Rize

Unknown year Performing Arts 1.14K Views 0 Comments
Noted photographer David LaChapelle makes his feature directorial debut with this documentary on a new facet of street culture in South Central Los Angeles. In 1992, after long-simmering racial tensions in Los Angeles erupted in riots following the verdicts in the Rodney King trial, a man named Tommy Johnson sought to spread a new message in a new way to the city’s African-Americans.

Creating a character called Tommy the Clown, Johnson developed an act that combined hip-hop-flavored comedy and dancing with an anti-gang and anti-violence message. Johnson’s performances became wildly popular in South Central — so much so that at one point, 50 different groups inspired by Johnson’s example were performing in the area. In time, Johnson’s loose-limbed dance style inspired a new wave of hip-hop street dancing called “krumping,” a wildly athletic style in which arms, legs, and bodies fly with a frenzied abandon that moves at almost inhuman speeds.

<em>Rize</em> follows the birth of clown dancing and krumping in South Central, and records how many young people have adopted the dance as a style of competition, offering a safer and healthier alternative to the gang culture that has long dominated Los Angeles. <em>Rize</em>premiered at the 2005.

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