The Joint Project pushes the boundaries of hip hop

B-Girl Be dance curator Amy Sackett is taking hip hop to the next level with The Joint Project this weekend at Intermedia Arts. The event, which includes performances in dance, spoken word, technology, and rap explores the possibilities of collaboration between hip hop and other art forms.

The idea behind the show, choreographer Amy Sackett says, is to "push people in the hip-hop community to create work with someone in a different genre." Dancers will collaborate with MCs or film artists, or artists from a different community. The end goal is to push the boundaries of hip hop.

"In our communities, we have great battles and jams, with amazing hip-hop dancers, choreographers, and artists," Sackett says. "But they are multi-talented, and have their hands in different things." The Joint Project is an experiment where all of the artists are taking some leaps of faith in working with people they haven't worked with before.
The Joint Project pushes the boundaries of hip hop
Image Courtesy Intermedia Arts

For example, in the show, B-Boy Bryce Davidson, who is also an actor and visual artists, pairs up with Rob Ford, a B-Boy and computer programmer. Together, they have created an LED suit, and use technology and lights in their dance piece. 

Another collaboration in the show is between Desdamona and Nicki Cullinan, who both have a hip-hop background, but use a lot of fusion elements in their performance. Their work has a spirituality to it and a connection to yoga, Sackett says. 

Besides cross-genre works, The Joint Project also features cross-cultural exchanges, such as the piece created with Aneka McMullen, who partners with a Native American dancer, doing a comparative performance between hip-hop and African dance with Native American dance, exploring how the roots are similar. 

Sackett herself is doing a piece with members of the Muslim community about the hijab, where she dances with two Muslim girls who also happen to be awesome hip-hop dancers. "It's an education to the Minnesota people on why women wear the hijab in Islam; that's it's not something to be afraid of. Women here are not oppressed," she says. "It's a part of their faith."  

In addition to the collaborative element to the evening, Sackett says that all of the work has a vulnerability to it in that the artists are trying something new, and pushing in new directions. 

"It's an intellectual experience for the people involved," she says. "From the audience perspective, it's about seeing works that are personal and crafted by people who know how to craft. It's like touching; it takes you into someone else's world."

Sackett hopes that the show takes hip hop beyond a form that is just entertaining, but shows the power behind its artistry. "The movement is there, the physicalness is there, but there's another element present," she says. "It's work that's saying something, exploring something." 

The artists in The Joint Project include B-Girl MonaLisa, Michael Andrew, Aneka McMullen, Desdamona, Leah Nelson, Bryce Davidson, Amy Sackett, Maria Juranic, Rico Mendez, Zee Swenson, Daithi ag Damhsa, StepChild, Jessica Miller, Nicki Cullinan, Truth Maze, Rob Ford, Iman, Khadijah, and B Fresh. 

Performances run Thursday through Sunday at Intermedia Arts (2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis). Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Purchase tickets online or by calling 612.871.4444. 

Intermedia Arts CHANGEMAKERS: Amy Sackett from Intermedia Arts on Vimeo.

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