Initiated by artistic director Rashad Pridgen, the Global Street Dance Project & Masquerade (GSDM) is an interdisciplinary dance performance-ceremony, live art procession, creative direct action and community engagement practice that culminates in the creation of full body masquerade suits. Paying homage to the ancient tradition of masquerading worldwide, the GSDM honors the root of this multi-dimensional ritual coming from the African continent and its Diaspora.
As an interactive urban art investigation, motivated by socially conscious issues, the GSDM utilizes the histories of street dance and its aesthetic connection to traditional dance & presentation. Reaching back to move forward in a Sankofa of rhythm, the articulation of what cannot be expressed in words is central to the GSDM mission. Project oriented, the GSDM seeks to embrace ceremonial performance to activate metropolitan environments and engage inner-city audiences.
The African Diaspora’s masquerade is an ancient and sacred tradition which emerges in a variety of ways from country to country, as well as in many different nations from around the world. Humans have used the masquerade (dance under cloth & adornment) to embodying ancestors, angelic beings, spirit animals, earth elements and energies from the unknown for thousands of years. The power of the Global Street Dance Masquerade articulates this other worldly experience to bring it forward into the 21 century.
In partnership with SOMArts, the Global Street Dance Masquerade will create new interdisciplinary performance and public art thanks to a generous grant received from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The #gsdmasquerade utilizes SOMArts’ performance venue and studio space to develop its unique dance procession and design plan. With an invitation to multiple community partners, research integrates somatic practices, underground movement and theater to develop performance narratives about the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact of People of Color in the LGBTQ community.
Facilitated by artistic director Rashad Pridgen; rehearsal, dance workshops and open dance sessions are conducted to engage communities, using dance as holistic healing and social justice training. The #gsdmasquerade 2017 will culminate with new masquerade suits presented for Black History Month and in tribute to Prince escorted by the POC and LGBTQ communities.
Upcoming Global Street Dance Masquerade performances:
- The Masquerade 4 Prince: Saturday, April 29, 7:00–8:00 pm. Starting location: Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street, San Francisco
- A Grand March at SOMArts: Saturday, May 6. More information coming soon!
As a dance-performance artist, I use theater, garment design, sound and video to present elevated concepts on race, diversity, culture and urban ritualism. I explore the future dance aesthetic through the lens of the African Diaspora to re-claim expression, interpret multi-cutluralism and connect ancestry through artistry. My current work The Global Street Dance Masquerade is an interdisciplinary dance, performance, ceremony, live art, procession, creative direct action and community engagement practice that culminates in the creation of full-body masquerade suits. Paying homage to the ancient traditions of masquerading worldwide, the GSDM honors the roots of this multi-dimensional practice coming from the African Continent and its Diaspora. With a futurist perspective my practice investigates urgent current events, the utilization of modern materials to create conceptual garment designs and the transformation of non-traditional public space to create performative narrative.
About Artistic Director Rashad Pridgen:
Rashad Pridgen is a multidisciplinary dance-performance artist and creative director. Rashad’s artistic works span dance, theater, music video, fashion and interdisciplinary creative project making. He is the artistic director of The Global Street Dance Masquerade and AfroHouseHop dance technique. Credits include (Dance-Performer) Dying While Black and Brown at Harvard Law School and UMass Amherst 2013-2014 season; choreographed by Joanna Hiagood/Zaccho Dance Theater. He Moved Swiftly…The Ed Mock Project conceptualized by Amara Tabor Smith. (Dancer/Choreographer) Babylon Is Burning directed by Sean San Jose (Performer) Keith Haring:The Political Line opening & closing exhibition at De Young Museum (Choreographer) RunBoyRun, H.O.M.E, Babylon is Burning, Superheroes directed by Campo Santo and Sean San Jose (stage choreographer) Zakiya Harris & Elephantine’s “Higher” STAND! Tribute to Sly and the Family Stone presented on KQEDarts at the Oakland Fox Theater. (Music Video) Call Your Love Nataly Dawn, Kimpton Pride 2016 YOUTube commercial, Say You Know promo Zena Carlota, Get That Body Back Pomplamose, Infatuation Zion I, Super African Sila, (Commissions & Institutes) choreographer for Question Bridge: Black Males at the Oakland Museum (Creative Director) Gorgeous opening: a live fashion show & performance at The Asian Art Museum’s.
The Global Street Dance Project has presented at Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, The Academy of Sciences, The De Young Museum, SOMArts, Dance Mission, and Intersection For the Arts. Rashad is currently adjunct faculty at University of San Francisco where he teaches Global Street Dance and Hip-Hop in the Performing Arts and Social Justice department.
Photo credit: Tommy Lau, Field of Inquiry at Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, The Global Street Dance Masquerade “The Bio-Spirit Safety Suit.” Artistic Director: R.Pridgen; Dancer: Johnny Nguyen; Drummer: Adan Ortega.