African American breakdancing
Raphael Xavier has been a professional breakdancer, or b-boy, for over 15 years. He is a co-founder of olive Dance Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His choreography has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; Dance Theater Workshop in New York City; the Wilma Theatre and Painted Bridge in Philadelphia; REDCAT in Los Angeles; among other venues in the United States and internationally. Raphael received a Folk & Traditional Arts Fellowship from Philadelphia’s Instiute for Cultural Partnerships in 2008, and was a master artist in their apprenticeship program the same year. Working in a variety of fields including music, photography, and film, Raphael continues to learn and recreate new ways to expand the art form’s vocabulary.
As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2011, Raphael worked with apprentice Tyler White. Their apprenticeship focused on exposing Tyler to new and old school techniques of the form, as well as granting him a historical context of the tradition.
In 2010, Raphael received support from ACTA’s Traditional Arts Development Program to attend Show and Prove: The Tensions, Contradictions, and Possibilities of Hip-Hop Studies in Practice, a two-day symposium held at New York Univeristy. The symposum featured panels, films, and discussions featuring new work in the burgeoning field of hip-hop studies. The event provided a unique opportunity for Raphael to engage with practitioners, scholars, students, and artsits involved in the hip-hop community which nurtured his continuing practice as a hip-hop artist.
Master breakdancer Rapahel Xavier (left) and his apprentice Tyler White. Photos: Raphael Xavier and Samuel Dawes, respectively