Women Dancers Redefine Oakland's Street Dancing Scene
2015, NOV 12th
From the fly girls of In Living Color to the famous silhouettes of Beyoncé's single ladies, there are plenty of pop culture examples of jaw-dropping, coordinated women dancers.
But for Oakland-based Jenay Anolin and Samara Atkins, both classically trained dancers who later fell in love with street dance, the options for women felt limiting. The pair met at a dance audition in 2008, and "in a lot of the groups that we were seeing, there was a heavy focus on the objectification of women," Anolin tells KQED Arts.
"They didn't have the essence of what I wanted to portray as a dancer, which was freedom, confidence, and empowerment," adds Atkins.
The two formed a partnership, and set out to create what they weren't seeing for women and girls in the street dance scene. Mixing hip-hop moves with breakdancing, house, samba, waacking, ballet, and jazz, they started Mix'd Ingrdnts, an all-female, multi-genre, multi-ethnic dance crew.
The group has danced at street festivals around the Bay and has been a featured act at the San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest, where they will perform again this year Nov. 20 - 22, 2015. Mix'd Ingrdnts also makes a point to perform at local schools and conferences, as well as hosting a full-length annual show at Oakland's Laney College to spread their purpose of community and unity through dance. - Emma Silvers