Journal

Amy O'Neal & Opposing Forces in The Stranger Oct 15, 2014

by Erin

"The productive tension between individual spontaneity and the conversational, social elements of b-boying culture is a key element of Opposing Forces. Breakdancing performances—called 'ciphers'—can be planned or impromptu, a battle for domination or a playful exchange, but they're always explosive communications between dancers and spectators that both echo and ignite powerful emotions. B-boy audiences aren't passive—they surround the performers, cheer and jeer, and sometimes step in to dance themselves. The rehearsal I attended was similar: While Lateef practiced a solo under O'Neal's watchful eye, the others playfully improvised around the stage, sometimes flowing with each other's steps and bouncing off one another's movements, anticipating and responding to directional changes and weight shifts. 'Play with things that are awkward,' O'Neal told Lateef, and his tall figure responded noticeably, changing from more predictable, lackadaisical gestures into a quick series of surprising postures—above the waist, he jerked robotically while his legs rolled smoothly like his joints were made of butter.

'There you go,' O'Neal said. Lateef smiled, looking pleased.

B-boying is not new to Seattle, O'Neal is no stranger to hiphop, and On the Boards has seen some breakdancing in the recent past, including Philadelphia-born Rennie Harris and the Brazilian company Grupo de Rua. O'Neal is quick to point out that she didn't simply drop into the b-boy scene to recruit a few dancers but has worked with four of the five dancers for years."

–Read the full article in The Stranger

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