Flex Meets Fela

Born in Brooklyn, Flexing – aka Bone Breaking – is yet another style of street dance making its way into mainstream dance venues and lexicon. Just as Krumping was introduced years ago from the streets of South Central Los Angeles, Flexing is amongst the latest dance forms to emerge at once into battle ground style dance competitions, conventions, documentary features, commercials, television, shorts and much more. Defined as “rhythmic contortionist movement combined with waving, tutting, and gliding”, Flexing has appeared on television in America’s Best Dance Crew and The LXD, as well as made its way into established art house venues, including the likes of the Guggenheim Museum, the Vail International Dance Festival, and the Huffington Post. And ScreenDance Diaries readers will likely remember my favorite and oft featured jooker, Storyboard P, also included amongst the ranks of Flexers, who was the subject of a seven page article by The New Yorker.

A dancer plays with his mirror image in Fela Flex
A dancer plays with his mirror image in Fela Flex

This week’s featured short, Fela Flex, is a film presented by Okayafrica and directed by Dominick Sheldon. The intent is to use this contemporary popular dance form as a means to introduce new audiences to the music of Afrobeat founder, activist, and musician extraordinaire, the late Fela Kuti. The dancers featured herein: Flizzo, Jay Donn, Opt, Sado, and Danni, are also the stars of the 2013 documentary Flex is Kings, which premiered at the Tribecca Film Festival last year. With camera work by Christopher Bisagni, produced by Allison Swank and Root Studios, this short certainly highlights the extraordinary aspect of Flexing. I love the framing of the dance, the use of black, and the set… The dancers STUN, there are some very cool effects with mirrors, and when the camera moves its thrilling.


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