Interactive breakdance lecture at SMC

Multitalented Amy "Catfox" Campion, B-girl, capoeirista, and dance filmmaker, led as many as 50 students in a vigorous and intense breakdancing workshop last Wednesday at Santa Monica College.

Campion is the founder and artistic director of Antics Performance, a Los Angeles-based dance company that creates multimedia urban dance performances that incorporate various art forms, and offers residencies, workshops and dance lectures.

Although the dance floor at SMC's gym was limited, attendees persisted and maximized their space while interacting with Campion.

While Campion performed a variety of breaking moves and poses that awed both participants and watchers, workshop attendees slipped and slid across the floor as they practiced everything from corkscrews to butt spins, and front sweeps to a baby freeze.

The energy with which students were willing to dive into the action was raw. Exuding from most of the dancers was the passion, devotion and definitely the perspiration to show it.

Campion, who has been dancing approximately for 20 years, said that she does not need to work out to gain her physical strength, but can rely on practicing breaking along with other dancing techniques to be strong.

"Part of breaking is that it can be so physically demanding," she said.

The true highlight of the workshop was the courage of some attendees, who took Campion's advice, and followed her dance demonstrations, and with that accomplished new feats as a dancer.

Second best to that was the persistence and perseverance of students who stayed from the beginning to the end despite the physical demand, which could be seen in red, sweaty faces, huffs, puffs and the slight thump as bodies fell to the floor.

Gerardo Morales, SMC dance major, said he really enjoyed the class.

"For me, listening to her and getting her history was that extra little sprinkle on top," he said.

Although Morales had taken a number of dance classes and workshops, he said that he enjoys classes that have a social aspect and are not just straight choreography, and that Campion's workshop definitely achieved it with the amount of interaction between
her and the students.

When the workshop came to a close, the number of dancers had thinned out significantly, but many still stayed for a special screening of Campion's latest film, "Street Dance Orixas."

Campion said that the film has not been seen by the public yet, and is in the process of being entered for several film festivals.

The film focuses on a set of different dancers, including Campion herself, who showcase their dancing styles and empowering, intense dance moves.

Although Campion's capoeira skills seem the most developed, the Brazilian and Salvadorean dancers have picked up various aspects of her craft. They are shown moving with technical skills in a variety of different places, connecting the ability to dance anywhere and become one with their surroundings.

In the end of the film, all individual dancers are united, and through their moves, they begin to vibe off each other's energies, creating their own dance world.

Campion said the inspiration for the film came from an idea she had for a long time. She wanted to display the connection between American street dance and Afro-Brazilian culture through a combination of breakdancing and capoeira.

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