Raphael Xaviers’ The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching PerformanceSep 20th, 2012 | By Steven Weisz | Category: Artist Profiles
Direction by Ralph Lemon and features Poet Leigh Nelson
A practitioner of hip-hop dance since 1983, Raphael Xavier brings a wide range of experience to the stage. Xavier specializes in breaking, a street dance form he has taught to new generations of hip-hop enthusiasts for years in order to keep its history alive. “As a traditional folk art, it’s important to disseminate hip-hop dance and culture in as many ways as possible,” he says. His new performance, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, is autobiographical and presents a running story throughout, in which Xavier will be both narrator and dancer. Renowned artist and Bessie Award-winner Ralph Lemon will act as dramaturge, helping Xavier to push the boundaries of hip-hop.
TUGTAWP is an original work that deconstructs Xaviers songs/rap lyrics and the art form of Breaking and takes the audience on a journey through the life of a maturing practitioner of the Hip Hop aesthetic. The cadence of the stories/songs allow him to speak to the audience in theatrical conversation instead of performing them in the traditional form of rapping. This acts as an interface between the dance and the
audience, providing insight into the journey they are experiencing, as the title suggests. The text, which includes songs and poetry written over the course of 20 years, help align the project autobiographically. This intergenerational cast and interdisciplinary collaboration creates opportunities for reaching a variety of communities and audiences.
September 22nd 2012 at 2pm; 1515 Brandywine St. in Philadelphia at the Performance Garage there will be a free public presentation of the performance. Open to all ages and genres. All will enjoy. A significant and meaningful component of the work is the allowance of those attend to fill out a questionnaire and participate in the post show discussion. This creates a moment for the audience members to be a part of the building process and also acts as an evaluation for Raphael and the performers. The audience will feel a sense of investment and an understanding that they have helped to structure a work that is important to the artist, his career and the community.
Mr. Ralph Lemon will lead the post show discussion about the process and expectations of the work and audience; explaining how their feedback can enhance the project. The audience will be allowed to critique the presentation and offer suggestions that will act as tools to inform Mr. Lemon and Xavier, of the choices in the final stage of the process.
Ralph Lemon‘s projects expand the definition of choreography by crossing and stretching the boundaries between Western, post-modern dance and other art forms and cultures. For each project, Lemon builds a team of collaborating artists-from diverse cultural backgrounds, countries and artistic disciplines-who bring their own history and aesthetic voice to the work. Projects develop organically, over a period of years, with frequent public sharings of work-in-progress, and the culminating artworks derive from the artistic, cultural, historic and emotional material uncovered in this rigorous creative research process.
Lemon is the recipient of a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Work. In 2006, he was one of 50 artists to receive the inaugural United States Artists Fellowship. He has also received a 2005 “Bessie” (NY Dance and Performance) Award in recognition of The Geography Trilogy; a 2004 NYFA Fellowship for Choreography; and a 2004 Fellowship with the Bellagio Study and Conference Center. In 1999, Lemon was honored with the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts. Among his many teaching positions, Lemon was a 2009 Visiting Artist Fellow at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts and has been artist-in-residence at Temple University in Philadelphia (2005-06); George A. Miller Endowment Visiting Artist at the Krannert Center (2004); and a Fellow of the Humanities Council and Program in Theater and Dance at Princeton University (2002). From 1996-2000, he was Associate Artist at Yale Repertory Theatre.
Mr. Lei is an anomaly. A poet since birth, he has worked performance and production wherever he finds himself in the world, but has never found the time to publish a book of his poetry. He has performed with Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, at Jack’s invitation, with Jack backing him on a piece and has collaborated with other musicians and poets over a vast spectrum of genres and ideas. Mr. Lei currently dwells in the Berkshires and is the Stage Manager at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. In fact, it was at the Mahaiwe that Mr. Lei met Raphael Xavier. It was a brief conversation and sharing of work that exploded in a dance and poetry piece. Mr. Lei also continues to work with the band Higher Organix.
More information at http://raphaelxavier.com/