Ephrat Asherie Dance Performance | UNDERSCORED
Join us at the RØDE House for a lively weekend of breaking, hip-hop, house, and vogue with Ephrat Asherie Dance! With three opportunities to catch this incredible performance, mark your calendar for an experience of a lifetime.
UNDERSCORED acts as a living archive of five generations of NYC club dancers that showcases a collaboration of performers ranging in age from 28 to 80, celebrating and investigating their connections from the club scenes of the 1970s–like the Loft Party and the Paradise Garage–until today. UNDERSCORED features EAD ensemble members and three NYC club legends- Archie Burnett, Brahms “Bravo” LaFortune, and Michele Saunders.
Experience an exhilarating journey through deeply personal histories, rarely seen archival footage, a vast musical landscape (including funk, disco, house), and decades of dancing through the culturally reflective styles of breaking, hip-hop, house, vogue, waacking, and hustle.
Whether on or off the dance floor, UNDERSCORED is a reminder of how essential it is to connect to one another. Come for the show, stay for the party— This will be a night of dance you don’t want to miss!
On Friday (opening) night, a FREE afterparty will take place from 8 – 10 pm, immediately following the performance. Presented by CLASSIC FLOW, a dynamic DJ and dancer (breaker/popper) duo with a passion for Hip-Hop and its ever-expanding cultural influence, and featuring DJ Afrosia and Breaking Habits, the gathering will give everyone a chance to dance. Complimentary toast included for all performance attendees.
ABOUT EPHRAT ASHERIE AT THE MOMENTARY
Ephrat Asherie Dance is bringing together award-winning dance legends to perform and teach at a variety of programs from September 26 to October 1 at the Momentary. Learn more about the different ways that you can experience live breaking, hip-hop, house, and vogue showcases live and in-person!
EPHRAT ASHERIE DANCE
Directed by: Ephrat Asherie
Choreography: Ephrat Asherie in collaboration with the company and club legends
Music: Various Artists
Original Compositions: Steve Jennings and Robert Stein
Original Text: Richie Perez
Lighting Design: Kathy Kaufmann
Projection Design: Cornelius Henke III
Costume Design: David Dalrymple
Music samples and recordings by: Nyaruach, Inner Life, Martin Disco, Bakongo, Cymande, People’s Choice, Jimmy Bo Horne, Roland Clark, LTD, Strafe, The Clash.
Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie (artistic director, choreographer, performer)
Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie is a NYC-based choreographer, performer and b-girl and a 2016 Bessie Award Winner for Innovative Achievement in Dance. Asherie has received numerous awards to support her work including Dance Magazine’s Inaugural Harkness Promise Award and two National Dance Project Awards. In 2019 she was the recipient of a NYFA Fellowship and is currently a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. As Artistic Director of Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD), Asherie’s work has been presented nationally and internationally with commissions from companies including Malpaso and Parsons Contemporary Dance and additional commissions from Vail Dance Festival, Fall for Dance, River to River, Firatatrrega and Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Her latest work, UNDERSCORED — awarded a 2019 Creation and Development Award from the National Performance Network and a 2022 National Dance Project–premiered in November 2022 at Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Asherie is honored to have been mentored by Richard Santiago (aka Break Easy) and to have worked and collaborated with Michelle Dorrance, Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bill Irwin, Gus Solomons jr, and Buddha Stretch, among others. Asherie earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in Italian and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where she researched the vernacular jazz dance roots of contemporary street and club dances. She is a co-founding member of the all-female house dance collective MAWU and is forever grateful to NYC’s underground dance community for inspiring her to pursue a life as an artist. For more information, please visit ephratasheriedance.com or follow EAD on Instagram @ephratasheriedance.
Steve Jennings (composer)
With nearly twenty years of experience as a producer, composer and synthesis guru, Steve Jennings has worked in multiple capacities on dozens of TV, Film, Videogame and Creative Services projects. Some of his areas of expertise include synthesis and experimental sound design as well as scene analysis and breakdown for scoring to picture. Steve has worked with Nile Rodgers and Organized Noise, and some of his past clients include MTV, ESPN, CBS, Ubisoft, Sony PlayStation, and Miramax.
Robert Stein (composer)
Bob Stein is an accomplished New York City based Audio Engineer and Producer who has engineered sound for some of the biggest names in popular music. He has worked with Paul Mc- Cartney, John Zorn, Billy Joel, Vanessa Williams, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet, Carl Palmer, and Roberta Flack. As a drummer for the past 20 plus years, Stein has toured nationally and recorded with several bands. More recently, he has been working out of a newly created studio with partner Steve Jennings producing and composing original works and collaborating with other artists.
Kathy Kaufmann (lighting designer)
A New York City native, Ms. Kaufmann is a two time Bessie recipient. She was nominated for a 2015 Bessie for Rebecca Davis’s Bloowst Windku. She has been a resident designer at the Danspace Project at St. Marks Church for over 15 years and has toured extensively throughout the world. She was honored to be included in Curtain Call: Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Design at the New York Performing Arts Library and currently teaches lighting design at Sarah Lawrence College. She works regularly with many companies including Michelle Dorrance (Dorrance Dance), Joanna Kotze, David Parker (The Bang Group) Eiko & Koma, Rebecca Stenn, Moriah Evans and Mina Nishamura. Recent projects include designs for Jonathan Gonzalez, Morgan Bassichis, Mariana Valencia, Jasmine Heard and Tatyana Tenenbaum.
Cornelius Henke III (projection design)
Cornelius Henke III, is a writer, VJ, and creative technologist. Versed in areas of video production and performance art; he has explored the visual medium through music videos, motion graphics, live events, and interactive installations. He is a former fellow and artist in residence at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. And in the past a contributing writer for Projection-Mapping.org before its discontinuation. In other life, Cornelius is an activist and partner at Merging Media, a boutique digital media production company based in Pittsburgh, PA and a team member of VIDVOX, the makers of VDMX. You can see his tutorials and blog posts in the forums or at VIDVOX.net. In 2021 ProjectileObjects was formed into an LLC. that offers a wide range of services including: Concept design, development, engineering, fabrication, and installation.
Mark Eric (costume designer)
Mark Eric is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and now resides in New York City, where he designs and constructs costumes. In addition to freelance costume design, he serves as the Costume Coordinator for the Ailey School, the professional school of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Mark Eric trained as a fashion designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he won the Critics Choice award among his graduating class. After interning with Marchesa and Adain Mattox, he started designing eveningwear for several brands including Monique Lhuillier and Adrianna Papell before discovering his passion for costume design. He has designed costumes for Darrell Grand Moultrie, Robert Battle, Stefanie Batten Bland, Carolyn Dorfman, Ray Mercer among others and is excited to be sharing his creations with Ephrat Asherie Dance for the first time this season. In addition to dance costumes, he also enjoys de- signing conceptual costumes, couture bridal, evening wear and drag fashions.
FEATURED GUEST PERFORMERS:
Archie Burnett (club legend/featured artist)
Archie Burnett is a highly respected underground club dancer in New York City who was one of the prime dancers during the late 70s and 80s, becoming well known for his individual freestyle of Whacking/Waacking and Voguing. He was a close friend and assistant of the grandfather of Voguing, the legend Willi Ninja, and is up until now a striving force in the NYC dance scene. He is invited as a judge for battles, such as for the “Funkin Stylez” 2009, and is mostly directly responsible for birthing the European Vogue scene that we have today, He has appeared in the documentary film “Check Your Body at the Door” (2001) by Dr. Sally Sommer, (Professor of Dance at Florida State University), that explores the movement vocabulary of legendary NYC house dancers, including Archie Burnett, Willi Ninja, Ejoe Wilson, Marjory Smarth and Conrad Rochester. Made possible in part by contributions from the National Endowment of the Arts, Dr. Sommer interviews dancers from the local NYC scene and captures now-vintage footage from the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Check Your Body at the Door” now stands as an historical document and testament to the early years of NYC’s house dance culture. Archie has also lectured at Yale University, New York University and Boston Massachusetts University on the relevance and importance of club culture. He has taught in over 26 countries and continues to provide possibilities for the culture.
Bravo “Brahams” LaFortune (club legend/featured artist)
Brahms “Bravo” LaFortune is a NYC club dance legend, illustrious DJ and iconic party starter and has graced dance floors and turntables world over since 1977. If he’s at a party you want to be there. Bravo is known for his lightening fast footwork style (what he names as freestyle jazz) and his flourishes of floor dives and spins. He is inspired by the older style of bebop (scat) dancing and everyday movements of people walking down the streets. A self-taught dancer, Bravo’s big inspirations include James Brown, the Nicholas Brothers, Eleanor Powell, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Sammy Davis Jr. and TV shows like Soul train and PBS/Dance in America. He is one one of the six featured dancers in the seminal dance documentary Check Your Body at the Door created by Dr. Sally Sommer, a leading dance historian in the United States. Bravo continues to perform with critically acclaimed musician/songwriter/producer Strafe, and next year he will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Strafe’s number one hit “Set it Off,” rated top 200 dance songs of all times by Rolling Stone Magazine. Bravo is committed to teaching the next generation of dancers how to get free and teaches workshops all over the world. His classes are singular and life-affirming, lifting each students energy and self-confidence to the utmost heights.
Michele Saunders (club legend/featured artist)
Born and raised in Paris, France, a trailblazing rebel from day one, Michele Saunders was always fascinated with American music—Elvis Presley, James Dean, rock ‘n roll, R&B, Motown—as well as the world of art, fashion, and film. While recuperating from a serious ski accident at 18, she decided to move to America. One year later, she started studying at Mount Holyoke College on a Fulbright Scholarship. When she moved to New York City, she also started representing some of the world’s most innovative fashion and art photographers, and illustrators, including Steve Hiett, Art Kane, David Hamilton, Jacques Malignon, Uwe Ommer, Pater Sato and Dan Rinaldi, giving Saunders a first-row seat to cutting-edge creators in the fashion industry. She also worked for years in the music industry, styling photography shoots and musical performers, including Elton John, Diana Ross, Billy Idol, Luther Vandross, Pink and others. Her love of music led to the discovery of Paradise Garage, a dance club in New York City that influenced Ms. Saunders’ life profoundly, furthering her love of dancing and the world of dance music, connecting her to DJs such as David Morales, Louie Vega and Kenny Carpenter. Through the people she met there, she befriended Patricia Field, had her son Zachary (Ms. Field is his godmother). She has collaborated on stories with the art and fashion magazine, Document, including an interview with Frankie Knuckles (the godfather of house music) by Honey Dijon. She has also worked extensively in «street casting” – the art of spotting diverse and urban fashionistas who create their own unique styles. Now 76, Ms. Saunders’ stays current and works to connect artist and creative thinkers of all kinds, helping people find their dream homes, and continuing to produce events that shine the light on Catskill.
Manon Bal (performer)
Manon Bal is a versatile professional dancer from Marseille, France. She has trained at the IFPRO Centre de International de Dance Rick Odums in Paris and at the prestigious Ailey School in New York City. As a choreographer, Manon is the co-founder of Mozaik Dance in collaboration with Janine Micheletti and Sun Kim. The company has presented their work Sad Hope at Jacob’s Pillow, San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Fest, and as a part of the New Victory Dance Series. As a performer, Manon has danced with PMT Dance Company at Barclays Center for the Nets Halftime Show, and worked for respected choreographers such as Ronald K Brown, Tweet Boogie, Jon Rua, and Miki Tuesday.
Teena Marie Custer (performer)
Teena Marie Custer is an artist and healer based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her solo choreographic work has been presented at Sadler’s Wells in London, and then toured around the U.S. She has created street dance theater works for over 35 university dance departments around the country, and after receiving an M.F.A. from Ohio State, was on faculty at Slippery Rock University and the American Dance Festival. She is a member of Venus Fly and Get Down Gang street dance crews, and has been with Ephrat Asherie Dance since 2012, while also touring with Bill “Crutchmaster” Shannon.
Val “Ms. Vee” Ho (performer)
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Ms. Vee moved to NYC in 2003. She’s had the pleasure of working with Buddha Stretch, Rennie Harris, Luam, Maria Torres, Bradley Rapier, and Ephrat Asherie. Performance highlights include: ‘Hideaway’ Video by Kiesza, VH1 Dear Mama TV special, Step Up 3D, Rennie Harris’ Legends of Hip Hop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Sadler’s Wells Breaking Convention and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Ms. Vee is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, and Pace University’s Commercial Dance BFA Program, and The Juilliard School.
Matthew “Megawatt” West (performer)
Matthew “Megawatt” West started dancing at the age of 16 in Queens, New York. Megawatts is a b-boy, an avid listener to house music, and a dedicated student of the dance style itself. He has attended numerous sessions held by renowned NYC house dancers: Conrad Rochester, James “Cricket” Colter and the Ladies of MAWU. Megawatt is an active part of NYC’s house dance community and teaches youth classes throughout the five boroughs. He can be seen in Baz Lurhman’s recent Netflix series ‘The Get Down’ and battling with his crew, the Mellow Animals.
Ron “Stealth-1” Chunn (performer)
Ron “Stealth-1” Chunn is a Bboy and DJ originally from Columbus, Ohio. “Stealth” is a member of Get Down Gang from Pittsburgh, and was a founding member of the Midwest’s Street Symphony Crew. As a Bboy, Stealth has battled and danced with crews in various places around the world, and has opened for Hip Hop heavy-hitters such as Rakim, Pete Rock, Mobb Deep and Slum Village. Stealth was also a founding member of Bill (Crutchmaster) Shannon’s company ‘Touch Update’, and toured with the company to Philadelphia, PA, Washington D.C. and New York City. As a Dj, Stealth has played music all around the US and Canada, selected for Bboy battles such as Get Rooted in Nashville and Battlezone in Pittsburgh, and currently holds residencies in multiple places in Pittsburgh, PA and Wheeling, WV. Stealth also djs for the Pittsburgh Emcee Cypher ‘Track Meet’, as well as laid down some scratching on songs for local emcees. Stealth holds two Master’s degrees, including a Philosophy MA from Western Ontario University, and bachelor degrees in five other areas from Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Pittsburgh. Stealth still serves as one half of the owners of the GDG HQ, which has served as a Hip Hop playground in the city of Pittsburgh where people come to train in dance and music, and generally soak up Hip Hop and Funk culture.
UNDERSCORED received lead commissioning and development support by Works & Process, for world premiere at the Guggenheim. UNDERSCORED was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable foundation and Mellon Foundation. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals for a residency at The Jay and Linda Grunin Center, made possible through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. UNDERSCORED is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Works & Process in partnership with ArtPower at UC San Diego, the Momentary, and The Yard. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information, visit www.npnweb.org.