If you're not on our email list, you're missing some of Vince Johnson's personal reverie's on dance. Sharing his latest below:
In operating a school that stems out of African Diaspora traditions, there is one thing that I hope that we all activate in our lives, which is the ability to emote in dance, or even better--Let's call it rejoice. Rejoice shows up in a variety of life circumstances. It can take many forms. In Hip Hop dance, I'll argue that it is as fundamental as bounce and groove. For some, the experience of rapture is tapped into easily. Let's take me, for example. When I first began dancing, "snappin," "getting open," going off," (all synonymous with the occurrence of rapture when dancing) were easier for me than "getting busy," which is knowing your vocabulary and being able to speak eloquently, laying it down righteously. Snapping without getting busy at the same time does't work in Hip Hop, which requires adherence to vernacular and thereby intelligibility. Subsequently, I'll argue that there is a fundamental order of progression in hip hop required to truly transpose into rejoice, which is expressed through this theorem: its first through a rigorous process of sensing one's environment while simultaneously self-examining, self-controlling and deliberating and applying unique concept that one is able to unlock the door for true rejoice within the ritual of hip hop dance. Keep in mind that this order is occurring in the moment of improvisation or dancing choreography. Might sound complicated and that you need to be an expert in order to tap such a state. But the truth is this formula can be applied early in ones practice. You simply must have some grasp of the basics and the ability to move to the beat. The key point is that many of us get our two step to the beat, but never unleash into full rapture. But this experience of ecstasy is there for all of us. We all will know when it happens for you, as it happens in testimony. UMA exists to promote this moment for all who step to the floor.
So that we know more about what this looks like, let's take a look at the clip of Meech and Tasha that I've shared. It's worth taking a closer look from 2:49min to 2:53min. Notice the shift in Tasha's attention. At 2:49 she is smiling from enjoying Meech's round. But when she looks back at 2:53min, it is clear that she is somewhere else. It is important to immediately note that this is beyond her being engaged in performance. She is sensing the environment and transfixing on a variable of sensations. She is locked in by 2:55, all with just simple bounces to the tempo, the basics. Then by 3:00min, she raises more complex technique. Now it is a mix of feeling the external and feeling herself. Lift off into Ecstasy (sans the pill). By 3:27, she is hopping on one leg, flapping her arms like wings. The MC is going "aww shit." Meech is drawing his hands to his chest at the same tempo. Tasha is providing access for the entire room to witness and grasp what she is feeling. At 3:33min there is a magnificent sychronisity of Meech touching his chest as Tasha gives space for herself to stand glorified and in perception of what she is generating. Furthermore, the qualities of this being beyond a plotted theatrical performance exists in the expressiveness of her face. Her facial expression at 3:47min shows where she has landed and what this place is doing to her. She grasps onto the moment, for the expression of the face is both a reaction to what she is feeling and a device for her to sustain and feed her present moment. Meech wants some and successfully takes his own trip on the bridge that Tasha has drawn. The room is pumped not by how cool and sophisticated Tasha's moves were, but by the contagion of jubilee yielded from her public rapture.
UMA is the space for this. Let's recognize so that we can snap and show out more!
VALENTINES VIBES: Bring your Valentine (or just a friend) to select classes 2/11 - 2/17 FOR FREE
For general participants: two for the price of one per class (class card holders can apply one class. this will also work for anyone purchasing a drop in. This special doesn't apply to $40 intro month pass holders)
UMA Members: bring one friend free / per class (keep in mind that the class cards and the $40 intro month are not considered a monthly membership)
See list of eligible classes.Eligible classes:
Urban Movement Arts (UMA) is seeking dancers, choreographers, movement and/or performance artists as Artist in Residence for the summer of 2019. Our summer residency season will take place May - July 2019 at the UMA studios in downtown Philadelphia. We are looking for artists eager to directly engage with our community and challenge the technical, aesthetic, and conceptual assumptions of their genre. This residency offers free studio space, dance classes of the African diaspora/American vernacular, artistic support, and professional videography. There will be a public showing of the residents work, flexible in nature, at the end of the residency.
Who this residency is for:
Dancers, choreographers, performance and movement artists in any/multiple genres. We want to partner with artists prepared to approach this residency as a laboratory space and research process. We are looking for artists willing to get their hands dirty learning production skills of DIY lighting, sound, and scenic design. We will consider artists in graduate school (but not undergraduates.) Womxn, POC, immigrants, and all artists working in intersecting or under-represented disciplines are encouraged to apply. We have capacity for two resident solo artists in summer of 2019. However, we are open to collaborative duos or trios applying as together for one of the two residency slots.
Who we are:
Located in downtown Philadelphia, Urban Movement Arts (UMA) welcomes adults of all ages and experience levels. We guide movers and dancers to develop connection to community and style growing out of Hip Hop, American vernacular, and African Diaspora genres. We are dedicated to supporting strength, flexibility and overall physicality to promote creativity and adaptability in dance and life. Our classes include House, Breaking, Waacking, Hip Hop, Swing Dance, and Yoga. At UMA there is a strong social component of each-one-teach-one. Urban Movement Arts is directed by Vince Johnson. Johnson has toured internationally with Rennie Harris Pure Movement and is an accomplished martial arts coach and competitor. This residency is co-directed by Lily Kind, a producer and promoter of experimental dance making.
The residency includes:
Duos and trios may apply as unit to one of the two available residency slots. Every individual within a duo or trio will receive free membership.
To apply, please submit via email to Lily Kind at email@example.com.
Emails with Subject: 2019 Residency Application: [First Name Last Name].
All attachments as PDFs and named [2019 First Name Last Name].
What is your current movement community/ who are your people?
What is your heritage as an artist?
How do you want to challenge your genre?
What are you trying to shift in your own practice, process, or performance?
What can you contribute to the UMA community?
In case you missed the last Workinonit (works in progress cabaret), the students of Laurel's Dance Fitness and Solo Rhythm Salsa classes put together and awesome surprise for Laurel. In anticipation of Workinonit, Laurel rallied her nearly two dozen of her students, most of whom have never done any kind of latin dance before, to perform three short routines. Not only did all the students bring amazing energy, but, in appreciation of all Laurel has given then, they threw down a sweet surprise: team T-shirts. Laurel had no idea! The shirts read: BOOM BOOM BA! Laurel's scats for half of a salsa basic step. We'll post a video soon with highlights from the whole night.
Check the schedule to sign up for any of Laurel's super saucy, body positive classes!
UMA has a few ways to stay warm as it only gets colder outside.
The classes we added this fall: Locking with Drew Ramsey, B'more Afro House with Sanchel Brown, and Hip Hop with Majesqitue, among others are SWEATY.
There's also a lot to warm the spirit. WORKINONIT, our next works in progress showing is Nov 29 at 9 pm. It's about seeing what different kinds of movement artists within the community are up to, as well as celebrate the progress of our adult students, with demos from different classes. Informal and friendly, BYOB if you fancy, it's cozy vibes.
But really, this blog headline is just an excuse to share this video of excerpts from this summer's Artists in Residence performance. Hot. Hot. Hot.
update: for info on their final showing, visit the Upcoming Events page HERE.
Maddie & Kayla take class at UMA nearly every single day. When they applied for our summer residency, it became clear I needed to create a longer-term program for movers to do some slow cooking of creative ideas alongside their committed training in our classes. As two young women recently out of college and settling into Philly, they also were asking questions about the technical side self producing. They were diligent and excited about helping with other productions in the space, and thinking about dance in Philly at large. Kayla helped run lights and sound for me fringe show with Metal (and had a dancing cameo). Maddie performed at our works-in-progress-cabaret workinonit this past July and has written about UMA and other aspects of dance in Philly for thinkingDance. And so, I present to you, UMA's first Choreographic Fellows: Maddie & Kayla. They will present a full evening performance on Sunday Dec 16 at 7 and 9 pm!
September was FIRE. Philly Kerplop, UMA's in house music and dance ensemble took over LOVE Park, with Chi Chi Chip (Ode to the Gnarly) a bizarre and slap happy mix of virtuosity, social commentary, and goofiness. UMA instructors Lily Kind & BBoy Metal threw down an intimate and intricate double-solo show both heart warming and hilarious. Check out some photos and reviews!
Lots of love for Indestructible Flowers from thinkingDance and The Philadelphia Dance Journal (so many great photos!)