turfing

is an American urban social style of dance originating in Oakland, California, in the midst of gang violence, poverty, and a range of other social ills. The foundation of this style is based on various dances from different "turfs" of Oakland that came about in the 1990s up to the present. Emerging alongside the Hyphy movement (which also originated in Oakland), turfing has a playful side as is most popularly embodied in “going dumb," which means to completely “let it all go” on the dance floor.

To go dumb like that is a reaction to unemployment, to feeling abandoned, to feeling like there's no hope. You want to let it all go, so you just go dumb” - Stanley Kirk Burrell (a.k.a. MC Hammer)

 

Aside from the carousing aspect of the dance, a significant part of turfing is storytelling through pantomiming and performing other optical illusions with the body and movement. When on stage together, it becomes apparent that turfing and ballet share several things in common: an incredible fluidity in movement, a similar aesthetic as seen in the shapes of each style, and above all, a powerful and enduring life force that is incorruptible and irrepressible.

The title of the project comes from the ancient symbol of the lotus flower as representing one who is following “the path.” The lotus grows in mud, under water where comparable life might suffocate. As it ascends and breaks surface, the flower remains pristine, unstained by the waters of experience, though still rooted in the mud from which it came.