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Hip-hop, dance and art, all with the French joie de vivre, will spring to live at Alliance Française’s’ Second Annual Urban Corps Festival. There won’t be any of the 2-Chainz variety of radio-ready rap, au contraire. Expect the best and brightest of France’s urban art scene, like dance crews KLP and De Fakto.

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While the full schedule is posted, we’ve broken down our favorite events. Check out the myriad of artist previews, and whether outdoor art showcases or fantastic displays of body popping is your deal, enjoy the week-long festival. Or rather, amusez-vous bien!

FLOW with Albus Cavus, Urban Artistry, and Forward Fest DC
Sunday, May 12 from 12 – 8 p.m.
Garfield Park, 800 3rd St, SE
Free to the public


The Urban Corps’ festival kicks off in tandem with the closing of another, Urban Artistry’s International Soul Society Festival. For visitors, this means you can expect the best fusion of hip-hop and art, with live paintings, dance and music. Bring your board if you want to skate with locals too, and perhaps your GoPro too to capture murals by legendary artists like Pop Master Fable, Scotty76, HKS181 as you cruise by.




“La Nina de la Casa Azul” by De Fakto
Wednesday, May 15
Takoma Park-Silver Spring Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave  Silver Spring, MD
$20 / $15 for AFDC Members


French choreographer Aurélien Kairo, famous for portraying historical figures like Friedrich Nietzche through dance, brings his interpretation of Frida Kahlo to Montgomery College. Accompanied by varying tunes, from the regality of Phillip Glass compositions to Screamin’ Jay Hawkings’ haunting “I Put a Spell on You,” the De  Fakto dance company founder will portray Kahlo’s equally beautiful and tragic life.

Plus, if illustrator Fabian Ciraolo’s own interpretation of the Mexican painter is any indication, she’s down with the French. At least their two most famous DJs.

(Illustration by Fabian Ciraolo)

Werk it, gurl.


KLP and Backpack Jax with special guest DJ Baronhawk
Thursday, May 16
Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
$12 / $7 for AFDC Members


Head over to the Artisphere in Arlington for Backpack Jax’s beats and KLP’s moves, and the best stage names this side of l’Arc de Triomphe. Mired with suspenseful, highly-syncronized moves, the KLP dance company will be breaking live as Backpack Jax jams along. If the performance rivets you enough to get up on the dance floor, DC native DJ Baronhawk will host an after party in the space. Even more riveted? Support Backpack Jax and KLP’s Indiegogo campaign to bring their French Connexion tour across the U.S.! And maybe, Jax will hook you up with dat goodshit.


“What Did You Say?” by Brahim Bouchelaghem
Friday, May 17
Gallaudet University Elstad Auditorium, 800 Florida Ave, NE
$20 / $15 for AFDC Members

bouchelaghem 2

Brahim Bouchelaghem takes his own life experiences within and channels them in this performance. His mentor, Carolyn Carlson, an American dancer, choreographer, and poet, provides the narration for his dance.  Instead of looping beats, the soundtrack loops Carlson’s poetic voice, hanging on her final words while Bouchelaghem pops through each line break. Watch a preview of a similar performance below, but look forward to seeing him add on current experiences to the mix on Friday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VbbMkRgIAE

Urban Corps Live in the Park
Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m.
Kalorama Park, Columbia Road, 1875 Columbia Rd NW
Free to the Public

Urban Corps - Kalorama Park 2012

The festival ends just like it started, with more outdoor awesomeness. De Fakto, the dance crew that brought you the Frieda Kahlo inspired piece, will be on hand again for another demonstration. Same with Cie. Zahrbat, whom Bouchelaghem performs for. So close out the festival right, getting up close and personal with these talented crews.



The Embassy of France and Alliance Française of Washington are hosting a writing contest with one lucky winner receiving an all-expense paid trip to France this summer for the International Dance-Song-Comedy Festival in Châteauroux, France.

Contestants must submit one critique (200-500 words) in French about a single show during the Urban Corps Festival.

Open to high school/college/grad students age 18-25 in MD/DC/VA/PA/DE/WV.

An all access pass to the festival is available for students for $20.

Recommended to sign up by May 11 but possible until May 18.

Full schedule of events:

Sunday, May 12 // FLOW with Albus Cavus, Urban Artistry, and Forward Fest DC
Monday, May 13 // Urban Corps Selections
Tuesday, May 14 // Comparing Dance Aesthetics & Funding in France and the U.S. (conference)
Tuesday, May 14 // “93: La Belle Rebelle” (documentary)
Wednesday, May 15 // La Nina de la Casa Azul by Cie. De Fakto
Thursday, May 16 // Beats and breakdance with KLP and Backpack Jax, followed by an open dance floor with DJ Baronhawk
Friday, May 17 // “What Did You Say?” by Brahim Bouchelaghem
Saturday, May 18 // Urban Corps Live in the Park