Distilling the art of breaking to its purest form, Raphael Xavier (pronounced ZAH-vee-ay) takes this movement vocabulary to uncharted territory. Expanding both dancer and audience expectations, Xavier has forged an exceptional approach to improvisation, clearing the path for those interested in breaking as an artform. A multifaceted creator who draws inspiration from his many talents in dance, music, photography, and writing, Xavier’s original works are a transcendent mix of poetry, precision and spontaneity.
PREMIERING Fall 2024
Running time: 60 minutes
Conceived and Directed by Raphael Xavier
Forty years as a practitioner of the form, an aged Breaker will set out far beyond shallow perspectives in search of “The Big Fish.”
Skiff is a new, evening length work for two. 53 year old Breaker and choreographer, Raphael Xavier contextualizes the work through the lens of Earnest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” the classic novel about a fisherman’s relentless battle with a giant Marlin. Xavier creates original text and spoken word to be interwoven with Hemingway, drawing parallels between the fisherman’s search and his own journey to build a dance career utilizing the artform of Breaking. Skiff features elements practiced by Xavier, merging story telling, rap, spoken word and Breaking, to examine the psychological effects of performing.
In addition to the novel, Skiff also draws inspiration from 19th century American painter Winslow Homer’s “The Gulf Stream” the iconic painting of a Black man in a small, rudderless fishing boat engulfed by a restless sea as sharks circle below. The powerful imagery aligns with Skiff’s exploration of the male body, race, identity, privilege and power while encouraging conversations of identity, legacy and lineage.
Skiff features a transportable set constructed of white spandex panels, that create abstract shapes and designs specific to the story. Those shapes double as projection screens to put the audience as close to the story as possible, immersing the viewer into the work.
The transportable set allows for Skiff to be performed in galleries and intimate spaces as well as traditional proscenium stages.
THE XCOPE (2021)
Running Time: 40-55 minutes, flexible to presenter’s needs. (Performed with live music)
Directed by: Raphael Xavier
Choreographer & Performed in collaboration with: Raphael Xavier and Local Performers
Music by: Tim Motzer
Local Performers audition and join Xavier in the creation process and performance.
A site-specific performance combining a live musician/vocalist and electronic technology with hip hop aesthetics that include Breaking, poetry, spoken word and rap cadences with an improvisational and intuitive approach. THE XCOPE embodies the experiences of each performer to create narratives – capturing a moment in time shared by performers and audience. Xavier offers a multi-day residency option where local performers in music, dance and/or poetry audition, rehearse and perform alongside Xavier to create a one-of-a-kind event with deep community engagement.
Technology: Zoom or other live streaming platform provided by presenter.
Company requires Presenter to provide virtual stage manager to run virtual activities. A tech rehearsal before every event with the virtual stage manager is required.
The company can adapt activities to meet the needs of each presenter/theater and their respective communities.
VIRTUAL MOVEMENT WORKSHOPS
Raphael Xavier offers movement classes for Dance Departments or Community Organizations in: Breaking, Ground-Core (Xavier’s somatic dance technique), and Freestyle/Improvisation. Classes may be tailored and adapted as needed.
25 Students max.
60 minute zoom class plus 15 minute Q&A with Raphael Xavier.
A seasoned breaker, choreographer, performer and mentor, Raphael Xavier shares his breadth of knowledge, skill and experience with students, artists and non-dancers alike. Following is a sample list of offerings. Activities and workshops can be tailored and created in collaboration with presenter.
THE XCOPE Creative Residency with Local Performers Learn how to build your own creative toolbox! The Creative Residency with Local Performers for Raphael Xavier’s THE XCOPE, gives local performers an opportunity to learn and work under the direction and mentorship of Xavier. The residency begins with local performers auditioning to be a part of the public performances of THE XCOPE. Local performers may include hip hop and contemporary dancers, spoken word artists and musicians. Once selected, participants will engage in a multi-day residency and rehearsal. Performers will learn how to tap into and build their “creative toolbox,”working collaboratively with fellow performers while contributing their unique talents, under the creative direction of Xavier, for a one-of-a-kind public performance of THE XCOPE.
Master Classes Rooted in Xavier’s own Ground-Core technique (a somatic dance technique) this class allows each participant to identify and strengthen his/her own core, and gain an awareness of how it shifts and moves throughout space. Various breaking movements are deconstructed and then taught to participants. Master classes can be tailored to the participants’ ages and dance capabilities/training. By making this movement accessible to any body type, the class introduces a new movement vocabulary to the practitioners, giving them a better understanding of the body in all dance forms. Running Time: 60-90 minutes.
Artist Talk/Panel Discussions on identity, hip-hop culture and black identity in the media available.
Pre and post-performance discussions available upon request.
"...taking the breaking art form to a new level of expression."
Boston University News Source
“Top 10 of the Year in Dance”
Boston Globe (2016)
“The star here is Xavier. He can still flip from his back to his feet, but the point of interest, as it was in 2016, is how, easy and accomplished, he manages to look like the Baryshnikov of breaking.”
"the language of B-boying starts to speak, and through the body of a man who’s been doing it for nearly 40 years."