Monthly Archives: September 2012

LA Weekly reviews The Underground

Mijo, King Charles, Miss Prissy. Photo by Dan Carino.

It was a long, long line that snaked away from USC’s Bovard Auditorium as the sun was setting Wednesday night, a diverse crowd and potential full house of 1,200 waiting to get in for the premiere of The Underground: From the Streets to the Stage.

So while we waited, we talked about what we were going to see: krumping, done live and in a theater.

Krump is street dance, L.A.-born street dance, 10 years old. In the 2005 documentary movie Rize, photographer and director David LaChapelle revealed its edgy wildness to a much larger audience. Here was an angry-looking dance; its participants were proud competitors with one another. The dance was shaped by equal parts frustration and joy, the effort to overcome the hardships of South Central and the creative spirit. A few of the movie’s leading dancers have since made it into the big-time of music videos and concert tours, including Underground performer Christopher “Lil’ C” Toler, who is also a guest judge and choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance.

The Underground was choreographed and directed by another krumping celebrity, Marquisa “Miss Prissy” Gardner, who has formal training in ballet, tap and jazz, but ditched it for street dance. Arts journalist and USC graduate Jessica Koslow (who writes about street dance for the Weekly) fell in love with krump and pushed to produce this first fully staged, theatrical show. …

Read full article at

The Underground on KCRW

KCRW’s Matt Holzman previews “The Underground” at USC on Sept. 5 for Which Way, LA?

In 2005, fashion photographer David LaChappelle made a documentary called “Rize” about a dance style that was born on the streets of LA. Now, two of the dancers featured in the film are taking this raw form of expression and bringing it to a more polite environment. KCRW’s Matt Holzman has more.

The Radio Shack and the bank in this mini-mall in North Hollywood have been closed for hours.  But if you drive-through the Carl’s Jr. on a Wednesday after midnight, you’ll see a group of guys – mostly African-American – standing around in the parking lot.  Most people hurry off with their burgers.   But that’s too bad, because they’re missing something.

A skinny kid in a baseball cap enters the circle, and everyone goes nuts as he punches and jerks… “raw” is the word that comes to mind. …

Read full transcript and hear audio at KCRW’s page

Krumping on Studio City Patch

Xclusive, Krucial and Duece at the 818 Session. Photo: Diane Haithman

Night Moves: Krumping in the 818

On Wednesdays at midnight, street dancers bare their souls at the 818 Session at Magnolia and Vineland. This week, Heidi joined the “krump circle.”

This is our first Krump Kolumn.  That is, a brand new kind of kreation for me and Miss Paws, my faithful kanine ko-writer.

That’s Heidi’s new “krump” name after we were invited to drop in on a little-known ritual that has been happening once a week at Magnolia Shopping Center for more than four years. At midnight, right there at Vineland Avenue and Magnolia Boulevard, in the shadow of Carl’s Jr., Ralphs and El Pollo Loco, magic happens.

No krump dancer turns into a pumpkin when midnight tolls, but what happens here has been a Cinderella story for many. Krump, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is a form of freestyle hip-hop born right here in Los Angeles.  The 818 Session, also known as the krump circle, has transformed the lives of professional dancers and amateur enthusiasts alike who felt confined by the limitation of established dance technique and the walls of the studio.

Most in the 818 Session are pros like Duece and Manny “Xclusive” Fernandez, who says krump allows dancers to “let our emotions out very clearly –we’re not able to do that with other dance styles.  With this, there’s no limit.” Adds Deidra “Krucial” Cooper: “It’s a lifestyle.” Dancers come from all over the city, attracted by the relative safety of the area.

These are the people you see on tour with Madonna or Snoop Dogg, or maybe teaching nearby at the prestigious Millennium Dance Complex on Lankershim Boulevard, dancing here for free. The 818 Session is their sanctuary, where all are welcome including the cops who stop to make sure cruising cars, thumping rap music and aggressive-looking moves don’t mean something bad is going down.  Performers say the peace officers become entranced by the dance.

Read entire article on Studio City Patch