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Hip-Hop, Modern Dance and More

January 29, 2013

The third annual inspireDANCE Festival, organized through the Program of Dance and Movement at the University of Rochester, showcases the rich diversity of dance and movement styles found throughout the community. The festival runs from Thursday, Feb. 14, through Tuesday, Feb. 19.


Launched in 2011 by Arielle Friedlander ’11, as a part of her Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year project, the festival has expanded rapidly in just three years, adding a sixth day and attracting nationally acclaimed choreographers and dancers. This year’s offerings include contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, Salsa, West African, Jamaican, Middle Eastern, Capoeira, T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, and more. A full schedule can be found here.


“We’re thrilled to bring in Illstyle and Peace Productions this year through the support of two national grants. They are a top-notch, internationally touring hip-hop company and Rochester needs to see their amazing and eclectic mix of street styles,” said Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement. “The inspireDANCE Festival is one way to share the creativity of our students and the depth of our program with the larger community.”


The highlight of the 2013 inspireDANCE Festival is the performance and workshops taught by Illstyle & Peace Productions, a Philadelphia, Pa., based multicultural dance company rooted in contemporary and old school hip-hop. Their performance, scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Strong Auditorium, will showcase the troupe’s diverse mix of dance and performance disciplines, including tap, ballet, house dancing, DJing, and beatboxing. Founded in 2002 by Brandon “Peace” Albright and Forrest “Getemgump” Webb, Illstyle & Peace Productions has performed at festivals and venues including the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia and the XIII Annual Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival in Bytom, Poland, among others.


Illstyle & Peace Productions’ residency is supported in part by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by the Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. The presentation of Illstyle & Peace Productions was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Festival Class Passes, which allow participants to attend any of the classes, workshops, and performances, are $18 through Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Common Market in Wilson Commons. Festival Class Passes purchased after Thursday, Feb. 14, are $25, sold at the door. Separate tickets for Illstyle & Peace Productions performance are $5 for students and $15 for the general public, available at the Common Market. For ticket and registration inquiries or more information, call 585.273.5150 or 585.201.1002 or email or


Select Events for the inspireDANCE Festival include:


inspireDANCE Kick-Off Event

Thursday, Feb. 14, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Hirst Lounge, Wilson Commons

The festival kicks off with performances by the University of Rochester’s student dance groups, including D’motions, the Ballet Performance Group, Sihir, Indulgence, and students from the dance program.


Strike. Dance. Rise. with One Billion Rochester

Thursday, Feb. 14, 6:15 to 6:30 p.m., Hirst Lounge, Wilson Commons

During the inspireDANCE Kick-Off event, join One Billion Rising of Rochester to advocate for the end of domestic violence through a flash mob in Hirst Lounge. Participants are asked to arrive at 6:15 p.m.


Illstyle & Peace Productions Hip-Hop Workshops

Friday, Feb. 15, 2:30 to 4 p.m. & 6:30 to 8 p.m., Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center

The Philadelphia, Pa., based hip-hop dance troupe will offer two workshops that explore their eclectic approach to dance and movement.


RAAS Indian Dance

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio

Taught by the University’s Raas Dance group, this class will share dances originating in the Indian state of Gujurat, officially known as “Dandiya Raas.” This energetic, interactive, and ancient dance originated in West India as a way to honor the Goddess Durga at the annual festival of nights called “Navratri,” but has developed into a symbol of the performing arts and a way to express oneself creatively. This form is fast, fun, and physically challenging–prepare to sweat!


inspireJAM: B-Boy Battle/All-style Battle

Saturday, Feb. 16, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center

B-boys and dancers from across upstate New York will battle one-on-one in an all-style battle and a b-boy battle. Featuring Buffalo, N.Y., deejay Sike, the event includes battles between some of the region’s most exciting street artists. For those interested in battling, e-mail Smon Cheewapansri at Prizes sponsored by Red Bull.


Illstyle & Peace Productions Performance

Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m., Strong Auditorium

Founded in 2002, Illstyle & Peace Productions is a Philadelphia, Pa., based multicultural dance company rooted in contemporary and old school hip-hop. Working from an eclectic mix of dance and performance disciplines including tap, ballet, house dancing, DJing, and beatboxing, Illstyle & Peace Productions create a unique new style of hip-hop. I&PP has toured to critical acclaim both nationally and internationally and is committed to delivering a positive message to audiences young and old.


Yoga and Experiential Anatomy

Monday, Feb. 18, 9 to 10:45 a.m., Spurrier Dance Studio

This class will focus on breath awareness and will encourage participants to slow down to experience the subtle movements within that support life and movement. Through the practices of meditation, pranayama (yogic breathing), yoga asanas, discussion, and a resting posture, participants will discover resources for awareness, stress relief, and embodiment.


Movement Masterclass for Actors Workshop

Monday, Feb. 18, 2 to 4:40 p.m., Drama House

Taught by Darren Stevenson of PUSH Physical Theatre, this class is designed to help students become competent physical “movers” and to utilize their bodies as effective communications tools–especially in terms of the theatrical demands of characterization. The class will give performers a wide variety of choices in movement that can be applied to many performance styles. Students will learn a hybrid of movement traditions and approaches, and how to connect those to the artistic process. They will be encouraged to improvise, create, and develop in a way that makes the physical technique relevant to their unique creative voice.


Beginning Modern Dance

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 9:40 to 10:55 a.m., O’Brien Dance Studio

Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement at Rochester, teaches a beginning level modern technique class that will emphasize the development of basic skills. Though no prior training is necessary or expected, students of varying levels will be challenged by this particular approach.

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