Raphstravaganza: An Urban Kinetic Experience

1/5: Pete Brandt. Photo courtesy of Raphael Xavier.
2/5: Raphstravaganza cast. Photo by Anthony Foye.
3/5: Raphael Xavier, 2014. Photo by Brian Mengini.
4/5: Bill Shannon, Shannon Technique/signature move Wall Stahl, 2013, New York City. Photo courtesy of Raphael Xavier.
5/5: Raphael Xavier, Raphfreeze, 2015. Photo courtesy of Raphael Xavier.

Leading hip-hop artist and 2013 Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier brought together masterful street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music for Raphstravaganza: An Urban Kinetic Experience, a contemporary circus-style performance in City Hall’s courtyard. Original compositions by saxophonist, composer, and 1996 Pew Fellow Bobby Zankel acted as musical narration for the urban styles that Xavier says “profoundly influenced my life during childhood and have shaped the artist I am today.” Performers included Bill Shannon, a choreographer, dancer, and Guggenheim Fellow known as Crutch Master who has choreographed for Cirque Du Soleil; Tylon Moore, who is known as New York City’s top street hip-hop acrobat and contortionist; top professional BMX rider Matt Wilhelm, who was a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; and additional performers from Philadelphia. A set of four, 25-minute choreographed performances were structured throughout the courtyard space and paid tribute to the soul of the city, inviting discovery of urban street dance and movement.

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