As we stayed in touch we learned that we spoke the same dance language: funk, house, boogaloo, poppin, get lite, vernacular jazz, and of course Lindy Hop. Now, it's not many a dancer I meet that is versed in this way so it was exciting to plan to work together.
I was in the midst of fundraising and organizing the Starchild Dance Lindy Hop Porject who's mission was to reintroduce African American to the rich innovations and cultural dances of the Harlem Renaissance. I was excited and proud to delve into this legacy work of my ancestors.
Although Ray lived in NYC and I in California, I found ways to organize time for us to train together and develop performance and teaching material. In addition to the funds I raised through IndieGoGo, the city of Oakland's Cultural Funding Department, and a commission through the EastBay Commuity Foundation, I landed a gig with Central Parks Summer Stage family programming where my sister Monique Martin was a director. This gig allowed us to be on the same coast for about 3 weeks in the summer and work out the creative material I envisioned. Ray also came to Oakland for work I was doing with Diamano Coura, Leadership Excellence, and Eastside Cultural Center. Below is a picture of our performance at Marcus Garvey Park at Harlem's Family Day.
Today I was looking through my hard drive and came across this video of one of our performance routines we performed on Lenox avenue after a photo shoot for our publicity shots. This piece is a section of the family show I created called B-Love's Hip Hop Jazz Groove. In this section Ray and I have a Charleston dance battle that includes the many variations of the Charleston including swing outs I know would make Frankie Manning and Norma Miller proud.
Ray's fiance did a great job filming us as my sister helped with crowd control and other logistics. Baby, look at the wide sidewalk in this historic neighborhood. This is the birthplace of the Lindy Hop and we were thrilled to throw down and honor the legacy we are proud to preserve!
We did two takes and both were an amazing presentation! I'm grateful this moment was captured of us showcasing our passion and creative work together!
As I reflect on the past 10 years and moving into 2020, dancing with Ray F. Davis has been one of my greatest collaborative experiences of the past decade! Thank you Ray! And a special thank you to the Frankie Manning Foundation for all of your support.
Ray & I are featured in this video, 'Let Me Hear You Say Hep Hep'
Lindy Hop Forever! Keep Swinging Yall!