CRIP_walk Retrograde

This choreography walks an uneven pace. What steps throw their bones from one place to the next without positioning themselves.

Or ever move ahead. The title CRIP_walk Retrograde literally stands for the work’s core motive.

The CRIP walk is the trademark move of The Crips. The Crips is the infamous gangs from the South Central area in Los Angeles, which in the early 70’s were affiliated to The Black Panthers, but soon got involved in weapons, homicide, robbery, drug dealing and other violent crime. What at first was a single group of activists, turned into a network of criminal gangs, often at war with one another. As of now, The Crips is the strongest network of gangs in the US, with well over 30 000 members.

Right from the start, The Crips gangs set their own dressing style and dancing behavior. Blue suits, hats and canes, and a “crippled” kind of walk, like a laid back limp, which eventually turned into the crip-walk (crip for cripple). The crip-walk is a set of intricate dance sequences, performed with a self assured, provocative attitude, hips forward, body weight down, disjointed limbs in daring twists, whilst shifting between heels and toes, spinning a complex pattern of footwork that remains on the spot. Right on the street corner, on its own “spot”, the crip-walk manifests its own ”swag” and by that claims its own territory. Claims the right to express his body, his language, and his movement. This is how the crip-walk became a symbol for the right to self-determination. A symbol that came to determine the entire rap culture and its early revolution, soon after to be high-jacked by the hip-hop music industry of which the crip-walk still as of today is the basic trait.

CRIP_walk Retrograde embraces the swift and complex footwork of the crip-walk, then turns it inside out and spreads it out over an open field where hesitant figures are dancing uncertain steps that remain off balance between places. Neither cool nor aggressive, rather easy in their vague and dissolute swaging into a self chosen outside. Instead of affirming the individual and the culture he belongs to, this choreography dissipates its own steps and by that also the very notion of the individual and the tribal claim for own territory.

Finally. Retrograde signifies a backwards motion. Usually in the meaning of regressive, negative, unwelcome, reactionary, or of a return to previous and less advantageous condition. In astrology, on the other hand, retrograde means a trajectory’s deviation from the norm (from east to west). In geology, it stands for a metamorphosis, for a transformation caused by lowered temperature and lesser pressure. Retrograde also is the title of a James Blake song, where he uses a looping machine to warp his voice so he can sing with a different voice. In this choreography, retrograde stand for the turn-over that flips a trajectory and, due to extreme cold and low blood pressure, transforms its own morphology and yet remains the same. Moreover, that like James Blake, runs a backwards move that allows it to alter its voice and walk the unlimited loop of self-induced difference.