World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Housin' Authority

DANCE ORIGIN: United States
GENRE: Hip Hop
DIRECTOR: Kory Watkins
First Appearance in SF EDF: 1996

Birthed from the multi-cultural soils of the United States of America, hip-hop is a cultural movement that first arose in African American and Puerto Rican inner-city neighborhoods of New York City in the 1970s. It includes rap music, break dancing, graffiti art, as well as an associated dialect and fashion. Even in its early years, hip-hop has a fascinating history of overlapping layers with specific terminology describing each dance style.

A “break” is the hardest driving percussive section in a song recording. This section is also considered the most danceable and DJs began extending these “break” sections using two turntables and a mixer. In hip-hop dance styles, a “break” describes movements of great intensity. “Battles” are events formed in an open circle where performers, “b-boys” and “b-girls," take turns showing off their style and technique, usually performing their most difficult moves.

Originally performed at neighborhood block parties and in dance clubs, there were several precursors to the label “hip-hop” each from distinct neighborhoods around the country. New York’s “b-boying,” “breaking” and “uprocking,” California’s “popping” and “locking,” and a host of other dance styles all became known, once they hit mainstream media in the 1980s, as “hip-hop.” Among practitioners, however, they are still seen as distinct styles. Break dancing has influences from African and African American dance and later incorporated elements from martial arts, jazz, and other ethnic dance and art forms. Youth from around the globe have become so excited and intrigued by hip-hop that at least 37 countries now have their own hybrid form.

Formed in 1991 by a rotating cast of Richmond, CA, based boys from Filipino, Samoan, African American and Native American heritages, the group members are proud to never have studied dance or stepped into a choreography class. Nonetheless, several members now work as dance teachers, film actors, and even designers and choreographers for celebrities, such as Jennifer Lopez and Madonna!


TITLE OF PIECE: Ethnic Classic
DANCERS: Super Dave, Kato, Kidd, Da Jammer, Liquid, Omega, Wally Sparxxx, Flii Stylz, Rich & Tone

Housin’ Authority is recognized for their purer, less commercialized underground hip-hop style that encompasses b-boying, popping, locking and freestyle, consciously leaving out balletic leaps and jazz turns. As a tribute to their first Festival appearances in 1996 and 1997, which put Housin’ Authority out of hunger and onto the international map, the group re-ignites some of its previous inspirations. They also honor their 15th Anniversary, and the fact that due to individual touring schedules, they have not been able to perform together in the Bay Area since 2001. The Ethnic Classic incorporates hip-hop, break dancing and martial arts into a choreographed and freestyle structure performed to homemade music mixes.

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