Hip-hop battle, half-time show for KEA
In March, teen hip hop dancers of Camden’s Kinetic Energy Alive Dance Productions took their new moves to a hip-hop jam in Portland; and onto the basketball court at a half-time show for the Harlem Globetrotters in Augusta.
Since the fall, the beginner and intermediate hip hop students have been working towards participating in an old-school hip-hop battle and exhibition called The Exchange. It took place March 11 at the Avant Dance and Event Center in South Portland, mixing street-style with studio dancers and exposing kids used to dancing in their Maine studios to the old-school culture and experience of breaking, popping and other hip-hop battle styles.
Students began the day taking a master class with Devin Wooldridge of Phunk Phenomenon in Massachusetts; competed in the all-styles battle; and then participated in the studio exhibition, performing a dance they have been working on all year. Students Haley Simmons, Adrian Pierce and Zhenya Scott; and dance teacher/studio director Kea Tesseyman all took the floor, battling against more than 50 other dancers from all over Boston, Maine and in between, the best of the best and beginners too, doing the best they can with the moves they know.
Pierce and Scott made it through Round 2, getting eliminated in round 3. Tesseyman was runner-up finishing her streak in Round 6; in Round 4, she beat the dancer who previously eliminated Pierce, her son.
"This amazing dancer from Boston definitely beat me, since he was doing like huge break dancing stands on his elbow and all this really hard stuff,” said Piece. “Then the next round he goes against my mom and she just slayed him! It was so cool!"
Tesseyman was earning her cred at 21, spending time in Boston, New York and working with legends Boogaloo Sam (creator of hip-hop style popping), Budastretch (one of Michael Jackson's choreographers) and Honey Rockwell (one of the original B-Girls from New York City’s Rocksteady Crew). But having her students “throw down” their moves was something they had to experience for themselves.
“Once you take that step, it's all on you and you just do the best you can with what you've trained at and what the music inspires in you,” she said. “I think the students learned that … no matter what, you just have to have fun and that's what makes a successful dance day!"
Other students performing with the Kinetic Energy Alive Crew during the studio exhibition were Justyce Long, Isaiah Doble, Arami Britos, Emily Boynton and Leanna Cotton.
Two days later, this crew (performing with Tesseyman this time) performed during the Harlem Globetrotters half-time show. A video of this performance can be seen on YouTube (see link below).
Now the focus is on the upcoming annual dance showcase. “Grit & Grace II: The Evolution” is set for Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House. Advance tickets, available online at kineticenergyalive.com/events, are $15, $12 younger than 11; they will be $17/$15 at the door. For more information, contact Tesseyman at 975-4450 or check out the Kinetic Energy Alive Dance Productions’ Facebook page.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or firstname.lastname@example.org.