Ana Rokafella Garcia
The women were there back then, are here now, and will always be side by side with our brothers, fathers, sons, uncles, nephews, neighbors and husbands, rocking it just as good.
At an early age, I had already created a rep for being a female dancer who jumped in the dance circles at local hip-hop house parties and in NYC dance clubs. But when I danced on the street with the “hitters” who were known for their popping or breakdance moves, I realized I needed to go bigger. In fact, most of the street crews had no girls in them; it was hard for girls to work the crowd and dance on the concrete. To keep people’s attention, I quickly learned to assemble my moves in a way that showcased my skills as a strong female dancer, but without the bootie-shaking and other risque moves that caused strangers to approach me with sexual propositions.
While training as a member of a dance company, I finally began to learn breakdance moves, which impressed the spectators who gathered to watch the street shows. It was difficult to earn this kind of reception in the world of dance and entertainment, however, as that world was only used to seeing only males breakdance. Determined to see the situation change, I co-founded Full Circle Productions, a non-profit dance theater company alongside my husband, who was also a breakdancer.
In 2006, our company was awarded a grant which allowed us to tour the country and shoot video footage of women who breakdance (B-girls). Neither myself nor my husband knew how to make a film, but we were convinced it was the right medium to tell our story. We began to put the word out and some of our contacts responded with recommendations for key team players who could help with the editing and website design. We kicked off the film, All the Ladies Say, in 2009. Since then, we have been in post-production and trying to make the film better through modest fundraising efforts. All the Ladies Say has already screened in many schools, theaters and local hip-hop gatherings.
The process of creating this film proves you can make visions manifest if you are willing to venture outside of your comfort zone and acquire new skills along the way. There are more B-girls now that have high levels of mastery – equaling the guys – but we rarely get seen in the mainstream. Despite the invisibility, we know in our hearts that we do have a place in the hip-hop dance community and will continue to participate even if some people are not willing to highlight our existence. Hip-hop emerged from the need to create a positive identity for the impoverished youth of NYC and has inspired similar communities around the world. The women were there back then, are here now, and will always be side by side with our brothers, fathers, sons, uncles, nephews, neighbors and husbands, rocking it just as good.