Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hip Hop Dancing - IllStyle And Peace Productions

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania dance company "IllStyle And Peace Productions".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

On October 27, 2012 I had the pleasure of attending a performance of that all male dance company and other excellent dance companies at a Dance Africa performance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The other dance companies that performed were "August Wilson Dancers", "Balafon", and "Legacy Arts Dancers And Drummers".


Iil Style and Peace Productions

MiNDTV35, Uploaded on Nov 2, 2011
Here's my transcript of excerpts of the interviews of the group Founder/Artistic Director and some other group members:

Brandon “Peace” Albright (Founder & Artistic Director Of IllStyle And Peace Productions):
“IllStyle and Peace Productions is a Philadelphia based dance company that uses Hip-Hop and various other styles of dancing as our dance vocabulary.

The root of Hip Hop is African movement”...

I’m Brandon “Peace” Albright. “Peace” stands for “People Everywhere Are Created Equal”...

I believe dancers are all spiritual. You can’t feel it’s spiritual with your hands or nuthin but you know what inside it is. And then when you are moving, you go into a place, then you can finally feel it and see it ‘cause it comes out of you. You like ‘Oh, I didn’t know I could do that. Ooh, where that comin from?’. We call that the spirit of movement.

For me, as a choreographer, I wanted to find what was going to be my statement & my mission. And basically it was “Same spirit. Different movement” which is the title of our show. I wanted to take ah unity of movement and dance styles and really create something phenomenal that we all share which is that same spirit of dance but different but different movements like pop, and lock, and breakdance, modern, and tap, ballet. So that’s what IllStyle is about..."...

Joseph Ingram (Assistant Artistic Director):
"Some of the people who join IllStyle And Peace change they lifes completely. Like, some members lived in projects, some lived in some, like some crazy situations. And and to get with ah spiritual company like IllStyle And Peace, they can go to school, lift they head up high. They they can show you how to be ah leader and, you know, hard work pays off. So, that’s what I love about my team."

Brandon “Peace” Albright: ”We’re involved in a lot of educational things because the mission of IllStyle is inspiring the next generation..."

“Project Positive” allows kids to actually showcase their talents at a street performance level and at the same time it teaches leadership skills, it teaches them their manners, it teaches them how to interact with people – not to be shy and uplift, and most importantly it teaches them focus on their goals through Hip-Hop dance."

Damon Holley (Rehearsal Director):
"I came into IllStyle And Peace when I was about fifteen. It’s like ah Brandon [said] it ah change my life completely. It inspired me and motivated me, kept me out of trouble. It kept me focused in school and outside of school.

My basic mission as to why I here at Ill Style And Peace Productions is to keep inspiring and keep motivating people through Hip-Hop dance."

Brandon “Peace” Albright:
"So we wanna get the kids involved in somethin positive. [The baby sitting on his lap makes some sound.]. Yeah, tell them. Positive!"
For the folkloric record, my transcription of these interviews is faithful to speakers' use of African American English.

Corrections & additions of this transcription are welcome.
2:13-2:18 shows some IllStyle And Peace Production members recite the chant “Everywhere We Go”/people wanna know/ Who we are/so we tell them...” This is a military cadence which I've also heard chanted by children & teen drill team groups and other children/teen groups.
In African American English (Hip-Hop slang), the word "ill" can mean "very good". I'm unsure about the earliest date for this expanded meaning for the word "ill", but it may date from the 1990s or early 2000s.

It's possible that "ill" came from the word “skill” or the word “chill”. However, the word “sick” was (is?) also used to mean something very good and I’m not sure if that definition of “sick” was used prior to the expanded definition of the word "ill". The African American English (Hip-Hop) phrase "off the hook" means the same thing as this meaning of "ill".
*"Projects" is a colloquial American term for low income, low rent government subsidized housing.


Illstyle & Peace Productions

Angeluv1230, Uploaded on Nov 5, 2010

Performance at BAM's Dance Africa
BAM = Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, New York)

The people going up to the stage during the show are putting money in some receptacle in appreciation of that group's performance.

IllStyle & Peace Productions at Rutgers-Newark

InstOnEthnicity, Published on Jul 5, 2012

A clip of Illstyle & Peace Production's performance at the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience's Spring 2012 Dance Symposium

This video of a famous folk dance company from Guinea, West Africa showcases the traditional acrobatic dance movements that are one of the sources of African American originated Hip-Hop dancing.

Les Balletts Africans Performance...

Uploaded on Mar 10, 2011[Filmed in 2007]

New version in HD can be seen on
This performance is very similar to the dance style & drumming of the "Balafon" dance group that was a part of the October 27, 2012 Pittsburgh Dance Africa show. The clothing & ornaments worn by the dancers and drummers were also very similar to this Guinean dance, which isn't surprising given that the Artistic Director of Balafon is Mama Kadiatou, who is a native of Conakry, The Republic of Guinea, West Africa.

Click for a related Pancocojams post on "Breakdance Like Movements In African & African American Dances"

Thanks to the producers of Pittsburgh's Dance Africa program for featuring Ill Style And Peace Productions and the other dance companies. Thanks also to the members of all of the dance companies and drum groups who performed in that show.

My thanks also to the Les Balletts Africans and thanks to the producers and uploaders of all of these featured videos.

Finally, thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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