Friday, July 05, 2013


Last year, I supported a couple of dance-based Kickstarter Projects.  One was the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, the other was Furious BeautyFurious Beauty is a film created by Calving Leung about the non-profit hip hop dance company and organization, Versa-Style.

It took me a while to sit down the with Kickstarter copy of the movie which Calvin sent to me in the mail.  And when I finally did watch it a few weeks ago, I was totally blown away by it.

In Furious Beauty, Calvin documents the history of the dance company Versa-Style, as well as the stories of its individual members.  One of the compelling aspects of this film is the way it follows the evolution of a dance pieceabout the fears of each of the dancers and the way they help each other face these fears.

Given the heavy conditioning that men get hit with to not show fear or really any kind of vulnerability, t was especially interesting to see how the men of Versa-Style came together to talk openly about their fears and then create a dance out of those conversations and feelings.

The other thing about this film that left a big impression with me was how fiercely its leaders, Jackie Lopez (aka Miss Funk) and Leigh Foaad (aka Breeze-lee), mentor the members of Versa-Style, helping both the individuals and the group to move forward together not just as performers but as people with all kinds of strengths and struggles.

If you are an actor, dancer, choreographer, educator, leader of a nonprofit, or any kind of arts administrator, I highly recommend this film.   More info about it can be found HERE.

Here's how Versa-Style describes who they are:

Versa Style is a dance ensemble that consists of young, committed and conscientious artists representing the diversity and beautiful complexity of Los Angeles.

We create highly energetic work that fuses dances that are culturally significant to our community. These forms include Hip-Hop styles such as 90s Hip-Hop, House, Popping, Locking, Whacking and Boogaloo, and Afro- Latin styles such as Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Afro-Cuban to name a few. As a reaction to the widespread media misrepresentation of these dance forms, Versa-Style specifically aims to perform for the youth of Los Angeles to instill the roots, history, and social and political issues surrounding the art of our generation.

Hip-Hop breaks color lines by creating a forum where people come together for a common passion rather than grouping themselves by race or socio-economic backgrounds. Versa-Style demonstrates freedom of expression, freedom of individuality, hard work, self-discipline and dedication to the form.
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