The Bronx Revolution and The Birth of Hip Hop (“Brev”) is a multimedia evening length work conceived and directed by Zaccho Dance Theatre artistic director Joanna Haigood in collaboration with Hip Hop legends MC Grandmaster Caz, DJ GrandWizzard Theodore, photographer Joe Conzo, Jr., MC Sha Rock, Grandmaster Melle Mel, graffiti artist BG 183, BGirl Rokafella, and video artist John Ensor Parker. This project’s first iteration was commissioned and produced in 2013 by Dancing in the Streets and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Culture.
Anchored in personal story, Brev expresses how this art form birthed a social revolution emerging from the South Bronx. Brev tells the story of the origins of Hip Hop through personal narrative, music, dance and multimedia immersion. The artists tell their stories through their distinct media - DJing, MCing, graffiti, or dance - and through their interaction with a surrounding visual and sound environment. A video and sonic landscape, created by John Ensor Parker and the video arts collective 3_Search, includes projected images of Joe Conzo, Jr.’s archival photographs of the 1970’s South Bronx and the beginnings of the Hip Hop movement. Portraits of Hip Hop’s South Bronx origins are structured around narratives of eight Hip Hop pioneers.
Haigood’s expertise and experience in building place-based multi-media performance will unveil a slightly different version in every city, with the inclusion of local artists and stories as Hip Hop continues to evolve. Brev is available for national touring with the participation of a cypher of local artists, dance crews, and DJs. In addition to the integration of local artists in each city, youth programming in DJ’ing, MC’ing, dance, graffiti, and the history of Hip Hop will be facilitated by the pioneering Bronx artists.
As we continue to develop this new evolution of the work, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. graciously hosted The Bronx Revolution development team with an “Office Hours Residency" in August 2021. The “Office Hours" is a curated creative residency program hosted at the Kennedy Center’s REACH.