What’s up in the dance community
Which came first: the Block or the Block Party?
The Block Party, a hip-hop dance event now entering its seventh year, was first. Held Labor Day weekend in Boulder, Colorado, it draws dancers, DJs, and judges from around the world to participate in dance battles and cyphers. It’s free and open to all comers, although visitors who want to take the classes taught by guest teachers the week beforehand do pay a fee.
The Block emerged three years after the Party started. Alex Milewski, a founding member of Colorado’s Hip-Hop Collective (and one of the original organizers of the Block Party), was teaching dance classes at local studios and dancing with a crew when he and his colleagues began kicking around the idea of opening their own studio. With $18,000 they raised from a Kickstarter campaign, they opened Block 1750, which offers affordable dance classes and scholarships for low-income students and serves as a community hangout.
Community and accessibility are, in fact, central to the Block and Block Party. “We always tell people, ‘Money should never be an issue if you want to dance,’ ” Milewski says. “Everyone who applies for a scholarship gets one.” And there is no entry fee and limited criteria to qualify for Block Party. “Anyone can sign up to battle,” Milewski says. For details, see block1750.com/blockparty/.