Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hip Hop Diplomacy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: May 30, 2015

Who knew Hip Hop was popular in Kyrgyzstan? Today, was the first Krygyz-American Hip Hop Festival held in Bishkek. The event was sponsored by the US Embassy in Bishkek. The US Hip Hop performers, all from New York City, arrived several days earlier to teach master classes in Hip Hop dance techniques. The US Hip Hop masters truly were diplomats and they are the modern face of America. Today was a chance for both the masters and the students to show their stuff.

Cricket (shown below) amazed the crowd and his fellow hip hop masters--and he was just warming up.

After warming up, the competition began..., There were dance offs with two Kyrgyz students at a time competing against each other. Then, the judges voted on which student was the best.

The festival performers included three paraplegic kids confined to wheelchairs except when they were dancing. 

After about 3 hours of watching and with shade barely available, I left the festival. I didn't realize that it had about 2-3 hours still to go, and I missed most of the performances by the US hip hop masters. They were staying in our hotel so I did get to chat with them about the master classes and their art. I especially enjoyed talking to Cebo. I saw him warming up, but did not see him dance. He is the CEO/Artistic Director of a dance company called Next Generation-NYC.

Still, it was another extraordinary day in Kyrgyzstan.