His extensive research in the Breaking form has led to the creation of Ground-Core, a Somatic dance technique that gives the practitioner a better understanding of the body within all dance forms. As active Alumnus of the world renowned Hip Hop Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, Xavier’s choreographic dance works (solo and ensemble) have been performed worldwide. Raphael is a 2013 recipient of the Pew Fellowship, and a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
“…Artful and mesmerizing, Xavier transforms a bravado dance style into an introspective meditation.” -Brenda Dixon Gottschild for Dance Magazine
Point of Interest
Raphael Xavier’s new evening work, Point of Interest, is built from solos, duets and trios created over the past four years that culminate in a classically constructed quintet. In this evening work, Raphael explores the sustainability of a highly physical dance form associated with youth.
The piece addresses the notion of sustainability within Breaking - something that is extremely important to Xavier, yet is missing from the form. As a movement practitioner who has been breaking for 32 years, he would like to be an example for intelligent and consistent practice in this highly physical dance form. He is curious about the possibility for sustainability within Breaking, as a mature artist.
Xavier is exploring, both on and off the concert stage, how he can continue dancing at a high caliber as an elder. And he is solo in this effort – there are no elders for him to reference or collaborate with in the Breaking community. All elders in the hip hop community point to artists in other forms, such as rappers who began their work in the 70s. There are Breakers who still exist from that era, but none who are still active within the Breaking community. So Xavier hopes to alter this scenario and extend himself to younger Breakers as an elder and an influential force in the dance community.
Through the creation of Point of Interest, Xavier is venturing further into a mature space for hip hop dance. The piece follows a standard of traditional Breaking aesthetics and pushes the boundaries of this young culture and form. Xavier’s goal is to open doors of possibility for hip hop dance and dancers, and to ambitiously continue to sustain his movement practice in the form.
“I am a performer. I want to discover, break and change things. By definition, ‘breaking’ means to separate into pieces; become inoperative; break down; malfunction and crash. Its success is in taking it apart – if I can take this apart, I have succeeded in Breaking. And this has been evident in my philosophy and practice of the Breaking form since my introduction in 1983.” -RX
The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance
An original work that deconstructs Xavier’s songs/rap lyrics and the art form of Breaking, “The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance” 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, helps align the project as autobiographical. This intergenerational cast and interdisciplinary collaboration creates opportunities for reaching a variety of communities and audiences.
All performances are available with residencies that offer vocal play, camera and video approach to making art, music production concepts, dance, choreography, storytelling. Residencies can be shaped for all ages.
“Xavier’s Guide explores the broader themes of artistic dedication as a total, almost ethical commitment across an entire life, captivating his audience with the impassioned lyrical delivery of a hip-hop artist.” -Jim Rutter, Philadelphia Inquirer
Home of the 5 & Dime
An excerpt from “The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance”, which is an original work culmination of 30 years experience in the art form of Breaking. The work 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 me 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 written over the course of 20 years, help align the project as autobiographical. All performances include residencies that offer vocal play, camera and video approach to making art, music production concepts, dance and choreography and story telling. Ages range from 12 years to college students and adults.
This duet brings to light the natural but painful change of the maturing dancer. The highly physical form of Breaking is used to explore the reality of aging. In this work, the hand and arm movements of the dance are exaggerated to express the common space between generations of practitioners. The movement vocabulary that includes top rock, footwork, and ground technique are used to represent various levels of aging.
Nick of Time
Including original music compositions by Xavier, “Nick of Time” is a duet where the dancers/movers take on Xavier’s Ground-Core movement technique and vocabulary and his method of dissecting the Breaking form. The work follows the rehabilitative methods and ideologies that helped enhance the longevity of a maturing practitioner in the highly physical dance form of Breaking. With a masterful approach to improvisation and technique, Xavier blurs the identity of hip hop and its fundamental street dance dynamics.
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