Categorized | Entertainment, Featured

‘Ride the Breaks’ festival in Kona (July 28-31)

(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)


The Ride the Breaks Festival is a 4-day long event that includes all the elements of Hip Hop; breaking (breakdancing), graffiti writing, deejaying, and emceeing.

Through performances, competitions, live painting, lectures, demonstrations, and workshops, RTB hopes to present all the elements of Hip Hop in various contexts to include various organizations and groups, to appeal to a larger community, and involve artists at all ages and stages of their career.

The festival kicks off with a lecture at the Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa given by legendary dancer Ken Swift. He will discuss his 30+ year career as a B.Boy, dancer, choreographer and performer as well as show and discuss film clips, rare footage and images of his unique career.

This is a rare glimpse into the roots of Hip Hop Culture in New York City and the initial process of being a part of the group that exposed the world to these art forms.

The presentation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 28 is free and will be coupled with an Ohana Style Potluck.

Ken Swift is one of the greatest influences the dance of Bboying (otherwise known as Breaking or Breakdancing) has known. Considered “The Epitome of a Bboy,” Bboys and BGirls worldwide have emulated his image and style throughout the years. Swift is credited with establishing movements critical to the dances’ foundation with his personal style and techniques.

Separate from Swift’s successful individual career he has collaborated with and is one of the original members of the world renowned Rock Steady Crew (RSC); the first group of Bboys to receive professional recognition from the media and their peers.

They also appeared in television and film including Graffiti Rock (1983), Style Wars (1982), Wild Style (1982), Flashdance (1983,) The David Letterman Show (1983), and Beat Street (1982).

As a recording artist with RSC Swift received gold and silver records for the single Hey You, The Rock Steady Crew. (Virgin/Charisma, 1984) Since then, Swift has judged dance championships, taught, and performed all over the world in more than 30 countries and the throughout the U.S.

He’s been awarded multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards for his preservation and dedication to Bboy culture. Also in 2010, Swift was acknowledged as an “American Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts and received an American Masterpieces in Dance Award to reconstruct his choreography with olive Dance Theatre in a show entitled “Swift Solos: The Re-Construction of Ken Swift’s 20th Century Breakin’,” which toured 5 cities in the United States throughout 2010.

Swift is currently the Program Director for BEAT BREAKERS, a non-profit organization that teaches Breaking Fundamentals in after school programs at multiple high schools and community centers in NYC.

Most recently in 2011, Swift was voted the 2nd Most Influential Dancer of the 20th Century by CNN’s Icon Series, he was the only B.Boy to receive this honor amongst mostly ballet dancers.

On Friday, July 29, there are dance workshops all day at KTPS Dance Studio in Kealakekua.

“The classes are important because it shows the fundamental approach of what breaking is,” Swift said, “to a lot of people around the world they see this dance on television it’s only on it’s most extreme, complex level while the basic approach to the dance and the basic essence the dance is missing. The whole premise behind these workshops is to share the vibe of having fun with music and an exploration of different things you can do with your body.”

Swift will be teaching classes at KTPS along with other guest teachers Bgirl Candy from NYC and Bboy Joeson from Philadelphia who will be teaching both a beginning & intermediate kids classes (11 a.m.-noon and noon-1 p.m.).

Swift will also be teaching two adult classes, one in Breaking Fundamentals (1-2:30 p.m.) and one in Rock Dance (3-4 p.m.), a lesser known traditional dance from New York City as part of his Classic Styles Workshop series of NYC traditional dance instruction.

Workshops are $15 and all proceeds fund the festival.

For the more experienced dancers and those who like to watch there is a BBOY/BGIRL BATTLE at KTPS from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 30.

There will be a 2 VS. 2– Keiki Battle (under 13 years) and a 3 VS. 3– All Ages Battle both judged by Swift, Candy and Joeson with prizes from local businesses.

There will also be a DJ Showcase that features local Big Island DJ’s THE REP, GENSS and, even a 13 year old local girl with amazing scratch abilities, DJ LBOOGIE. There will also be a MC Showcase brought to you by Big Shotz Productions with Tonic Shotz.

And Sunday, July 31, the festival comes back to the Donkey Mill Art Center for the RIDE THE BREAKS BBQ and Graffiti Writing Art Exhibition in the Donkey Mill’s gallery. The BBQ will have many local DJ’s brought to you by Lavaground Soundsystems, a lively dance floor, live painting by various artists, a community mural that you, too, can participate in, as well as Blackbook sessions where artists draw in sketchbooks.

There will also be live performances from Fiyah Red and local band Bump City will play live breakbeats and classics with a full band and horn section!

The BBQ also serves as the reception for the “WallGems & WriteStyles” Graffiti Writing and Street Art Exhibition in the gallery. “WallGems & Writestyles” is a group show featuring works from Hawaii, California and New York City artists including Doze Green (NYC), Ken Swift (NYC), Jeremiah “KRUSH” Nathan (BIG ISLAND), Emily Butterfly (SF), PRIME (OAHU), BURN1 (NYC), SUCH (NYC), REBEL (NYC), Rob Northway (NYC), Gerald Lucena (BIG ISLAND), Yarrow “Osofly” Lutz (NYC) and other artists TBA.

At the opening reception, viewers will have the opportunity to participate in a Blackbook Session as well as see artists paint large scale aerosol murals. Put on your dancing shoes as DJ’s spin some tunes, paint a community mural, and bring a little something for a potluck BBQ as the 3rd Annual Ride the Breaks Festival closes out 3-8 p.m. at the Donkey Mill Art Center.

Ken Swift (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

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