Authors: Chadwick Gaspard
Faculty Mentor: Trent Williams
College: College of the Arts
Hip Hop is a cultural phenomenon that is constantly evolving and has made a worldwide impact in a short time. While it continues to change Hip Hop at its core remains the same. Victor Quijada artistic director of the Rubberband Dance company posed the question of “What more could Hip Hop be”. With those words in mind the focus of my research is to examine the movement and concepts/ideologies of the breakdancing subculture of Hip Hop; in order to create a fusion with contemporary dance. As such a brand-new system of movement with its own concepts and life could be created. The dance world is continuously shifting, and different skill sets, as well as ideologies, have been valued at different times and places. This exploration will challenge the mainstream ideals of what is currently considered “technique” and “foundation”.
Key words: Hip Hop, Dance, Contemporary, Performance, fusion, breakdance
I really admire the seamless integration of hip hop and contemporary movement! What made you decide to choose the topic of insomnia to portray?
Thank you! The idea of insomnia popped up in my head because around that time I was really struggling with sleeping. My whole sleep schedule was messed up and I would be struggling to fall asleep. Also because of the work I had to do for my major and keeping up with other extracurricular activities I did not leave time for sleep.
Wow, this performance was absolutely stunning. May I ask the metaphor of the papers surrounding you slowly becoming more hectic and scattered as you danced. I assume it is symbolic of the effect that insomnia can have on the mindscape, but I would like to know your perspective on it.
Once again, amazing performance!
Thank you so much! The paper was used to symbolize the idea of nightmares and negative thoughts entering the headspace of an individual. I also used to add visual flair as well as giving another way to add dimension to my movement through interaction with it.
Hi Chadwick! I think that this dance was very successful, I just wish that the original audio was possibly mixed in so that I could also hear the small sounds of hitting the ground or the paper fluttering. I’m not too well versed in the performing arts so I cannot make specific comments on that but I think that the fusion was very successful and I hope to see more of it from you as well as others in the performing arts.
Thank you for the comment and feedback! I will definitely keep things like that in mind for future projects and dance films.
This performance is absolutely beautiful! What was your favorite part of conducting this dance?
Thank you! I think my favorite part had to be going through multiple takes of filming. All of the movement was improvisation so, whenever I finished going through one take, I would have to set different intentions and adjust my mindset and go in as essentially a different person tackling the same material for the next take. Seeing the results of every different “persona” was really interesting and fun for me.
Thank you! I would have to say doing the different takes was my favorite part. Everything I did was improvisation so whenever I would go into the recording I would set different intentions for every take. Essentially I had a “different persona” every time we recorded and watching the results and different choices I made each time was really fun.
I like how you are playing with the concept of darkness, not only as a film technique for focus but also as a metaphor about the unknown and struggle. I also am interested in the concept of the paper, can you speak about it please?
Thank you for the comment! Before I even knew what the dance was going to be about I knew I wanted to use paper because in our dance department a friend and I would use paper for many dances and performances we would make and it sort of became a running gag. As I got further along with my process the paper took on the idea of nightmares and negative thoughts penetrating the human mind.
I love this instrumental of this song. The contrast of the black room and the white papers adds to the video overall, it’s quite beautiful.
Hi Chadwick! Amazing video and love the story you created in the video! It really provoked an emotional meaning. How did this change your perspective of hip-pop dance in today’s society? As you mentioned it is a constantly changing field. Like design, fashion, and art, it all has a period of change throughout the different eras. So what makes hip-pop dance in today’s society different from the other periods?
Beautiful video! I loved the way that the camera moved as it recorded you rather than staying in one place, I think it added to the atmosphere and theme of insomnia that you were portraying nicely!
Thank you! I was happy and grateful to have a videographer help me out to nail the storytelling aspect of the video.
Beautiful work! The emotion that you express in your movement completely immerses the audience in your message.
Great work! I really enjoyed the camera work as several other comments have mentioned. I felt like it really added to the emotion of the whole performance.