Dance Preview: Calgary breaks

By Richard Freeman

Blue Collar Dance asks what drives you with a powerful mix of urban street culture in Slammenberry Jam. The show brings together three different hip-hop squads, featuring the fly moves of C-Stylz, Wildcard Productions and malfunktion along with the rhymes of local rap group POETS, bringing street dancing to your everyday Calgarian. Tara Blue of Blue Collar Dance sees the performance as an excellent opportunity to increase exposure for hip-hop dance.

“One goal is to bring a form of hip-hop that a lot of people have not seen and may be curious about,” she explains. “A lot of my audience may not be comfortable going to a club and I’m bringing that to my audience. People who would normally not see this type of dance will take a chance with Blue Collar Dance. They know they’re going to see something that they like, something that challenges them, something across the board.”

From old-school funk and RB to pop break dancing, Slammenberry covers the whole grid. Blue discovered her passion for hip-hop dance thanks to its accessibility, an element Blue Collar Dance has been striving towards for more than 10 years.

“The Blue Collar Dance mandate was always abstract, we wanted a little niche, which at the time was humanist dance,” Blue says. “That just fascinated me, I love all dance but that was just my thing. Hip-hop really is the dance of the people, it’s constantly evolving and changing and Calgary’s an amazing hot-bed of hip-hop hybrid. The three dance groups I brought in, malfunktion, Wildcard Productions, and C-Stylz are all different. They’ve all taken hip- hop to their own different level, and it’s very exciting.”

The crews know their roots, and represent the diverse styles of Calgary’s swelling hip-hop dance scene. Raised in clubs like Cherry, The Night Gallery, and the Hi-Fi, the b-boys and girls break to music as varied as their moves. For the dancers, the show is a chance to open the door to wider audience in hopes urban dance can generate support for other urban artists in Calgary. Original and energetic, Blue Collar Dance and Slammenberry Jam brings to hip-hop culture to the everyman, fresh from the streets of your own city.

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