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The Kimmel Center and Guggenheim Fellow Raphael Xavier Announce "Here & Now Hip Hop Forum," June 10, 2017

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.@RaphaelDances brings celebrated performers and instructors to @KimmelCenter for FREE hip hop workshops, panel, and jamming, 6/10

Press Contact:

Amanda Conte



Free day-long programming includes hip hop classes, panel discussion, and jam session

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, April 20, 2017) –– The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is proud to announce a partnership with Guggenheim Fellow and PEW Fellowship recipient Raphael Xavier to present Here & Now Hip Hop Forum, a full day of free programming on Saturday, June 10 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. in SEI Innovation Studio. The collaborative day of movement and music includes three dance workshops taught by renowned and progressive hip hop instructors and performers; a panel discussion bringing together scholars, artists, choreographers and organizational leaders to discuss the future of the art form; and an open jam session.

“We are thrilled to welcome Raphael Xavier and his team to our Campus for this day of free events, education, and conversation,” said Anne Ewers, President and CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “It is such a gift to have talented and thoughtful artists give back to our community in this unique way.”

Presented with both a USA Artist Fellowship for Choreography and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016, Rennie Harris PureMovement alumnus Raphael Xavier has been active in the dance world since the early 1980s. Xavier joined the Kimmel Center during the 2013/14 season as a Jazz Residency artist. Xavier’s creation, Here & Now Hip Hop Forum is intended to motivate and inform hip hop artists while benefitting the community of Philadelphia.

The schedule of the day is as follows:

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. - Street Dance Composition Class

Instructor: Teena Marie Custer

Exploring the abstraction of street dance & movement to work for the stage. Students will create a phrase of their own in any urban style and explore reworking it in a variety of ways.

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Funkamentals Class

Instructor: D. Sabela Grimes

Teaching social and current trends in hip hop dances inspired by the hood.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Breaking / Ultimate Movement Class

Instructor: B-Boy Neguin

This class teaches you to use your surroundings to react & attack the music in ciphers or battles or even just to catch a vibe while feeling good.

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Long Game: Optimizing Opportunities for Dancers and Artists Alike

Panel DiscussionModerator: Raphael Xavier

Panelists: D. Sabela Grimes, B-Boy Neguin, Teena Marie Custer, Ryan ‘Napalm’ Wagner, Ursula Rucker, Tyiib Smith

This panel brings together scholars, artists, choreographers and organizational leaders to talk about opportunities available to progressively move forward outside of conventional ideas.

8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. DJ Blaak The Ninth Man

This open jam session is for all in attendance to dance, socialize, let loose and experience what social dance and Hip Hop forms are all about. Meet and mingle with these world renowned artists who are making a difference in their fields.

Below is a full list of participating teachers & panelists:

  • Raphael Xavier (Artistic Director and Choreographer) –The recipient of many awards, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship, and a MacDowell award, Raphael Xavier has been called “a fine rhythm technician who transforms a bravado dance style into an introspective meditation.” He currently teaches at Princeton University.
  • Sabela Grimes (Panelist/ Instructor) – Sabela Grimes currently teaches at University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. A recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship in 2014, Grimes is the author of “Funkamental MediKinetics,” a method focused on foundations of movement and social aspects surrounding hip hop culture.
  • Ursula Rucker (Panelist) – Ursula Rucker is a musician, poet, and social activist. Her sixth album in the works, Rucker is a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award and their Art for Change Award. The subject of Poet, a documentary, she created a live solo show entitled My Father’s Daughter.
  • Ryan Wagner “Napalm” (Panelist) – Owner of Ryan Wagner’s Martial Arts and Fitness, Wagner is a b-boyer and winner of international awards, including 2015’s Bboy of the Year, a three-time winner of the USA Chelles Battle Pro, and an Amazing Day Champ.
  • Teena Marie (Panelist/ Instructor) – Teena Marie is the winner of various b-girl competitions and has brought her hip hop works to theaters, festivals, and colleges across the United States and abroad. A teacher for the American Dance Festival and Slippery Rock University, Marie has created “My Good Side,” a solo performance show.
  • Febiano “Bboy Neguin” Lopes – (Panelist/ Instructor) – Winner of the UBC and Red Bull BC One, Neguin has represented artists and brands as varied as Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, MTV, Coca-Cola, Nokia, Nestle, and Puma. A top B-boyer known internationally, Neguin utilizes capoeira, house, tricking, and hip hop.
  • Tayyib Smith (Panelist) – Tayyib Smith is the co-creator of Famous Arts Critics and Pipeline Philly, as well as The Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship and Little Giant Creative. She is a board member on Temple’s Apps & Maps, Black Star Film Fest, and the GreenLight Fund.
  • Blaak Tha Ninth Man (DJ) – Philadelphia-based DJ, record collector, and “The Resident Funky President of ‘Soulville’” Black Tha Ninth Man has been entertaining Philadelphia for almost 40 years.


Presented by the Kimmel Center and Raphael Xavier

SEI Innovation Studio

June 10, 2017, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Advanced Registration is recommended as classes will fill up quickly. 25 students per class. Please wear comfortable dance clothes and arrive 30 minutes prior to the beginning of class to warm up.


These events are free with reservations required. For reservations call (215) 893-1999, visit us online at, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office. More information at

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center’s mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2016-2017 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit

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