WEast Coast

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WEast Coast Workshops is a solid example of bridging communities together. Joining choreographers from different regions allows dancers to learn from various perspectives. What goes down in NYC is a totally different vibe from what’s happening in Cali, which is completely different from what’s hot in the Chi. Having choreographers from all these locations in one room is what Weast Coast is all about.

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The first of the three awesome workshops was taught by Ayano Okubo and Alice Wu. Their music of choice; “Go” by Rapsody, Alex Da Kid, and H.E.R. This feeling filled song help set the mood the two ladies were trying to evoke from the dancers. The flowing conversation of their intoxicating movements led to an undulation of tempo and vibe.

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After the wave of the first workshop settled, the tide rose with a Chicago Footwork lesson taught by Pause Eddie. He taught more than just choreography to “Non-Stop” by Drake. The dancers learned foundation in this rarely taught style of dance as well. The lesson included vocabulary such as: dribble, crossover, and skate. Allowing them to leave this class with education as well as movement.

The last of the Weast Coast workshops joined the forces of Domino Johnson and Edson Maldonado. Their delivery of style-bending choreography was set to “Lady Lady” by Masego. By using the likes of locking, house, and urban groove, they were able to showcase the epitome of Weast Coast. A dancer from the East Coast, a dancer from the West Coast, and a smoothly blended piece of choreography.

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“…The things I’m inspired to work on in each environment were almost complete opposites. And it was frustrating to feel like I would work so hard training in a certain way, to only have to start from scratch training with a totally new mindset months later. I wished I could find a way to share with my homies from both communities what I experienced in both spaces. But at the same time, it was weird because I always felt like no one really knew what I was talking about when I talked about the East Coast in particular, mostly because, hardly anyone follows it!

…I knew for sure that people from each community have a lot to learn from people from the other community. And I knew I was in a unique position to facilitate some introductions and collabs just based on my perspective and array of friends…”
— Angie Chiraz, Founder - WEast Coast Workshops

Angie Chiraz, the founder of Weast Coast, took collaboration to a new level with this one. With choreographers from all over and help from community companies, like Sandbox NYC, the Weast Coast Workshops were spot on and went off.

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Boat +Bridge getting involved was one of if not the most natural part of the entire process of Weast Coast developing. I was telling MJ about my rogue plans for it at the time, but hadn’t made anything public yet, and MJ was like ‘yo do you need boat and bridge to cover?’

...MJ & Boat+Bridge are super, super involved in anything community related over here, so it was bound to happen. And it definitely would not have had the exposure it’s had and will have in the future without their help!”
— Angie Chiraz
 

Written by Gabriel De Jesus
Photography by MJ Abiva