Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hip-hop dance meets classical poetry in LA June 7

Hyperkinetic hip-hop dance meets classical epic poetry
Illuminated Manuscript

Hip-hop interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh by
Antics opens summer season at Ford Theatres

Friday, June 7 @ 8:30 pm

Hyperkinetic hip-hop dance meets classical epic poetry when Antics opens the summer season at the Ford with a hip-hop dance theater interpretation of the ancient Mesopotamian poem “The Epic Of Gilgamesh.” Illuminated Manuscript, choreographed by Antics artistic director Amy Catfox Campion in collaboration with the dancers, takes place on Friday, June 7 at 8:30 pm at the Ford Theatres in Hollywood.

What if dance were like handwriting, with bodies tracing words in space and movement revealing profound truths? Through the art of street dance and multimedia theater performance, Antics blurs the lines between the past and present with their vibrant interpretation of the world’s first narrative. Ten dancers portray key characters from the ancient Mesopotamian poem, bringing the tale of King Gilgamesh, who seeks to have power over all — his people, the gods, even death itself — alive on stage against an exciting backdrop of graffiti-inspired visuals and animation, and to the dynamic beat of an original soundscore.

“‘Giglamesh’ is one of the oldest stories in existence yet it resonates with our journey in hip-hop culture,” says Campion. “Like King Gilgamesh, a street dancer’s goal is to make a name for himself, to create an identity. In the end, the high walls that Gilgamesh built were his legacy. Walls are also the legacy of graffiti artists.”

The company of award-winning, virtuosic hip-hop dancers, breakers, krumpers and poppers includes Gilyon Gillatine Brace-Wessel, Amy Catfox Campion, Liliana Frias, MikeShockwave Hummer, Curtis “Creez Jones, Lisa Kapchinske, John “Random1Molina, Cyrian Reed, Amida Shofu the Beatdown Shofu, Garvin Gyroe Tran andKirlew “Bliss Vilbon.

Original music is by Amy Catfox Campion, Asa Watkins, Jay Vega, J-Alphamus andAmida Shofu the Beatdown Shofu; graffiti art is by Gilyon Gillatine Brace-Wessel; animation is by Sapphire Sandalo; and lighting design is by Jim Smith.

Arrive early to dine, wine and unwind: the theater grounds will open at 6:30 pm for picnicking (wine and beer permitted), and concessions will be available for purchase. Enjoy the music of DJ Drez who will spin records on Edison Plaza, peruse hip-hop merchandise or pose for a photo against an Antics graffiti mural.

The culture of hip-hop was born at block parties in the South Bronx in the 1970s, where DJ Kool Herc would mix samples of existing records with his own shouts to the crowd and dancers. Considered to be the “godfather” of the art form, Herc built upon the Jamaican tradition of impromptu toasting, boastful poetry and speech over music and the rapping of the griots (folk poets) of West Africa. This rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay became known as MC'ing and would later lead to rapping. Herc also developed “breakbeat DJ'ing,” extending the breaks of funk songs — the part most suited to dance, usually percussion — by looping breaks on two turntables. He dubbed his dancers break-boys and break-girls, or simply b-boys and b-girls. Street gangs were prevalent in the poverty of the South Bronx, and much of the graffiti, rapping, and b-boying at these parties were artistic variations on the competition and one-upmanship of the gangs. Sensing that gang members’ often violent urges could be turned into creative ones, Afrika Bambaataa founded the Zulu Nation, a loose confederation of street-dance crews, graffiti artists and rap musicians. By the late ‘70s, the culture had gained media attention.

Antics artistic director Amy “Catfox” Campion overlaps street dance, poetry, film, graffiti art, DJ’ing and MC’ing to create moving visual metaphors. Her work has been presented at the BGirl Be Festival in Minneapolis; the San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest; the Ford Theatres, the Music Center, the Skirball Cultural Center and REDCAT in Los Angeles; the Esalen International Arts Festival; and on KCET, amongst others. In 2011, she directed and produced Pursuit, a short dance film created for DancesMadeToOrder.com that was featured at the Dance on Camera Festival at the Lincoln Center in New York as well as in several other festivals nationally and internationally. She has been b-girling and training Capoeira for over 13 years and also studies hip-hop, house dance, locking, popping and salsa. Amy received an MFA in Choreography from UCLA in 2006, and since then she has taught at Cal State Northridge, El Camino College, Cerritos College, the Boys and Girls Club and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. She has received awards from the Durfee Foundation and the Flourish Foundation, participated in the Emerging Leaders Institute at APAP and in the LA Dance Advance initiative in 2011/12. In 2012, Campion was awarded a fellowship at the Instituto Sacatar in Bahia, Brazil to produce and direct a short dance film, “Street Dance Orixás” which is currently in post-production.

Antics creates multimedia urban dance performances that incorporate breakdancing, locking, popping, Capoeira, DJ’s, spoken word, theater and film into hand-clapping, foot-stomping performances. Antics is committed to innovating the realm of hip-hop dance theater as well as participating in community outreach through residencies, workshops and lecture/demonstrations.

Illustrated Manuscript takes place on Friday, June 7. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 8:30 pm. General admission is $30; full-time students with ID pay only $15, and children ages 12 and under are $12. VIP tickets, which include preferred seating, a gift bag and a meet and greet with the performers, are available for $75. Purchase tickets on or before May 31 and save $5. Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673(for non-visual media 323 GO 1-FORD). To learn about discounts for groups of 8 or more, please call 323 769-2147.


The Ford Theatres is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood, CA 90068, just off the 101 Hollywood Freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and south of Universal Studios. The grounds open two hours before showtime for picnicking. The Ford offers a number of dining options: a variety of food and beverages is available on site and box dinners for evening events may be ordered in advance. Patrons are welcome to bring their own food and drink. The Ford is disabled accessible. Portable wireless listening devices are available upon request. On-site, stacked parking costs $5 per vehicle. FREE non-stacked parking serviced by a FREE shuttle to the Ford is available at the Universal City Metro Station lot at Lankershim Blvd. and Campo de Cahuenga. The shuttle, which cycles every 15-20 minutes, stops in the “kiss and ride” area.

This event is part of the Ford Theatres 2013 Summer Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. For a complete season schedule, directions to the theater and parking information, log on to www.FordTheatres.org.

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