Isolation to Creation

S1 E2 | FULL EPISODE

Beatbox, Modern, Street, Tap Dance and Afro-Brazilian Rhythm

Artists from Missing Element melding beatbox and breaking, flexn, and Krumping; Music from the Sole fusing tap and Afro-Brazilian rhythms; and Alvin Ailey resident choreographer Jamar Roberts and dancers go back into the studio for the first time.

AIRED: February 02, 2021 | 0:29:07
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

Kaatsbaan has space.

Kaatsbaan has outdoor land.

Works & Process at the Guggenheim has

incredible programming that they've been working

and doing for

many many years and so

bringing those two together

we are so excited that we are able to

provide a place for these Bubble residencies.

We're two hours north

Of New York City and yet

it's a completely different world.

And I think that we can

bring world class art and also

develop here within our own community

world class art.

Welcome to the Petronio Residency Center

We're on 170 odd acres of

protected, beautiful forest.

We are intensely proud of it

and we understand how important

it is to begin to integrate the

ecological preservation with

the, um, with the artistic

innovation that we've been, uh,

that we've been committed to

since the beginning of this

retreat.

One of the things I've learned

over the past three years is

that it takes many different

forms of residency to complete

the, the potential of a space

like this, And now we're working

with Guggenheim Works, Works & Process

I get the opportunity of

brushing, brushing shoulders

with the next generation of

creators.

And it's very exciting for me.

And if you don't know what

beatboxing is, it's, uh, the art

of creating music and expressing

yourself with your mouth.

So like,

yourself wit♪ your mouth.

So that's, that's a little bit

of what beatboxing, uh, is. And

that's one of my favorite things

to do.

Me and my friends in the

Beatbox House, we've won all the

competitions, which is really cool,

World champs, Grand Beatbox Battle,

Like, you name it, we've probably

won, a thing, here and there, right?

When people ever,

whenever they see me,

and Neil, and Gene, and Amit, and Ken,

when we're doing stuff together,

or we're doing our solo thing,

they're like, why don't more people know about this?

I can't believe that

this is real, right?

I'm like we're making this stuff up,

we're making it up.

Like, our career

along the way, which is really

exciting. There's something to

be said about that.

exciting. There's something to

Who are your friends,

who are going to, like,

push you to become the

greatest that you can be?

I seek that out because I think there's

a lot of, uh, happiness that

comes from growth.

Where - where you - oh

This art form has gave

given us hope. And like, we know

it can give that to other people,

right? So why not be at the

highest level of performance,

uh, and share that with as many

people as possible. Cause that's

the goal we want to be in front

of as many people as possible,

um, to share this thing, that's

like changed our lives. You know

what, when people see it,

they're like, Oh my God, this is

what, when people see it,

thing I've ever seen. I can't

believe you can do this, but

there's a whole community of

people who do it, you know, we're just,

and, our job as like the

Beatbox House, uh, is to be the

example for the next generation.

Like what is possible?

Anything is possible.

Y'all that's awesome.

Oh thank you.

*ing awesome.

I'm the founder of the Beatbox House

And it kind of happened

organically cause Beatbox House,

is really just my apartment.

And everybody just slept over who

was participating in the

American Beatbox *. No, but I

mean, we just, our group of

friends really enjoyed being

around each other and it consist

of, uh,

Amit Bhowmick

He's very much like our

spiritual center of the group.

There's Gene Shinozaki,

one of the most amazing

beatboxers on the planet.

And then you have

Neil AKA NaPoM, who is, uh,

arguably one of the most famous

beatboxers in the world in

terms of like the battle scene.

And like, he's like a beatboxer's beatboxer.

And then Kenny

he's kind of like the fire and kind

of the heart of, uh, the group.

Um, my job is just like

facilitate. I just bring

everybody together and that's,

and that's the Beatbox House.

You know, we're, we're people of

kind of looking at us as a crew

that kind of put American

beatboxing back on the scene.

It's interesting. Cause it

started here, went over to

Europe, Asia, blew up, everyone

thought America was trash. And

then we went over there as the

Beatbox House, winning all these

like championships. Like it

turned the tide into like, wow,

America is not whack anymore.

And then that could end there,

or go into a different, like,

that's like perfect.

Like I could definitely do stuff like that.

Me and my good friend here,

Sagittarius, Fire Nation,

We'll make magic happen.

I believe it.

I trust everybody every second.

Like I have no doubts, just go ahead

and do it.

My crew, when we were doing

battles. Like we didn't have a

count, like a five, six,

seven, eight, because we saw

other people doing that and we'd

wait for them to start the

routine, and the battle would would be

like five, six, seven, eight.

So we didn't want to do that. We

would come unexpected. We'd do

the one. And then people are,

and then they go, like, it was

just like, uh, based on the,

whatever the DJ was playing.

Yes, there is a structured show,

but the in-betweens or the, the

openness of the creation and the

openness of the, like the, the

moment, some, some things call

for, uh, no structure. And I

think like I have a good, uh,

eye on when and when not to have

it. And I think that it creates

a little uncertainty when I

don't unravel it all at once.

Cause it's something that's self

growing. I just want to show

them as much as I can. That's

what I want them to feel. I want

them to feel like, Whoa, this is

just like, I could look left

right up down, you know, and see

something and take in something

and learn something. That's the

process of how I work too

sometimes. And yeah, just have a

little trust and, and uh, I'm

excited to see how it happens

myself, you know?

Yeah. We, we all bring a

different style more or less.

With Hallow - he's an explosive

Krumper and he brings so much

energy outwards. Like I can't

even describe it. And Klassic is

like, he's been working on this

great number with the Amit and

it's, uh, it's just a story to be told.

And Kilo is kind of

the, the like fifth man in a

way, but in the best kind of

way, he's a great b-boy with a

unique style.

Primarily with the dancers, uh,

we're all a part of

this hip hop world, but we are

all on different blocks, so to

speak, you know, we, the b-boys

don't really mingle with the

flex dancers or the flex

dancers. Don't really go with

the Krumpers per se too much.

Like they may or may not in some

battles in some instances, but

it's like, they're all sect off,

like in their own worlds in the

same city. And it's funny. So

like that idea kind of just came

from that, you know, like why,

why, why is this these like

unspoken borders?

For me and us as a show and how we

understand the, the separation

and that is, this show is

bringing that unity and that's,

to me like a way to find unity

in these times where it's, it's,

we're all searching for a way to

do that. You know.

Now look at this, look at this

beautiful, look at the clouds,

look at everything.

This is magnificent.

This is some beauty.

Boom

It's that tempo.

One, two, three, four,

Too fast

five

Yeah, too fast.

One, two, three, four,

five, six, seven

One, two, three, four,

I am fascinating about layering cultures,

and layering art forms.

Um, and,

I feel like, because I am

trying to, to do that all my

music all the time,

it's inevitable that you can

see, there are many levels into

the one piece that we are trying

to come across.

I feel connected to, to

tap dance because I am deeply

connected to, Samba de sapateado, which

is a form of percusive dance

in Brazil. It really relates to

me, but that specifically type

of music that Greg and I dig

into playing, uh, which is

Tropicalia is a movement that

essentially don't see one form

of art, uh, separate from

others. It always fights to put

everything together, like mix

Brazilian forms with, uh,

classical music forms and like

having this, this huge salad of

culture, but that are actually

talking to each other. It's a

way of, it's a very Brazilian

way of seeing culture.

The magic definitely happens when I'm like,

rehearsal room and we're like,

you know, we're like, we're

getting there, like it's

happening, we're making this thing,

Ah, it sounds really cool,

That's what I'm like the

most excited. And if we can

recreate some of that on stage,

great

Yeah? Okay.

A-one, a-two, here we go, and

Two hits.

Yeah.

Last time.

One, two,

So you're bringing up two guys

have been a crew of five people including me.

Me, as a dancer, um, my husband

with, which is one of the

musicians, which is from

Belgium. Um, and I'm very

fortunate to work with him. Uh,

we have José who is a Cuban sax

player, uh, and Greg, who is my

collaborator and director of my

company too, as well and bass

player. And the other dancer is

Gisele Silva.

Gisle Silva - sorry, I don't know why

I say that in an

English accent. She's Brazilian

as well, but we are looking

forward to like, get this group

of people up there. And like I

said, four countries, five

different people, it's going to

be fun.

One of the things that Leo and I

have been discussing about what

we'd like to see when we get up

there and what we'd like to be

in the new piece is kind of

creating some space for

improvisation. That, I mean,

there's always a lot of

improvisation in tap, but it's

usually like a solo, you know,

it's like sax solo, tap solo,

but we wanted to open it

up to have some space where we

are improvising, but not

necessarily a solo, like

improvising together where

everybody knows, like when we

get to this place, we'd really

don't know exactly what we're

going to do, but here's a little

bit of a structure where we're

going to do it as a group

instead of just being like,

we'll all hold, hold the fort

and you solo, but something a

little bit more close to kind of

putting yourself in that

situation where you're like a

little bit in free fall, but

just trusting each other and

trusting that the audience can

appreciate it. And that'll be

okay.

I learned in the hard way that

it's good for you to come with a

clear mind and like having

not as much prepared, but it

will give you much more trouble.

So pay attention and like try to

not, not create a whole thing or

like create half of a piece

before you go there. Or like

even half. Yeah. Literally have

a piece already set in your

mind. What we are trying to do

is like build a couple of

building blocks, uh, which is

not really different from the

process that Greg and I, and

with the other musicians, the

way that we've been working

before, and we are trying to do

like little, little, little,

little building blocks to, to

get there and like expand those

ideas more and more.

One of my main objectives is

always to find beauty in that thing.

For me, I think it, it

does the work that I feel that

art is supposed to do, which is to

inspire, move people, and to sort

of get them to, to sort of like

to create a type of mirror.

I basically try to create, try to have there

be no separation between myself

and the work.

I first start with, um,

looking at myself,

looking at myself, uh, from the

inside and from the outside,

looking at my past, looking at

my lineage personally, and the

lineage of let's say the Ailey Company

where, you know, I've

been dancing for the past 17

years and really sort of

interrogate. Why is it that I'm

there? Um, what sort of draws me

to the place where, where does

the love come from? Um, and so

in this way, as I'm like sort of

digging backward, I'm also kind

of learning more information

about myself and my culture and

moving forward in that way. And

then sort of adding what I have

discovered into my work and at

the same time,

Sort of standing very firmly in my

present and what I'm feeling now

in this moment.

One, two, three, four, five.

Seven is probably here.

Seven is probably here, eight is probably,

back.

Um, so, don't go, um,

arms.

But go head.

Shaking. Shaking.

I mean, there were so many

moments in between the time I

stepped in the doors of Ailey up

until now where I, um, just

didn't like... I didn't know if I

liked dance. I didn't know if I

loved dance and you know, it had

nothing personal to do with the

company. I think it was just all

my, my, my feelings about,

where it was and how quickly I

got there, you know? 18 is when

I got there. This is the time

where kids are normally, like, I

don't know.

But it was all in an

effort to sort of find not so

much what it is that I wanted to

do, but just sort of find the

clincher, like what, what, what

was the thing that was going to

like ground me, or really root

me in something, anything really.

Probably when I was like well

into the company, maybe for four

years, four or five years until

the Ailey Company.

years, four or five years until

around and moving around myself,

sort of like doing my own thing,

uh, in between rehearsals, uh,

in the back of the room when I

wasn't being used in rehearsals.

Just always sort of thinking

about, um, creating movement. I

mean, not so much because I was

trying to be a choreographer. I

was just trying to gain access

to, or agency over my own body.

Robert Battles, my boss over at

Alvin Ailey saw a couple of

works that I'd done and

eventually asked me to set my

first piece in the company. And

from that moment on,

with things, stepped into another stream,

like, you know, pushed me

forward and, uh, it's been

great. I mean, it's been great

to, um, solve all these riddles.

I kind of see each piece is like

a new puzzle that I am both

building and like the master of

it, but I'm also like the player

at the same time.

It's very strange.

Five, six, seven, eight.

Oh! I just broke the house.

I just broke the house!

I just broke the house!

My dancers are

Ghrai DeVore Harrison

Jacquelin Harris,

Brandon Woolridge,

and Patrick Coker.

There are four Ailey dancers,

they all have this drive. I

think they're all very smart.

Um, they learned very quickly so

necessary for this, uh,

particular project. And, um, I

think that they're very

interested. And when I say

interested, I mean, like, I know

that if I say, come with me in

this really crazy direction, or

they're interested, they're

this really crazy direction, or

know, they're very open

essentially is what I'm saying.

And that's why I chose them.

They all have their own style

and their own way of speaking.

And I like their style.

Lower, and I'm

putting a lot of space on this side of the frame.

So if you can feel like, you're like,

speaking to

the trees over there

that would be great.

The Petronio Residency Center,

from what I see

there's a lot of outdoor space,

you know, you're sort of

surrounded by trees. Um, and for me,

I, I've never really cared

about, um, the environment of

where I make the dance, like

the, you know, the physical

environment have to me, I've

just been like, just give me

space, just like clear the floor

and then I can do anything that

I need. So, um, I'm really

expecting to have a different

experience, um, in that space to

really sort of, kind of feed off

of what that openness feels like

and what, um, sort of, uh, being

in commune with nature, how that

will sort of affect the work.

I'm kind of afraid of it as

well. Like I've never, I don't

think I've ever worked in a, in

a space, so nature-y,

I feel so excited.

We've been texting each other like

"Can't wait to see you!"

In the flesh.

Yeah, because, we're, we're

family, I mean,

we've known each other for so long.

That we can be there at the same time

to share this very very very

unique moment together

feels like it makes sense.

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