Shake the Dust by Adam Sjoberg (2015, 85 min.). Hip-hop music, and the acrobatic breakdancing culture that arose in tandem with it, started on the streets of the Bronx, but their reach is worldwide. Today, “b-boys” and a growing number of “b-girls” hone their gravity-defying breaking techniques in virtually every country on the planet. The documentary Shake the Dust, by journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, chronicles the far-reaching influence of breakdancing, exploring how it strikes a resonant chord in the slums, favelas and ghettos of the world. While each culture adopts and adapts hip-hop music, blending it with their own traditions, breakdancing moves act as a universal language. Moving between breakdance crews in the poorest urban neighborhoods of Colombia, Yemen, Uganda, and Cambodia, 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, many of whom are orphans, that the “family” of hip-hop can be an alternative to street gangs and drug addiction. Executive producer and rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones also provides original music for the film. With a soundtrack of globe-spanning hip-hop samples and 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.
Hello Harlem: Tales From The Renaissance by Elijah Brewer and Anthony R. Stewart Jr. (10 min.). Luther, a young saxophonist from the deep, rural south in the 1930s moves to Harlem in hopes of making a better way for his family by playing with some of the great jazz musicians of that time period. Discussion with director follows screening.