Flex Program ~ Dance for Youth in Secure Detention.
This is a newly developed project aiming to create a sustainable dance-program in a Juvenile Detention Center in Brooklyn.
The overall mission of this program is to nourish positive and progressive growth within the individuals through artistic expression and freestyle performance. The freedom that comes from artistic expression is perhaps exceptionally valuable for institutionalized kids.
We want to provide the youth with a judgment-free avenue for self-expression and self-actualization. By using skilled dancers from the local community to communicate life lessons and emotional equanimity, the program seeks to create an authentic routine that will elicit trust and cooperation between the residents and staff.
The Flex community frequently holds dance events, freestyle sessions, and competitions where young people can get involved. Transforming energy into a positive, non-verbal expression might help the program participants find personal solutions to conflict in fundamentally non-violent ways.
As stated by staff members, a pressing issue in the center is the number of kids that return to detention only after a few weeks of release. One of the aims of this program is to introduce these kids to an artistic community where they can get an artistic outlet.
A dream would be to expand this program to other countries and collaborate with more artists across the world. The Flex program has already been offered to expand to other detention centers as well as foster care facilities throughout NYC. Our hope is that this could be a sustainable program for years to come that can be developed in other detention centers both Nationally and Internationally.
Flexing is a street dance popularized in the United States that is characterized by rhythmic movement touching on nine main formats‚ bonebeaking, waving, illusions/punchlines, hat dancing, connecting, pausing, gliding, get low and bruk up. Flexing is an art form characterized as a type of concert dance, social dance, and participation dance. The Bruk Up style originated in Jamaica by a young man named George Adams, the dance style reached New York City in the early 90s. Mixing with 90s Hip Hop and Rock and Roll in Brooklyn Bruk Up evolved into Flexing.
Development of this style solely belongs to a showcase of Brooklyn, New York named Flex N Brooklyn, which united and cultivated the youth of the streets through this art form. It is a highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary, which continuously grows. It is performed with the accompaniment of music from all genres and has been influential as a form of dance globally. Flexing is taught all around the world, because of this new vocabulary is created constantly due to influence of cultures and societies.
It is a style of dance that truly possesses the foundational techniques for many other dance forms and unlocks true potential of the user’s body and mind. This genre of dance is very difficult to master and requires much practice.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya_RZZc1Ljw Fundraiser video directed by Janne Harlem.
https://vimeo.com/122058644 Short film directed by Christian Anwander showing some of the teachers in the Flex program.
* Flex Dancers performing at Battle Fest 2014.
The Flex Program is funded by the Stephen & May Cavin Leeman Foundation. The Leeman Foundation focuses on programs serving children and youths in New York City.
The Flex program is also funded by individual donations through crowdfunding.
MAKE A SECURE ONLINE DONATION TO SUPPORT THE PROGRAM:
If you decide to donate by check, please send contributions to Ragnhild Bruland, 1102 Bedford Avenue, 11216 Brooklyn. Checks should be made payable to Fractured Atlas, with THE FLEX PROGRAM in the memo line. The Flex Program is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of The Flex Program must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Thank you in advance for your generous support.
ALL DONATIONS GO DIRECTLY TO THE DANCE TEACHERS TO COMPENSATE THEM FOR THEIR WORK WITH THE YOUTH!
FLEX PROGRAM STAFF:
Ransford “Jeezy” Odoi
Head-Teacher / Dance Instructor
Jeezy started dancing when he was about 8 years old. He is a self-taught dancer but his biggest inspiration was his good friend Kemar. Jeezy has done a lot of extreme street dance completions like Battlefest, L.o.u.d (league of unreal dancing) and D.R.E.A.M. He has also done freestyle performance dance with a modern dancer. Jeezy is the Head-Teacher of the Flex Program and has taught kids in the community as well as in public schools.
Genard “Ptah” Blair
Assistant Director / Dance Instructor
Genard “Ptah” Blair began his education in dance at Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented and Charles Moore Dance Theatre. After moving to Jamaica to further his education at Ardenne High School Ptah was recruited for his school troupe, ESOR dance ensemble, and various groups around the world from New York to Denmark. With a background in Ballet, African, Dancehall, and Reggae among other styles, he has developed a unique style around Flexing.
Jeremy “Optimus Opt” Perez
Opt started dancing when he was 12 years old (2007). He taught himself how to Flex, but with a lot of practice with other Flex dancers helped him. His biggest inspiration is his father. He danced at extreme dance competitions like Battlefest, D.R.E.A.M, L.o.u.d., Performed on BET, “Fabolous” Music Video, Fela Kuti’s “Zombie”. Opt is one of the main dance teachers in the Flex Program where he inspires youth how to Flex specializing in bonebreaking.
Sticchols “Stickz” Silva
Steve A. Harvey Aka Stickz is a Dancer From Brooklyn,NY. Representative of the free from movement better yet known as Bruk up. Repping The Brooklyn Warriorz. Sticks started dancing in 2006, and has performed in many acknowledged shows and dance-battles.
Jermaine “Flizzo” Clement
Nicholas “Nicc Fatal The Problem” Barbot
ABOUT THE FOUNDER OF THE FLEX PROGRAM:
Ragz (Ragnhild Bruland) grew up in Norway where she studied psychology at the University of Oslo. She has background in musical theater, dance and music, and a variety of experience working with kids and youth. When moving from Norway to New York years ago Ragz was inspired to work with youth and dancing, and she quickly gained interest in hip hop and street styles.
She earned her MA in psychology from the New School for Social Research in 2014, and decided to develop the Flex dance program for youth in secure detention. She works with skilled Flex street dancers who mentor the kids, and inspire them to dance through the struggle.
With her artistic background, and as a recent Psychology Graduate, she strongly believes in the value of artistic expression and its positive effects on mental health.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, cell: 347 362 3272