Raphael Xavier & Gary Dourdan
A multitalented artist who has forged an exceptional approach to improvisation, Raphael Xavier is a self-taught hip-hop dancer and has practiced breaking since 1983. His work draws upon B-boy culture and his background as a photographer and musical artist. As a sound designer, his understanding of movement and musicality allows him to structure beats, noises, and sounds into captivating music that draws upon emotion and coincides with his choreography. Xavier started choreographing dance with the Brandywine School of Ballet in 1995 and spent years with the renowned hip-hop dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement; he’s been recognized as a Pew Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and United States Artist Fellow and his solo and ensemble choreographic dance works have been performed worldwide. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Xavier currently lives in Philadelphia and is a guest lecturer in dance at Princeton University.
Born in Philadelphia, Gary Dourdan (Kolâde Kouyaté) evolved in a culturally rich environment: His uncle was a saxophonist who played with Platinum Hook and Sister Sledge, his brother was a DJ on WRTI radio, and his father encouraged his children to explore literature and the arts. A graduate of the prestigious Freedom Theatre Performing Arts training program, Dourdan relocated to New York where he spearheaded two musical projects, the eclectic act Rent Money and rock band New Congregation, and also sang for the Bell Café Band. Dourdan is an actor who has appeared on CSI and in the film Alien Resurrection and has performed at the Emmy Awards with Macy Gray and on stage with hip-hop artist DMC at the Live 8 concert in Ontario, Canada. He works closely with multiple nonprofit organizations including the Heart Fund, aimed at bringing “state-of-the-heart” surgery to children in need in areas such as Haiti, India, and West Africa.