Shake the Dust

Adam Sjöberg, 2014, 108 min
Can breakdancing save the world? From executive producer and rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones, who also provides original music for the film, we are treated to a fascinating look at how hip-hop is striking a resonant chord in the slums, favelas, and ghettos of the world and is inspiring young people to enact social change. Hip-hop music, and the acrobatic breakdancing culture that arose in tandem with it, started on the streets of The Bronx, but its reach is now worldwide. Today, “b-boys” and a growing number of “b-girls” hone their gravity-defying breaking techniques in virtually every country on the planet. Shake the Dust by journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, chronicles the far-reaching influence of breakdancing.

Shot in Colombia, Cambodia, Uganda and Yemen, the film shows that while each culture adopts and adapts hip-hop music, blending it with their own traditions, the breakdancing moves act as a universal language. Moving smoothly between breakdance crews in the poorest urban neighborhoods of these countries, Sjöberg weaves together the stories of rappers, DJs, and b-boys across three continents, revealing how breakdancing today acts as a positive force for social change. Older generations are passing along their moves and showing kids, most of whom are orphans, that the “family” of hip-hop can be an alternative to street gangs and drug addiction. With a soundtrack of globe-spanning hip-hop samples and some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, Shake the Dust is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement.

Following the screening on Saturday, August 1st there will be a Q&A with director Adam Sjöberg.

Following the screening on Sunday, August 2nd there will be a Q&A with director Adam Sjöberg, moderated by Fab Five Freddy.

Beat Breakers, a B-boy/B-girl (breakdance) program where students learn the art of breaking from dancers and practitioners who authentically come from the culture. Part dance program and part social history class, Beat Breakers bridges the need for a program that is not only culturally relevant and physically active, but also educates the youth on the rich history and cultural significance of hip hop in the place of its birth.