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Break Dancing at the Hip-Hop Festival

Local break dancers “Toyz” (left) and “Stray Cat” battle at the Millennium Stage in the Kennedy Center. Olive Dance Theater choreographer Raphael Xavier hosted the battle and last night’s performance.

Today marks the third day of the free Hip-Hop Theater Festival, which continues until Saturday. The Olive Dance Theater group came to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Tuesday night as part of the annual festival. Parents, children, dance and hip-hop aficionados crowded in front of the stage with snacks and water bottles for the hour-long performance.

A short film, 83, about Olive’s choreographer, Raphael Xavier, kicked off the event. In between clips of his dancing, Xavier describes how he got into break dancing, embraced hip-hop culture, and blended it with other styles and movements including BMX flat-land bike riding—a style of riding in which the rider “dances” with his or her bike. Next, Xavier performed a modern-dance piece while a video of his previous performances played in the background.

Then Washington-area break dancers, along with a dancer from Switzerland, took the stage. Performers were paired up to compete with one another while the audience and other dancers cheered them on. After several rounds between dancers—with names such as Overdrive, Atomic, and Gray Matter—Toyz was crowned the champion after battling Stray Cat. Xavier and another local break dancer, Ironman, were the judges.

The festival continues through Saturday, July 14, with other dance pieces, poetry performances, and more, including a round table discussion on hip-hop culture on Thursday. For more information, visit