Breaking in Its 30s: The Maturing of Hip Hop's Dance Art

The Central Library ALOUD presents a discussion about hip hop with special guests Raphael Xavier, Edmundo "Poe One" Loayza, and Imani Kai Johnson.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Central Library
Mark Taper Auditorium
Fifth & Flower Streets, Downtown LA
Los Angeles, CA

Featuring:  choreographer Raphael Xavier, pioneer b-boy Edmundo "Poe One" Loayza, moderated by Imani Kai Johnson, Irvine Fellow, Dept. of American Studies and  Ethnicity, USC

Free, but registration is required to


  • 524 S. Flower St. Garage
  • $1 weekdays until 9 PM with validation; $7 maximum after 4 PM without validation; $1 all day Saturday and Sunday during library hours with validation.  To receive validation, present your Los Angeles Public Library card and your parking ticket at the Information Desk in the Main Lobby during Library operating hours.

About the Program:

Breaking, or breakdancing, helped bring Hip Hop to the mainstream.  Join us for a night of performances and discussion that explores the aesthetic translation of breaking to the stage, what it has to offer youth, and its various sources of artistic inspiration.

Imani Kai Johnson was born and raised in the Bay Area but later adopted Brooklyn as her home.  After receiving her Master's from NYU, she returned to California as an Irvine fellow and doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California where she is currently writing her dissertation on breaking.  Her work is an unprecedented analysis of Hip Hop dance circles known as "cyphers" - spontaneous improvisational performance spaces to music in breaking culture.  She has conducted her research across the US and in Europe, studying how breaking and cyphers carry the weight of cultural legacies, individual histories, racial and gender politics, and the potential theoretical keys to understanding global community through Hip Hop.  Imani's achievements include having been a Scholar-in-Residence at The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and a fellow for USC's Urban and Global Studies Initiative.

Edmundo "Poe One" Loayza was born in Mountain View, CA and raised in Puerto Rico. Known as a pioneer breaker in Puerto Rico and an accomplished popper, he returned to California where he has been a member of several well-known crews including Style Elements and the Mighty Zulu Kings.  Edmundo is an internationally respected popper, breaker, and teacher.  In 2006 he started Each One Teach One (EOTO), a touring workshop that teaches breaking as an evolving practice - where each move is a stepping stone for all subsequent movement.  He tours the US and Europe annually teaching workshops and judging competitions.  He helped build the Hip Hop Championships (which developed into America's Best Dance Crew) and currently coordinates US Battle of the Year.  His choreography can be seen in the forthcoming B-Girl The Movie.  Edmundo is also a cast member of the critically acclaimed stage production "The Groovaloos".

Raphael Xavier is an artist from Wilmington, Delaware and has lived in Philadelphia for the past 10 years.  He is a former member and collaborator with Rennie Harris' Puremovement and co-founder/choreographer for Olive Dance Theatre.  He has been funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Institute for Cultural Partnerships, the Independence Foundation, and recently has been awarded the 2008 Fellowship and Apprenticeship in Folk and Traditional Arts, recognizing him as Master in the art of Breaking.  As a result of breaking for 25 years, Raphael has created Ground-Core, a somatic dance practice exploring the art form's movement vocabulary.  Ground-Core was taught at UCLA in the 2007-2008 academic year in the Department of World Arts and Cultures.  His vocabulary and movement practices continue to push the boundaries of the dance in theatre performances and in the breaking community through in-reach and master and apprentice programs.

Cost:  Programs are free unless otherwise noted. Seating is limited, so reservations are strongly recommended.  All reservations will be confirmed via return e-mail.

For programs that are FULL-Standby Only: Standby tickets will be available at the door, in person only, beginning one hour prior to the program. Unclaimed reservations will be released to stand-by patrons just before the program begins.

Programs are subject to change.  Cancellations:  If you have made a reservation and are unable to attend, please cancel your reservation by emailing or by calling 213-228-7025.  Please include your full name, the name of the program, and the number of reservations you would like to cancel.  If canceling by telephone, please include a phone number where you may be reached.

Events & Exhibits at Central Library

In addition to ALOUD at Central Library, there are a variety of special events for children, teens and adults, as well as informative exhibits that change throughout the year at Central Library.

Cost : Free, but reservations are required to .

For more information please contact:

Central LibraryTel: 213-228-7025

Sponsor(s): , Central Library ALOUD. Information about non-ASC events is forwarded for informational purposes and does not necessarily reflect opinions of or endorsements by African Studies personnel.