Commissioned by New York Live Arts, Sassafrazz is an original composition of structured improvisation for three Breakers and three musicians. It focuses on the three stages of Break Life: birth, life, and death, that are represented by three styles of Breaking: Top, Footwork, and Ground Text.
As part of his residency and his work on Sassafrazz, Raphael will take break dancing and jazz music out to the streets – bringing the improvisational elements of breaking and jazz to the people. The company will invite local hip hop crews/ dancers and jazz musicians (these can be individuals or student jazz orchestras or clubs) to come together in these unrehearsed gatherings to improvise and jam together. This jazz and breaking “happening” brings to life the spontaneous and creative spirit of these two art forms, creating an impromptu celebration of community and a unique shared experience. If there are no local groups/individuals available, company members can begin their own jam session and allow the activity to evolve in the public space.
"The biggest surprise was just how impactful the Correctional Facility visit turned out to be. Raphael Xavier and another company member worked with the entire facility student population of just over 100 for several hours. The encounter was transformative. Mr. Xavier's authenticity and connection with these young men was immediate and deep. There were tears, and revelations. There was engagement and a commitment to stay connected. The artists shared their stories of how hip-hop and dedication to excellence provided a guidepost in their lives. Several students set up plans to stay in correspondence with the artists. And, the artists and the Sheldon are in initial conversations about how to make a longer, return engagement, focused on the Correctional Facility's community exclusively possible in the future. Without a doubt, this was among the most meaningful single workshop events that we have ever been part of."
"We continuously look to be recognized as not only individuals but as artists who want to be innovative.
Being in an encouraging environment and a healthy competitive space, we can grow to be successful throughout life."
From Raphael's Chicago Residency Workshop
- Raphael Xavier
which enabled a performance, a public workshop, a post-show discussion, and an in-depth workshop at the MN Youth Correctional Facility
As an elder in the breaking community, Raphael seeks to make breaking accessible for all bodies and ages, and uses his residencies to strengthen communities and explore his own identity as an aging dancer. Through the masterclass programs that W.O.R.X offers, participants are able to learn Raphael's Ground-Core technique (a somatic dance technique). This unique breaking style focuses on allowing each dancer to identify and strengthen his/her own core, and gain an awareness of how it shifts and moves throughout space. Various breaking movements are deconstructed and then taught to participants. Master classes can be tailored to the participants’ ages and dance capabilities/training. By making this movement accessible to any body type, the class introduces a new movement vocabulary to the practitioners, giving them a better understanding of the body in all dance forms.
Mentoring and inspiring young artists to create and find their own voices
Spreading the art of breaking and hip hop around the nation to young artists
A letter from Noah, an inmate at the Minnesota youth correctional facility
Past W.O.R.X Partnerships/Residencies
Spruance Elementary School
6401 Horrocks St, Philadelphia, PA 19149
CAPA Creative & Performing Arts
901 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
1306 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
Red Wing, MN Youth Correctional Facility
1079 County 292 Blvd, Red Wing, MN 55066
SEAMAAC Hip Hop Heritage program
1711 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Russel Byers Elementary
1911 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103