Hip hop duo defines dance through Innaviews
Full Circle dance duo Anita Garcia (a.k.a. Rokafella) and Gabriel Dionisio (a.k.a. Kwikstep) perform their new show, "Innaviews," at the Dance TheaterWorkshop Jan. 11- 14.
By Sara G. Levin
One of the characters portrayed by Anita Garcia (a.k.a. Rokafella) in Innaviews at Dance Theater Workshop this week, is a Ph.D.-touting dimwit named Yvonne Dnoshet (just say it out loud). Choreographed and written by herself and her husband, Gabriel Dionisio (a.k.a Kwikstep), the piece satirizes painful interviews the dancers have endured. Humorously, they show that like the graduate student, many journalists and scholars who try to define hip-hop dance effectively dont know *@&!.
The work-in-progress directed by Gamal Chasten also attempts to reveal an intimate side the dancers couldnt reveal in other public appearances. By mixing dialogues, monologues and break-dancing over a span of 45 minutes, the veteran breakers separate themselves from superficial publicity and delve into the why behind the dance.
I was a very shy kid, Dionisio said, describing the Brooklyn foster homes he grew up in, a story he also references in the performance. So when I started to dance, thats when I spoke the loudest.
I was always the new girl, the good-bye girl, Garcia said, explaining that her parents moved around a lot from Spanish Harlem to the South Bronx. It was the rush and camaraderie she felt in clubs that kept her going back, she said. I was sixteen! I had a fake ID, my man was older than me
It just hit me, and I was like I gotta go [dance].
After performing on opposite sides of the city during the 1980s, Dionisio and Garcia went professional without knowing each other. But by dancing in similar circles for groups like GhettOriginal and artists like Mariah Carey, the two eventually met, fell in love, and began Full Circle in 1996.
Like their full-length pieces, Soular Powerd and Hip Hop to da Head, Innaviews weaves movement and theatrical vocabulary together. While Garcia said that this piece is more heavily steeped in acting than their normal work, she considers it an adequate medium to relate their story, which is solely a duet for now.
Later on it may end up with a full cast, but were happy with the piece right now, Garcia said. The music will be a soundtrack of mostly R&B and soul, according to Dionisio. Other characters that are parodied include a journalist from the Midwest called Mil Merica, and a TV personality named Ill-B (after Billboard Charts).
Garcia described the experience of being interviewed on TV by someone who kept asking her about how much money she made and what type of car she drove. Perhaps, she thought, he didnt realize that just because dancers travel with popular artists, their lives arent necessarily glamorous.
No one really asks whats it like being Latina and being into hip hop, whats it like to navigate those two worlds. It could be as simple as trying to decide what shoes to wear, she said, referring to a monologue in Hip Hop to da Head, in which she talks about her mothers high heels. But it also goes deeper because its like when I walk out of the house, what am I representing?
Its about interviews that didnt really get to the inner-view of who we are, Dionisio said.
Garcia added she hopes the honesty of the piece can inspire others to trust their dreams. She noted her sense of a mission to inspire people through dance is a new way of wielding her art.
Because come on, when I first got into hip-hop I really wasnt trying to inspire nobody, she laughed.
The Full Circle duo has performed internationally and live in New Jersey. After a brief appearance at DTW, Full Circle will head to Washington, DC in April perform Hip Hop to da Head at the Kennedy Center.