Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting female Break Dancer, Rokafella, in East Harlem. I met her at a meet and greet hosted by Momma’s Hip-Hop Kitchen.
I am not into Break Dancing but was interested in her story of how she became a female Break Dancer during a time when it was strictly for the fella’s and how she had enough stamina to actually keep it up until today.
This is the story she told me:
My name is ‘Rokafella’ because I seriously used to ‘rock the fellas’ back in the day. I used to show the guys that women could Break Dance too. I used to spin on my head and everything…I started Break Dancing in 1994. I danced all types of styles; Hip-Hop, House, Salsa, and African. I felt Break Dancing was missing so I started to Break Dance. Even though I danced all those genres, I am known for my Break Dancing.
I came up against misogyny and the gender thing. The better I got at my craft, the more people were resistant to hiring me. I had this determination to continue because I was capable of continuing my training. The more I trained, the more determined I became.
My parents were not really supportive of me Break-Dancing because they saw me struggling; and you know, parents don’t like watching their children struggle…
It was in Manhattan where I trained. I was in an all guy group. One of the guys from the group is my husband today.
Today, I am still dancing. Along with my husband, Kwikstep, I founded a dance company name Full Circle. It is a dance organization that preserves Break-Dancing and other Hip-Hop dance forms.
This year Rokafella will be performing at Teatro Pregones Theater with her husband, Kwikstep. They will be sharing their love story with the world on stage on Thursday, February 14 at 7pm. If you are in the Bronx and are looking for something different to do on this Valentine’s Day, I would encourage you to attend Rokafella’s show.
Photo Credit: Yu Wadee