Theatre professionals in Los Angeles like to complain that New Yorkers think that their theatre scene doesn’t exist, despite more than 500 theatre organizations to the contrary and, you know, Hollywood. You could say the same thing about just about any arts form in the Twin Cities – much of the country has no idea about what’s out here, and prefers to think of Minnesota as the odd icicle that elected Jesse Ventura as governor, once upon a time.
Those who actually live in the Upper Midwest know that the Twin Cities feature a fertile field of performing arts that includes theatre, opera, classical music, burlesque, ballet, folk music, and a whole slew of dance forms – including hiphop and breakdancing. On April 30, hiphop dancing takes center stage at Bedlam Lowertown in St. Paul, with the Sole Instinct 2 hiphop jam.
Sole Instinct 2 is a whole-afternoon affair organized by MN Battles. Lest you be confused, the name comes from dance battles, not the gun-firing ones…although some of the dancers do tote some sweet bicep-model guns). Among other things, there will be 4 DJs, 4 featured dance battles, an MC, a trio of vendors, and (of course) an afterparty. What won’t be there? Cell phones and cameras. As the event’s rule #1 states,
No cameras, no phones. It’s simple. The focus is on having fun, not sharing with the entire world how much fun you are having while you stand around, face in your screen. Live in the moment. Leave your phone in the car. People with their phones out will be asked to leave.
As the event copy reads, “This is a time to let loose, jump in, and build.” And to have lots of fun on the dance floor.
So how do you end up as a featured performer/contestant in a dance battle? To answer this, TCAR‘s Basil Considine caught up with Jurza, one of the dancers competing in an exhibition match/featured dance battle.
How long have you been dancing and how did you first get into it?
I’ve been professionally dancing for 10-plus years, but have always been interested [in dancing] since I was 5 years old. I was inspired by my uncles in the mid-90s; their crew was called Zero Gravity and they were known for their insane power moves. As a kid, I saw them performing and practicing, which lead me to where I am today.
Have you been in a featured battle before?
I haven’t been in a featured battle [before], but there were countless times that organizers would hit me up to see if I was interested. I had a few set-ups, but it never came through. [Now] I finally got one, and I’m super excited for it.
How did you become connected to Sole Instinct 2?
I grew up in the scene, so I’ve even competed and battled alongside the organizers of Sole Instinct. They contacted me and asked me if i was interested in a exhibition battle. Of course, I didn’t decline and took the opportunity!
What types of music do you get down to?
The four main event dance battles feature:
- MN Joe (KHCA / BreakCops; St Paul, MN) vs. Fleau (Sweet Technique; Montreal, Canada)
- Boogie B (Optimistic; Minneapolis, MN) vs. Jeremy (Havikoro; Houston, TX)
- MonaLisa (In New Company; St. Paul, MN) vs. Macca (360 Flava; Atlanta, GA)
- Jurza (The Loonies; St Paul, MN) vs. Lil Ivan (Self X; Elgin, IL).
Music will be provided by 4 DJs:
- DJ Los Boogie (St Paul, MN)
- DJ Diablo (San Diego, CA)
- DJ AlphaTrion (Atlanta, GA)
- King Otto (Hot Peas & Butta/Slipmats Radio, MN)
The MC for the day will be AMS – King of the Nerds (Chicago, IL). Three vendors will also be present:
- INTERVIEW: MCA Executive Director Sheila Smith & the Road Ahead - January 11, 2021
- INTERVIEW: Taking the Multi-Site PROTOTYPE Festival Online in a Pandemic - January 8, 2021
- FEATURE: Unsafe on Any Stage: Alcoholism and Silence at Theatre in the Round - September 30, 2020