Hip-Hop Fest returns Thursday locking, popping, breaking, clowning, krumping

Dancers perform at a recent Agassiz Baldwin Hip-Hop Festival. (Photo: Agassiz Baldwin Community)

Dancers perform at a recent Agassiz Baldwin Hip-Hop Festival. (Photo: Agassiz Baldwin Community)

Preteen, teen and young adult performers take to the stage in synchronized struts, controlled slides and dizzying, gravity-defying flips Thursday at the 18th annual Agassiz Baldwin Hip-Hop Festival.

Dance troupes return regularly to showcase the freshest additions to the hip-hop dance dictionary, inspiring new generations of dancers, choreographers and culture-hounds who leap to their feet to sing, shout and dance along. Sometimes audience members become performers themselves, either during the show as surprise “guerrilla” acts or by returning the next year with dance routines of their own, organizers said.

“The Hip-Hop Festival is really interactive,” said Maria Laine, director of children’s programs at Agassiz Baldwin Community. “Kids connect to the music, and they see themselves in it. They cheer, clap their hands, stand up and dance. It’s not a sit-down-and-be-quiet kind of show.”

This year’s festival includes performances by the Deborah Mason School of Dance, Community Art Center Dance Crew, The Hip-Hop Transformation youth rappers, King Open Extended Day’s Best Dance Crew and others. The event draws crowds of 250 or more school-age children and chaperones.

The Hip-Hop Festival takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Maria L. Baldwin School, 28 Sacramento St., in the Agassiz neighborhood. Tickets are $2 per person or $5 per family group. Afterschool groups can attend free if they RSVP to Maria Laine at mlaine@agassiz.org with their program name, contact person, number of students and the number of adult chaperones.

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