2019 Recap: Soul Power Cypher Vol. 3

On September 7, 2019, Rebuild Foundation hosted Soul Power Cypher Vol. 3 in collaboration with BraveSoul Movement at the Stony Island Arts Bank. This all ages street dance jam was the culmination of a summer of youth programming hosted by BraveSoul Movement at Dorchester Art & Housing Collaborative. BraveSoul’s residency with Rebuild Foundation began in partnership with Chicago Dancemakers Forum in 2018, and has been so impactful for our spaces and neighbors that we look forward to expanding it further in 2020. We are so grateful to BRAVEMONK and Kelsa Robinson, the Founders of BraveSoul, and to all of the artists, performers, and participants who make this program so special. Read on for Brave’s recap.

Guest written by Daniel “BRAVEMONK” Haywood, teaching artist with Rebuild Foundation

Soul Power Cypher Vol. 3 was truly an amazing event & experience, gathering awesome talent, passion, and community together as part of a Free Outdoor Street Dance Jam! Soul Power Cypher is a growing & evolving Platform, Event, Music + Dance Party, giving Highlight & Honor along with Performances, Battles + Prizes..!

As something that was initially conceptualized 8+ yrs ago, especially at a time when I felt certain aspects of the culture, many things I directly relate and associate to Blackness, weren’t being uplifted, highlighted and honored, I wanted to create a space and experience where those very things could be held up, respected and valued. It was a big part of my initial vision with Soul Power Cypher to bring back and continue to add to the essence of the Culture: Music, Dance, Vibe, Community, Jam & Celebration of Life..!

The Space it’s in has always been an important factor. Having had its 2nd and now 3rd iteration instilled here at the Stony Island Arts Bank, in the community on the Southside of Chicago, it feels like its seeds have truly taken to the soil. Experiencing the roots and branches along with having my world and cyphers converge is nothing less than pure magnificence. People traveled from up north, out west, over east, down south, outside, inside & across the City. Community figures, artists, youth, elders, locals and out-of-towners all in one place.


My partner Kelsa & I organized weekly workshops and open practice sessions in street dance styles (including breaking, house, hip-hop, popping and Chicago footwork) to uplift and bring youth, teens and adults from several communities and across Chicagoland together to build powerful relationships & skills through music and dance.

We’re excited to keep the momentum moving hosting Open Sessions with BraveSoul Movement through Rebuild Foundation for the Fall! (Click link for Weekly Session Details) https://www.facebook.com/events/706197819882856


The weekly sessions culminated with Soul Power Cypher, a family-oriented jam centered around street dance and Hip-Hop culture featuring and celebrating Black artists and Black culture. The aim of the event was to engage residents from local community areas as well as street dance practitioners and friends from across the City and around the Midwest.


We had 200-300 attendees, including some of the top street dance competitors in the Midwest in Breaking, Chicago Footwork, and other street dance styles. In addition to cyphers & street dance battles, the event also included youth battles and youth cypher awards, where young dancers who had been training with us in the weekly Sessions got a chance to shine. Other activities included music, spoken word and dance performances. B’Rael, a phenomenal local artist, put on a soulful display of artistry & also served as co-host along with The Jam’s main Host, the incredible legendary MC Anyi Ahlation (Co-host of the longest running Open Mic + Hip-Hop Night in the Nation), who dropped an incredibly fierce & flawless freestyle showing why a female’s skillz should never be questioned! The event’s musical sounds were blessed by the very talented DeeJayz, DJ Virgil 7 & DJ + Producer Sir Tmo in the outside courtyard area of The Stony Island Arts Bank. The following heads came out as the day’s First Place Winners of Soul Power Cypher Vol 3: Breaking Battle – “Beest Boy”, (Chicago) Footwork Battle – “Devin”, Open-Styles Battle – “Release” and for the Youth Battle – “Bboy A.M.P.“. Shout out to the judges Black Attack, Quanzy, Pep-C, JRon, Weezy & myself for doing an incredible job making calls & decisions throughout the day!


***There was a very special moment which gave Tribute to Tamir Rice (a 12-year old African-American boy shot by 26-year-old police officer Timothy Loehmann on 22 November 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio) led by Blue on behalf of BraveSoul Movement under the Gazebo his Mother had rebuilt in the space to allow his memory to live on & not be forgotten, Turning Pain into Power..!***

We were able to Keep All the Sessions + the Jam Free..!!  This was achieved through our amazing partnership with Rebuild Foundation and a grant through the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, which allowed us to pay the incredible artists and keep the event free for the community.

In closing, I can say I truly feel we made a big Impact, and we really want to take a moment to say that we appreciate all the love, awesomeness, and everyone who helped make Soul Power Cypher Vol. 3 an Amazing Event & Experience!!! We look forward to continuing to build with Rebuild and growing the Soul Power Cypher platform!

Below I’m also embedding a previous IG post that I hope you will read & take in from an interview about What it Means & My Aim being an Artist in residence + partnering with Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation. 

Love & Light – Daniel “BRAVEMONK” Haywood

View this post on Instagram

#Repost @rebuild_foundation ・・・ "Hip-Hop is a universal and global force. It’s actually America’s largest cultural export. Hip-Hop and street dance are an enormous economy all over the world right now with huge professional competition circuits like Juste Debout and Red Bull BC One, and performance platforms like Breakin’ Convetion in the UK. It’s even taken over the airwaves with shows like World of Dance, and it was just announced that breaking is going to be in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. While breaking and these other street dance forms have universal appeal, they all grew out of African American culture, and in particular were invented by African Diasporic youth in urban environments. The goal in partnering with Rebuild is to provide opportunities for Black youth in the surrounding communities to see and understand the inherent value in their cultural productions, to build not only self-worth, but to also see how that can translate into something tangible economically. And it’s also about getting others connected to and invested in the communities where these forms were birthed and continue to develop out of. As Black folks, we dance, that’s what we do. And it’s fun and social but we don’t necessarily see it as a pathway to sustain ourselves and our communities. So what we are doing is planting seeds that have the power to grow into whatever we can imagine for our lives and communities." — Daniel @Bravemonk Haywood (Phaze II/@BraveSoulMovement) Be sure to stop by Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative tonight for our open session with Brave Soul Movement at 6PM! #RebuildFoundation #BraveSoulMovement #Brave #Soul #Movement #Dance #House #Footwork #ChicagoFootwork #Session #OpenSession #DanceSessions #DanceMakers #DancerLife #UrbanDance #BreakLife #FreestyleSession #Breakin #Bboy #Bgirl #HipHopDancers #Art #Expression #Music #Breaks #Funk #Soul #Juke #Community

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