the style of house) to go out to clubs.

I was excited she closed out the festival with a fun set everyone was groovin' to. I mean really, these dancers competed and cyphered all day long and then danced some more. Her music was good.

Listen to her weekly radio show Saturdays from 7-8pm PST on SpinzFM.com. Check it!
Find her at
djbeaubien.com


MAKING IT TO TOP 16 IN POPPING

I'm going to take a moment to say, I feel really good about making it to the Top 16 in Vancouver and am proud of myself. I am having more battle rounds where I feel I am accurately expressing myself. What more could I want?

Out of roughly 60 poppers, there were a handful of women, myself included. So I feel like I was holding it down for the ladies. 


And Finally...

Hip Hop with Natasha Gorrie

AND Natasha Gorrie! Taking class with her and kicking it post-battle were all super fun. She is incredibly kind, giving and a dope dancer. Her class was so fun, groovy and I need more of it. Hip hop, I’m coming for you.

 Natasha Gorrie Judge Showcase

Natasha Gorrie Judge Showcase

Closing!

Overall, it was a great weekend. Lots of learning, inspiration and feedback that I am still integrating!

Until the next battle...