Raphael Xavier

2013 Pew Fellow

1/5: Raphael Xavier, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/5: Raphael Xavier, 2014. Photo by Brian Mengini.
3/5: Raphael Xavier, Raphfreeze, 2015. Photo courtesy of Raphael Xavier.
4/5: Raphael Xavier. Photo by Brian Mengini.
5/5: Raphael Xavier, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, Philadelphia premiere, 2013.

“Without the next step, or the realization that something exists outside of the one-dimensional hip-hop world, [breaking] will never reach the potential it’s meant to reach.”

Raphael Xavier (b. 1970) has practiced “breaking,” an acrobatic street dance style commonly known as breakdancing, since 1983. An alumnus of the groundbreaking hip-hop dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement (led by 1996 Pew Fellow Rennie Harris), Xavier is developing a new dance vocabulary that follows in breaking’s traditions yet can be sustained for a lifelong career. “As the current state of [breaking] is full of energy, improvisation, and showmanship, it lacks the skills and understanding of substance and sustenance,” Xavier says. In order to move forward and take breaking to a new level, Xavier has sought out opportunities for artistic collaboration. He developed his most recent work, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, under the mentorship of award-winning choreographer Ralph Lemon. This autobiographical and introspective performance piece, which received a 2012 discovery grant from the Center, follows a maturing hip-hop dance practitioner—a reflection of Xavier’s own career. In 2013, Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center exhibited Xavier’s No Bicycle Parking, a collection of over 400 photos taken over a 10-year period. In 2015, Xavier received Center support to present Raphstravaganza: An Urban Kinetic Experience, a contemporary circus-style performance featuring street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music by saxophonist and composer Bobby Zankel.

References

Collaborators & Colleagues

Sigrid Nunez has published several novels and her work has appeared in several anthologies, including two Pushcart Prize volumes.

Grants & Grantees

The Clay Studio developed a three-year strategic plan at a critical moment in its history, six years before the organization must relocate and leave its current facility.

Grants & Grantees

Since its founding in 1864, Swarthmore College has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. The Performing Arts at Swarthmore College serve as educational and artistic laboratories, combining a rigorous liberal arts education with practical explorations of performance.

Philadelphia Dance Projects and Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater present the finale of Susan Rethorst/Moving in Philadelphia: 2013-2014, a world premiere work by choreographer Susan Rethorst.

Grants & Grantees

Denyse Thomasos (1964–2012) was a visual artist and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Vera Nakonechny, a 2008 Pew Fellow, is a Ukrainian embroiderer, bead worker, and weaver.

Writer and arts specialist Suzanne Carbonneau conducted a public discussion with Danny Yung, artistic director of Zuni Icosahedron from Hong Kong, on September 18, 2010.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Tacita Dean is esteemed for her drawings, photographs, prints, and sound works. In early 2013, her new film, JG, was on view at the Arcadia University Art Gallery.

Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel receives an Eisenhower Fellowship, The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Fatu Gayflor, Kinan Abou-afach premieres a new composition for Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture.

This month in Fellows Friday News: Alex Da Corte receives major media attention for his Easternsports collaboration at the ICA, Matt Saunders and Bhob Rainey are praised for set and sound design for The Adults, and much more.

Grants & Grantees

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble restaged dances with new recordings in preparation for national and international tours.

Grants & Grantees

Artistic Director Nichole Canuso likes to explore “dances that celebrate the awkwardness, humor and surprise in human experience.”