Outreach: “The HeART of Hip Hop” Heats Up the Atlas!

The yellow school buses started rolling up to the Atlas Performing Arts Center around 9:45 on Tuesday morning. Out filed 250 chilly DC students from Stuart Hobson Middle School, Eliot Hine Middle School, Cesar Chavez Public Charter School, Friendship Collegiate Academy, Options Public Charter School, Washington Middle School for Girls, and Wilson High School. Some Hip Hop heat quickly warmed them up!

Students entering the Lang Theater

Every fall, we bring middle and high school students in our Motion Express program to the Atlas for the Motion Expressions concert, “The HeART of Hip Hop.” For one hour, the students interactively explore the world of Hip Hop, its roots, its values, and the elements that make up the culture.

The cold weather was forgotten as soon as DCypher Dance and Life, Rhythm, Move Project brought their signature Hip Hop styles to the stage. Our Resident Arts Partner Life, Rhythm, Move Project performed a mash-up of soccer footwork, world dance traditions, and old-school locking. Our Resident Company, DCypher Dance, opened and closed the show with their Hip Hop video choreography, incorporating popping, tutting, wacking, and voguing. Both companies invited brave volunteers onstage to learn choreography and perform for their peers.

Aysha Upchurch and her Life, Rhythm, Move Project laid out the four principles of hip hop in a rhythm exercise: peace, love, unity, and having fun.

Our Outreach Manager Quynn Johnson and Aysha then traded West African and Hip Hop moves, to demonstrate where many of Hip Hop’s movements are derived from. Malari Moore from Farafina Kan and DJ RBI from Words Beats & Life traded rhythms as the soundtrack for Quynn and Aysha.

Aysha, Quynn, Malari, and DJ RBI

The students went nuts when our guest artist, Beat Ya Feet Kings, was introduced. Beat Ya Feet Kings have been the only crew to represent DC on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. Their own original style incorporates fast, intricate footwork rooted in the rhythms of DC’s own sound, go-go. They brought the house down!

Beat Ya Feet Kings dance to Justin Biebers “Baby”

DJ RBI mixed and scratched in between pieces, to give the students more of a taste of his craft.

Thank you to all our Motion Express funders and supporters for making Tuesday morning’s outreach concert such a success. Major support for this concert comes from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Put March 15th on your calendar now, when our younger Motion Express students will journey around the globe in the spring concert, “Dance Around the World.”