World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Starchild Dance

DANCE ORIGIN: United States
Traci Bartlow
First appearance in SF EDF:

Starchild Dance is named for the African Adinkra star symbol Nsoroma, meaning “my illumination is merely a reflection of God.” Artistic director Traci Bartlow uses African, hip hop, house, praise dance, and authentic jazz dance styles in her choreography. Her mission is to document and preserve black dance and culture while forging new ground to create a unique expression. Starchild Dance Company has performed at the N.Y. Hip Hop Theater Festival; Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival in Oakland; Illadelph Legend Dance Festival in Philadelphia; Black Choreographers Festival - Here & Now; San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Fest, and Central Parks Summer Stage Kids.


Jazz, Lindy Hop, Hip Hop, Get Lite
Skit Skat How ‘Bout That
Traci Bartlow
Traci Bartlow, Ray F. Davis
Valerie Trout
Elandis V. Brooks (trumpet), Ajayi Jackson (drums)

In the tradition of a Harlem Renaissance dance challenge, Skit Skat How ‘Bout That showcases nearly a century of African American urban dance. The Harlem Renaissance was a birthplace of hip-hop dance culture, and dance tells this history with expressive eloquence: in the long continuum of merging and evolving styles and techniques, dances of the jazz age were retained and reclaimed by hip hop and house dance cultures.

Here are some of the elements in this high-energy piece:

Authentic jazz, African American dance forms born in dance halls and jazz clubs of the 1920s era;

Lindy hop, the original term for swing dance, a partner dance done to swing jazz music from the 1920s;

Patting juba, or hambone, a type of African American clapping play from Georgia Sea Islands adapted by enslaved peoples in the southern United States to send coded messages of culture and survival;

The Oakland boogaloo, a street dance born in the afros and bell-bottom era of the 1960’s. This mystical, free-flowing style has fluid waves, animation, and creative illusions;

Locking, a street dance invented in funk and soul party dances of the 1960’s and innovated in Southern California. The dancer briefly locks into position and then relaxes and continues to dance. Fast arm and hands synchronize with the music, while hips and legs stay relaxed;

House dance, from Chicago and New York, with improvised complicated footwork, fluid torso moves, and floor work. People party together incorporating various styles of jazz, African, Latin, soul, and funk dance movement;

Get lite, a street dance born of the new millennium. It’s a continuum of earlier styles: both patting juba and the vernacular dances of the Harlem Renaissance such as toe wop, chicken noodle soup, and the Harlem shake;

Cypher, a cyclical style of freestyle dancing, where each dancer tries to outdo the previous dancer.

The costumes are a mix of fashions from the Harlem Renaissance and today’s hip-hop culture.

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