Dance Battle with Urban Artistry
Homegrown Concerts from the Library of Congress, Co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center
FEBRUARY 22, 2017, 12:00 PM, No Tickets Required
Urban Artistry, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland, dedicated to research, documentation, teaching, and safeguarding of urban musical and dance traditions of the DC region and beyond, as well as their respective communities. It was founded in 2005 by accomplished performing artist, historian, and educator Junious Brickhouse.
Through Urban Artistry’s classes in locking, breakin’, Memphis jookin’, and poppin’, as part of urban dance culture, including their musical roots, students not only learn the dance forms, but gain deep insight into their histories and meanings as shaped in the neighborhoods and longtime clubs found in cities and suburbs across the U.S. and around the world. Brickhouse notes that Urban Artistry’s performing artists, from beginner to expert, “serve as cultural ambassadors for communities that are often unsung.” Through their well-known educational programs, such as Funk in Focus, The House That Jack Built, Mainline, and Methods, as well as the International Soul Society Festival and theater productions, they seek to amplify a whole range of traditional music and dance forms as art. They also aim to safeguard senses of cultural exchange, togetherness, and place that keep such forms vitalized for the future.
As part of the AFC’s Homegrown concert series, awe-inspiring Urban Artistry artists will share the rich traditions of their cultural communities in a series of dance battles, set to the beats of DJ Baronhawk Poitier, with Brickhouse as the event’s emcee. Dance battles are a common feature of many urban dance traditions as not just a means of celebrating individual talent, but of promoting cultural exchange and keeping the diverse forms of urban musical and dance expression alive.
Junious Brickhouse, founder and director of Urban Artistry Inc., hails from Virginia Beach, where he learned social dance traditions from family members, developing his talents against a backdrop of 1970s funk and R&B. He feels that this period marks when his commitment to “dance and community service” emerged as a guiding life force. Over time, he has remained committed to the hip hop, house dance, b-boying, popping, locking, tap, waacking, vogue, and West African dance genres and their communities of practice. These early experiences are reflected in how Brickhouse has structured Urban Artistry as an accepting, collaborative, and accessible community, and in his lifelong commitment to share urban dance culture with underserved communities from Southeast DC’s Ward 7 to South Africa and Finland. His work is internationally known and he is recognized as a master in urban dance history and tradition by the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Traditions, through which he has also worked to pass on his knowledge and skills to younger generations.
A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. All concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.