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olive Dance Theater Brings Breakin’ to Cincinnati

mailI’m really enjoying writing for The Examiner about different dance topics from how to get started to events. Here is the current article about the olive Dance Theatre’s performance “Swift Solos”.

Top rock, down rock, power moves and freezes/suicides may not be in your everyday vocabulary but to break dancers, it’s the language that drives the dance. To Ken Swift, re known B-Boy, choreographer and innovator these terms became his language of movement as he is credited with establishing the critical foundation of Breakin’ with style and flair.

His legendary works are featured this weekend, March 19 and 20 at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater as the Contemporary Dance Theatre hosts the oLIVE Dance Theatre’s performance of “Swift Solos”. The Philadelphia group showcases Swift’s works of solo and ensemble pieces from solo to battle and cipher that spans over thirty years bringing break dancing to the respected forefront of American dance styles with a tone that creates a higher level of emotional introspection that doesn’t exist in a traditional “battle”.

“Contemporary Dance Theater (CDT) decided to present olive Dance Theatre for several reasons and one of those was to further acknowledge what the NEA has done by granting the company an American Masterpieces grant to reconstruct the work of Ken Swift, thereby recognizing Breakin’ as a legitimate and valuable art form and part of the national (and international) culture. olive Dance Theatre and Ken Swift are presenting a bit of dance history and the culture of urban expression when they dance this weekend.” says Jefferson James, Artistic Director of CDT.

Founded in 2002, olive Dance Theatre’s works incite social change and creativity through the folk art of Breakin’ or B-Boying and B-Girling. Artistic Director Jamie Merwin expresses, “our mission is to validate indigenous American hip hop dance forms specifically Breakin’ through the creation of new dance theater works and the performance of these works domestically and abroad.”

The dance group visits schools and community out-reach programs educating students of all ages on the history and technique as they did this past week in Cincinnati. In addition, the legendary Ken Swift is collaborating with Elementz Hip Hop and Murder Rock Crew in a local battle at CDT’s College HIll Town Hall location 1805 Larch Ave from 12p-6p on Saturday, March 20. Prizes will be awarded. More information can be found at

Breakin’ Becomes a Landscape of Pop-Culture: A bit of Breakin’ History Imagine the setting of a steamy summer early evening with a skillful young dancer spinning on the ground to the funk rhythms. This vision emerged on the scenes of NYC in the South Bronx during the early 1970’s when dancers formed street dance-offs. Winners of the “battle were determined by innovative maneuvers unmatched in difficulty from “toprock” or standing positions to the infamous “downrock” of spinning ground movements and arm balances. Now, Breakin’ is considered the oldest form of hip hop.

Performers, such as James Brown, dance teams like Rock Steady Crew which included Ken Swift and media forms like MTV ignited Breakin’ into a phenomenon. Ken Swift’s career with movies, such as, “Style Wars (1982), Graffiti Rock (1983) and Flash Dance (1983) brought tours to Europe and Asia spreading the word on an international level. And, the phenomenon continues, as Cincinnati will see this weekend at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater.

Don’t miss the show: When: March 19 and 20 Where: Jarson-Kaplan Theater Downtown Cincinnati Time: 8:30p Cost: $27 & $22; $17 students and seniors; ETA member benefits apply. Tickets may be purchased at the Aronoff Center Ticket Office at 513-621-2787. More information on Ken Swift at

Salsa Love,