The Beautiful Street

hip hop

Supporting Homeless Youth through Street Dance Performance

Performance, DanceKatie JanovecComment

There is nothing much closer to my heart than dancing for and supporting one of my favorite nonprofit’s → p:ear. “p:ear mentors Portland’s homeless youth to affirm personal worth and create healthier lives and communities.” Ever since I completed an internship with them in 2012 (OMG!) when I was getting my Bachelors, I have been hooked. Meaning, I will forever love them. They create a space for youth who are looked down upon in society, providing access to art, recreation, hiking, bike-building, barista school, GED prep and housing, to name a few. Over the years, I have returned to volunteer for their annual fundraiser. If you have ever attended a large fundraising event before, it is pretty moving to see people lift their bidder paddles and donate thousands of dollars! Thank you people. You are cool.

This was the second year, I was able to organize a group of dancers to perform at the annual fundraiser, p:earblossoms. The theme was Rights of Passage and celebrated p:ear's 16th year! The Development Director, Pippa Arend, wanted us as dancers to represent the homeless youth they serve. I knew I had to loop in my Krump dancer friends as they are so good at sharing their raw energy and emotion. Together, we created three pieces, one that was more light-hearted, joyful, fun, the second that was raw, deep, sad, and a third that showed strength, empowerment and will. 

I am grateful for this opportunity to create and excited to continue partnering with p:ear!

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Aren't we cute? 

All pics (except the last photo) by Cheryl Juetten

 

 

 

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...

Reverence

Hip HopKatie JanovecComment
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I. Am. Sleep. Deprived. What a great time to write then, eh?  I am currently en route back to Portland and believe I just had the worst airplane sleep ever—as in maybe I slept two hours on an overnight flight.  This is also coming off of a weekend of 5-hour nights.  ¡Que malisimo!

Anyway, what can I do?  It's just part of the ups and downs and turns of life. (Note to self: Take a sleep aid next time.  How could I forget this?)

Yesterday, as my flight took off from Buenos Aires, I quietly began to cry as I watched the expansive city lights fade away.  All of a sudden my lengthy trip, was over.  My friends asked, when are you going to return?  I barely have the next 4 months planned out, so of course I had no answer for them.

I think back to my memories and experiences in Buenos Aires, the people I met, the streets I walked, the dances I shared, the emotions I felt, and I know that I've changed and learned and grown.  But it is difficult to put my finger on just how that works into my returning life in Portland.

Today, I want to leave you with a female emcee that I've been listening to lately.  This is Reverie from L.A.

This lady speaks her truth and I respect that.  I don't share in a similar life story, but I see this lady open to change and growth.  And that I can vibe.

Peace.

Enjoy.

#niki #hiphop

DanceKatie JanovecComment
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As I'm slowly getting the hang of this blogging thing I one, really enjoy it and two, find that I need more time to prepare my stories/interviews.  So while I have future posts in the works, today I will do a bit of a throw back to that one time I took a hip hop class from Niki Awandee. Do you know her?  If you are a dancer, possibly.  If not, not so likely.

This lady is a hip hop dancer from Sweden with a light-hearted, but vibrant energy.  She is a member of Soul Sweat Crew and is well known for winning (with her partner, Martha)  Juste Debout Hip Hop World Championship in 2011. But since then has continued growing, battling, and teaching internationally.  She was part of a dance camp in Uruguay and local dancers in the Buenos Aires Beat Crew were able to get her over here to Argentina to teach a class (Uruguay and Argentina are a quick boat ride away, btw).

(Now what am I doing in this photo?;)

The class was full and somehow I landed a spot in the back (dangit!).  Still, I enjoyed every minute of it. The majority of the class was spent on drills and variations of specific steps.  I appreciate that Niki steered clear of choreography but instead demonstrated multiple movement options with each step.  I feel that this puts the dance in the student's hands for future exploration.

It's as if she is saying, what can you do with your freestyle and with these steps? Go do it.  How many ways can you move forward, right, backwards, and left? Countless.

Niki had us drill movements leading with our shoulders, utilizing undulations or sharper angular motion, for example.  Meanwhile she doled out encouraging words with a smile, all the while highlighting the importance of embodying all aspects of the music.

Overall, I left feeling uplifted and properly worked.

Also happening is this documentary of Niki and Martha.  The trailer was released 3 years ago BUT, I just saw that the documentary was shown at a film festival a few months ago.  I believe it is still yet to be released to the general public.  Tora Martens, the director, has followed these two for the past 5 years and clearly shows their connection to each other and to the dance.  I love this trailer.

Have a good weekend babes!

Photos by Adelphos

Rain & Roller

Katie JanovecComment
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Today, I woke up, listening to the rain, drifting in and out of sleep. I eventually rolled over, looked at my phone and realized I had five minutes until my Spanish class.  Oops!  I jumped out of bed and was shortly on the bus, but maintained my tranquil beginning, and integrated it throughout my day.

My boyfriend, Jung, left to return to the States yesterday.  And my girl, Lindsay, who was supposed to arrive last Friday, couldn't get here due to the volcano popping off in Chile. Flights were cancelled for days.  Boo.

So I find myself alone and it just so happens that today, it is very cold.  And when I say cold, I mean it feels like a Portland, OR, day here.  I decided to take this day completely to myself, which I now remember is easy to do when it is gray, rainy, and I am lacking a proper umbrella.

Now, I am at my favorite coffee shop, LAB, which is currently being struck by the 6 o'clock crowd.  It is very common for Argentines to have a coffee and a pastry at this hour, as dinner is later in the evening.  I thought that perhaps today I would share a few pics and moments that I have had here in Argentina.

This is Jordana.

I stopped and talked with this sweet lady while I was walking in one of the amazing parks here in Buenos Aires.  It appears that rollerblading is actually a widely accepted past time. I feel like rollerblading is uhhh, possibly dorky in the United States, unless you're by a beach town?!  I love rollerblading and remember skating to the corner store in Portland last summer to buy some hard cider.  I was not the coolest cat but now recognize I'm not a nerd everywhere.  As she was the only chica rollerblading with these dudes, I asked her if a lot of women rollerblade here and she said yes, although not as many participate in competitions.

And then these girls.... They are just too cool; I had to take a picture of them.

I mean seriously, look at them.  The shorts, their colors, the actual roller skates?  These girls are totally rad.  I saw these girls at a skate park which is located inside one of Buenos Aires modern day fairgrounds. These girls are holding it down with the traditional skates!  I am thinking skates are making a come back and maybe, I don't even know about it.

And lastly, opposite of the skate park was this building.  A building completely dedicated to the elements of hip hop.  While I took this pic of my friend, Sorcha, there was a breakdancing class happening inside, graffiti on the walls, and an interview playing of an MC.

Just a sneak peak into my Buenos Aires experience.