The Emergence of Safiyyah Dance

October 24, 2011

Entertainment, Feature

By:  George Addison


I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important.  What is important is the quality of your work.”

Alvin Ailey

The art of dance by most definitions is simply described as – “To move rhythmically usually to music, using prescribed or improvised steps and gestures,” (Merriam-Webster).  Whether you are a fan of early ritual, ballet, modern or hip-hop dancing, dance means different things to each person impacted by it.  But, to many others it means unbridled passion, creativity, joy, boundless expression, raw strength, elegance and beauty.

What’s more interesting is the fact that Louisville, Kentucky, known as the home of notables like former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, ABC News Anchor Diane

Safiyyah Dance founder and CEO Safiyyah Rasool - Photo Courtesy: Safiyyah Dance

Sawyer and Renowned Sculptor Ed Hamilton, is the conceptual playground for an exciting talented hip-hop dance choreographer named Safiyyah Rasool.

Safiyyah’s emergence in the world of hip-hop dance has her on the fast track to becoming a star in a genre’ she describes as young, vibrant, growing and never ending. Known by her peers and fans as “Safiyyah,” The Louisville native started pursuing her career in 2004 –2005 while learning and training with some of the country’s best traditional and hip-hop choreographers from studios like Atlanta’s 401 Dance Studio, Los Angeles based Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio and the Atlanta Ballet.

Many of her instructors have worked with the likes of Beyonce, Usher, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Brittany Spears and others.  In 2007

Choreographer Safiyyah Rasool with members of her dance crew Alter EGO. Photo Courtesy: Safiyyah Dance

Safiyyah took the knowledge imparted on her and began teaching kids in communities in Los Angeles, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky.

Now with a strong following of students and dance professionals supporting her efforts, Safiyyah credits the city of Louisville for affording her the unique opportunity to develop and enhance the art form of hip-hop dance in a new and exciting way.

Performing with her dance crew “Alter EGO,” she keeps her skills sharp, and frequently rehearses new innovative dance moves.  Through “Safiyyah Dance” studio the troupe performs four or five professional shows each year that exhibit the true hip-hop culture and not the negative stereotype of dance seen in some movies and television shows.

Safiyyah recently got a call to choreograph a dance routine and do back up dancing with R&B / Pop recording artist Raye Jaye.  I asked her what impact does she want to have on the culture of Hip-Hop dance.  She said,  “I definitely would love to one day be considered as the Alvin Ailey of Hip-Hop dance.  My dream, my goal is to have a lot of very talented dancers come from my studio and send them out from Louisville, and have them perform or choreograph routines for big name artist around the world.”

Dance Crew Alter EGO performs in several productions throughout the year. Photo Courtesy: Safiyyah Dance

Safiyyah further stated that she wants dance students to have the right environment to learn.  Adding, “dance students need to have the proper training and professional guidance for success in order to become great dancers and choreographers.  Safiyyah Dance Studio wants to be that creative force behind making their dream a reality.

The future for “Safiyyah Dance,” really looks bright.  With a number of productions planned for 2012, Safiyyah is focused on performing and hopefully garnering an opportunity to choreograph routines for Old Navy, the GAP, Coco Cola, Disney, MTV, BET and others.

Asked about what she would consider to be the highlight performance goal of a lifetime, Safiyyah replied, “Performing a routine with Janet Jackson would be the ultimate career benchmark. She’s super awesome and the opportunity to work with her would be like a dream come true.  But I am open to work with anyone who approaches me.  I see it as another chance to get people to appreciate this fantastic art form.”

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3 Comments on “The Emergence of Safiyyah Dance”

  1. Safiyyah Says:

    This is very nice George:)

  2. Venus Ludlow-Alexander Says:

    Great write-up! I’m very impressed. Keep up the good work Safiyyah!

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