poster for Raphael Xavier: Point of InterestRaphael Xavier:
In The Raw

(Albany, NY):  The UAlbany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences and with support from the University at Albany Foundation and University Auxiliary Services, is pleased to present Raphael Xavier’s Point of Interest on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30pm.  The company’s performance is the fourth offering in the Dance in Albany series, a joint series sponsored by The Egg and UAlbany Performing Arts Center.  It will be performed In the Raw, a format conceived and implemented three seasons ago.

With a signature bravado and high-energy physicality, Raphael Xavier shares the stage with a multigenerational cast performing a series of solos, duets and quintets in this new evening-length work. Featuring a soundscape of beats, spoken word poetry and musical rhythms, Point of Interest shines a light on the natural, humorous and at times painful change of the aging break dancer. It ventures into the “mature” space for hip-hop dance, following the standard of traditional breaking aesthetics while pushing the boundaries of a culture and dance form commonly associated with youth.

“I am a performer. I want to discover, break and change things,” says Raphael Xavier. “By definition, ‘breaking’ means to separate into pieces; become inoperative; break down; malfunction and crash. Its success is in taking it apart – if I can take this apart, I have succeeded in Breaking. And this has been evident in my philosophy and practice of the Breaking form since my introduction in 1983.”

Based in Philadelphia, Raphael Xavier is a self-taught hip-hop dancer and breaking practitioner who has forged an exceptional approach to improvisation. A self-described innovative movement conceptualist, Xavier creates new ways to expand the vocabulary of the dance form, drawing not only upon the culture but also his equally important visual background as a hip hop magazine photographer and musical artist. Dance Magazine deemed Xavier, “A fine rhythm technician who transforms a bravado dance style into an introspective meditation.”

As an active alumnus of the world-renowned hip hop dance company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, Xavier’s solo and ensemble choreographic dance works have been performed worldwide. He has been awarded numerous accolades including a 2013 Pew Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellow in 2014 and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography. He is a third year Guest Lecturer in Dance at Princeton University.

The Performing Arts Center’s In the Raw format features dance companies in studio performances of their work.  This format strips down the production values so that the essence of the dance is brought to the forefront.  When you watch great dancers from a distance — say two dozen rows back from the proscenium stage — you admire their craft. When you watch them from a few feet away, you fall in love,” claimed Tresca Weinstein in the Times Union about the inaugural performance of the series. With just over 100 seats available, the setting is intimate, the performers are up close and personal and there is ample opportunity for dialogue between artists and audience.  Xavier will give a short talk after the performance and there will also be a post-show reception furthering the opportunity for conversation between spectators and performers. 

Advance tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  Tickets purchased on the day of the show (pending availability) are $20 for the general public and $15 for students, seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

The company will also teach master classes for two days while in residence at UAlbany.  These classes will be attended by students studying dance and theatre at Albany and Schenectady High Schools as well as Skidmore College.

This engagement was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Upcoming performances in the Dance in Albany series include Montreal’s RUBBERBANDance Group on April 3 at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center as well as all of the following at The Egg: Bridgman/Packer Dance on February 16, Dublin Irish Dance Company on March 6, MOMIX on March 16, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on April 20 and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company on May 5.