085. Kyle 'Just Sole' and Dinita 'Queen Di' Clark: Street Dance, culture, and community

Podcast show ntoes


Highlight

Kyle: It’s actually a surrendering to music.

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: That’s what dance says, it’s a surrendering, it’s a commitment, it’s a letting go of your preconceived notion to accept it, to express your conceived notion with it. It’s a relationship. If you don’t let go of yourself, then it can’t come into you. You can’t go into it. When you go into it you know when a dancer is into it, they’re in the music right now.

Dinita: Yeah, you know it instantly.

Kyle: You know.


Introduction

Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine. Welcome to the Movers Mindset Podcast, where I talk with movement enthusiasts to learn who they are, what they do and why they do it. This is episode number 85, Kyle and Dinita Clark, better known as Just Sole and Queen Di, Street Dance Culture and Community.

Craig: Some things go beyond a passion to become a way of life for Just Sole and Queen Di that way of life is street dance. They share their story, how they started dancing, their backgrounds and their work as choreographers and professors. Just Sole and Queen Di describe their experiences with dance from clubbing to teaching and explain the culture and community of street dance. They discuss family, home and travel, and how dance weaves through everything in their lives. They are dancers, choreographers, educators, and parents. Currently college professors, they have competed taught, traveled, and performed together around the world for the last decade. Just Sole and Queen Di founded the Just Sole Street Dance Theater Company and the educational program, Funky Sole Fundamentals to preserve the culture and styles of hip hop, funk, and house dance. For more information, go to moversmindset.com/085 and while you’re there, take a look around, you’ll find information, show notes, and more from every single one of our 85 episodes. Thanks for listening.


Movement and music history [2:09]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: So thinking back to your childhoods, and I’m assuming you guys didn’t know each other in childhood, that would be really, we’d be going right there.

Kyle: Right.

Craig: But thinking back to your childhoods, what role did movement play in your childhood, your formative years?

Kyle: Wow, ladies first.

Dinita: Oh yeah while growing up, Movement has always been an everyday practice. It was something that we just naturally did in the household. It was a social thing, a cultural thing. Saturday morning cleaning up, the music was playing and as the music played, we naturally would dance and express ourselves and that’s just something that was natural to us.

Kyle: Everything she said.

Craig: I love how you say, “What she said.”

Kyle: Yeah I mean it was mutual, the same thing. Both of my parents were funkateers, they kept tones of records, my dad had tons of records so Saturday morning was their play time, you’d go over to Great Grandma’s house, she’s playing the Thriller albums, you know what I mean? So the music was there and we always danced around whenever we heard it.

Craig: So I Thriller, I saw the tour.

Kyle: Wow.

Craig: The [inaudible 00:03:20] I think I was 14 at the time, but yeah, I saw him do that. Was there ever a time when you weren’t moving? I know that your story, I’m just going to say Sole, so I know that your story involves your grandmother teaching you piano and so it sounds like there’s a part there where your family wanted you to learn more than move, but then your grandmother saw something. So I’m thinking your grandmother was a bit of a catalyst to get you to somehow combine maybe music with movement?

Kyle: Yeah. Well both of my grandmothers were pianists for over 50 years so eventually one of them were going to teach me. My father’s mother just happened to be the first one to be like, “Hey, come on,” at three years old, she sat me in front of a piano and I actually remember this all to this day. So that was my introduction into music and they stayed with us on the piano and they sang and my family had a choir that went along with the church, so I had to sing and didn’t know I could and could.

Kyle: And so it was this whole thing. So I had a multitude of different routes coming up when it came to music. So I think the movement part came in a little bit from the frustration that I couldn’t sit still. And I was a night owl and the other half was when I lit up seeing things like Gregory Hines. He was that first person that clicked the switch. And I was like, wow, seeing a tap and like 88 or something like that, that right there, it just sent my mind, like that way. I was like, wow, guys do that. Like, you know, so that’s kind of where that started.

Dinita: Cool. I mean, for me the same thing, I was told that my mom was dancing when she was pregnant with me. So naturally I came out as a mover, but just kind of like all kids, all children love to move, especially when you’re playing music and it’s daily practice for you growing up. So also along with that, being born in 83, so you figure by the time I’m like six, seven, eight, you know, I’m watching like that’s the late eighties. So then we’re, you know, that’s the truth

Craig: Element is readily accessible as a pre-internet. I mean, yeah, digital, I’m not a digital native, you’re not digital imports, but the TV, there was a lot I can remember. I mean, in my household it was American bandstand, Dick Clark. And, but yeah, sorry I interrupted you.

Dinita: No, no, but yeah, just being serious, like, you know, we had soul train, right. We were looking at soul train. Right. So that definitely played a big, you know, had a big impact on me as a child and just looking and seeing that visually and going back to thriller and Michael Jackson and being exposed to Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson and then early movies like breaking one and breaking into dirty dancing breeze. You know? So we were, when we saw that, I think naturally I was encouraged to get up and move and be inspired by what it is. I saw also on TV as well as within a household.


Can everyone dance? [6:27]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: So every time that I have a chance to talk to someone, different people, I’m always drawn in two directions. One is what should movers mindset be talking about? Like, what… Because I have ideas about how movement is a fundamental aspect. And people have been like dancing for hundreds of thousands of years. And there’s, there’s a component of movement. Not just dance the way we do it recreationally is correct. Creationally these days. So that’s one thing that I would love to get to it. But the other one I had was the other thing that draws me is like, just questions I want to ask, like, you guys like it can everybody dance, like, and this is not, let’s do dance lessons. I’m not a good dancer, but can everybody dance? Like, cause my thought is there is something like, so I like to watch dance videos with the sound turned off.

Craig: When I watched you guys dance, I was still doing, you know, the stupid seat dance I used to, I did it with no sound like, so there’s a visual, I’m not, you know, I’m watching through a screen of a prerecorded thing. I can’t, I intentionally can’t hear the music. All I can see is the body in motion. And I was curious because I wanted to see how the two of you communicated while you’re dancing. Best way. I think you’d do that is just turn the sound off and watch. So my actual question is, although you’re welcome to turn left on any of these sites. My actual question is, do you think everybody can dance? And like, what the heck is it? Is it, is this like in our lizard brains? Like we can’t not dance.

Kyle: Okay. Dance is a form of expression. As in gesture is a form of expression. As it talking is a form of expression of expression. So innately or theoretically everyone can dance. Okay. It’s an innate thing. It’s an ability to speak. All of us don’t have a developed side of that speech. Does that make sense? But it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop it. Right. Right. It’s kind of sort of like learning a new language. Right? Right. So in that aspect, yes. Theoretically everybody can dance. It’s just how much you want to dance or what you’re dancing for. Dust determines where you go in it or why you do it.

Craig: And maybe how my other thought was. And maybe as you were discussing before with music who, if anyone’s sparked it in you. So I would to say, I always want to say “Princess Di,” but I think “Queen di” is better. Queen Di, the little, it was going to say like a note, but it’s like little image you gave me when you described cleaning. I can just picture it. Like I, cause I mean my Italian family didn’t do that, but I could just see how, how, yeah. Why, why wouldn’t you put something on the Victrola and rock out while you’re doing that. But that, you know, may not. That sounds like that was the thing that lit the fire. Maybe it wasn’t, but not everybody’s going to be in that kind of home before you got, you mentioned. Sorry. When I point nobody can hear that Karen make your own pointing queen.


Shaping culture, dance, music [8:53]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: You mentioned that you were watching things like soul train. And I brought up like American bandstand and stuff. And my thought was, have you guys ever considered how important the role is of the people who must have behind the scenes fought to get the music that they wanted on the show? Right? Like not just, the producers want us to play this crap that they’re, you know, the record label paid us to play, but there must’ve been somebody in those shows that was like, no, this is, we need to play this and that person must’ve offered that. I, my, my question is, have you ever thought about how much of a role you guys are playing? Like you’re playing that role in the dance community? It seems to me, do you think about that consciously or did I just mess the soup up?

Dinita: No, I think that’s an excellent question and observation, definitely. That is a part of why we do what we do. Restarted funky sole fundamentals, which is another one of our entities besides just little street dance theater, but funky soul fundamentals is dedicated to the preservation of hip hop house and punk dance styles. So we bring in the pioneers and as you educate as educators, as well as innovators of the street dance forms that have disseminated all of this information globally. So we thought it was, you know, imperative to bring them to Philadelphia. So the local community can have access to it because a lot of people, if they’re not in college, they don’t have access to what it is that we teach. So we consciously, you know, did that to provide people with the source. So they can then be inspired to take their movement and craft to the next level with history and culture guided behind it, the movement practice.

Dinita: Because you know, like you said, like when I was growing up, we put on music and that helped me. At least it helped me get through my chores. So it was a fun way for me to enjoy my responsibility. So it was a two phone kind of thing. But as I was dancing, then I wasn’t thinking about movement as practice. It was just something innately. Like my mom knew that I would be happy if I have music that I like. So then I’m more inclined to do what she asked me to do. Right. But yeah, we were conscious about the decision to teach the way we teach and to also teach what it is we teach.

Kyle: Right. And what else? Pioneers leave. There’s a responsibility to, to upkeep that information. If you’re a practitioner of set form, like it’s like, how do I put this? Not everybody is meant to be an organizer or a leader. Let me say that first. But if you’re going to want to push a culture to the next level, there comes a responsibility of how you disseminate that information. Now, as far as music is concerned, it’s about bringing it picking is about bringing it, bringing something to the table. Right. Right. Who are you? What’s your background? What are you about? And bring that to the table. So whatever music was good to you, you bring that. If people feel that they feel that they don’t, they don’t, but then you also want to be careful of what music you select based upon how you want the culture to be

Craig: You’re magnifying. Right? It has a, like a behind it has a behind the scenes, not just a little push, but it’s also like subtle behind the scenes. You can influence your students while you’re going to inflate your student, but you could do it inadvertently and pushing away that magnified. And suddenly now I, I don’t know anything about hip hop. I mean, but it’s like they’re in between house. I actually know the tiniest bit about like what popping and locking is. Like, I’ve had a guest who was talking about this, man. I know a little bit about that, but I can’t separate the dance styles, but it seems to me like you could inadvertently lead someone to really be passionate about one and then they kind of go that way thinking that’s the only thing that there is.


Dance training and backgrounds [13:05]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: Queen Di, I know you talked… I believe about ballet training when you were younger.And for, for me, like as a podcast or there’s like this information pollution, fear that I have. So on one side, I don’t want to know anything about you because in the back of my mind, I’m watching a video and I’m like, Oh yeah, I see ballet. Do I really do? I think I see ballet, or maybe the fact that I know that there’s ballet there means that it’s easier for her to talk to me about like, it’s like methamphetamines. So what I’m wondering is you guys have different formal training backgrounds and like a little kid, not that I’m belittling little kids ballet, they work really hard with the, the adolescent education backgrounds are very different from formal dance training. And do you find that that comes up? Like I’m guessing at this point, after a decade of dancing together and 15 years of like choreographing to get choreographing together, do you find that you actually have little arguments about like, I mean, I know you have arguments I’m married to ballet, like does the ballet beast go up against the jazz beast or like it’s just two people.

Dinita: And that I mean, the funny thing is, no, it was great. I mean, we both started fairly late in our formal training and ballet and modern. So I didn’t get like bawling and modern was always around when I was younger, but I was actually looking for a formal training in hip hop and street dance styles. And it just wasn’t around

Craig: What year was that? Just, I want to put a pin in the map

Dinita: When I, well, at 15 is when I started my ballet and modern dance training, but I could, I could walk anywhere and find that training when I was younger, but that’s not what I wanted. I actually wanted hip hop and street dance, but that was inaccessible. You would have people doing personal choreography, you know, which is great. But most of the time the movement was suggestive. And so was the music. And that’s not what I was looking for. I was looking for what I saw in the movie, breaking one and breaking into that, just wasn’t around. I fell in love with ballet and modern and high school because I had a third generation Horton t-shirt name, face, snow. And then also I had climbed Michael Hayes for ballet and they taught me everything that I knew. I walked in there with just brawl ability, doing my own thing to you, like hip hop party music.

Dinita: And I freestyle to get into that school. But in terms of actual formal training, they provided me with all of that. And within four years they developed me into a strong dancer. That’s how I got into you are. So I definitely appreciate, we both appreciate the training that we’ve received, but there was just something else on the other, on one side on field, when I’m dancing to gospel music and joining like modern dance. But on the other side, I knew there was a side of me that I wanted to further push, but I, it wasn’t accessible at the time. So it was just like one side was stagnant and the other one was Bali and modern. And that was great. But I wanted more, you know, if that makes sense.

Kyle: It does. And when, so her formal training came from one educator face. No, and mine came from Kim bear’s belly, which is another educator that as well-respected within the black dance community. So coming in the, and the classical way was coming up the same way. So, no, we didn’t have too many arguments about classical dance. The only arguments we had is what we couldn’t do. Like, look, you can do that. I can’t do that. Okay. Those are all arguments we have in there, but when it comes to hip hop, okay. So we both definitely come from two different backgrounds, right? So I’m coming out of the tap background, she’s coming out of African, right? So now our rhythm patterns and how we approach music is a little bit different. So I’m more of a, on the one kind of guy tap dance, right. And then there’s the high hat, the high hat, the end. And she’s in Caesar ad couch. So sometimes, yeah,

Craig: Dude, I saw Grace Kelly. I saw you dancing in tap. And I mean, I don’t know, I’m not a huge Grace Kelly fan, but I mean, sorry, grace, Kelly is the actress, sorry, Jean Kelly. That was a brain fart. That was not me thinking that you actually lived in grayscale. I saw moments in your…and you were doing street dance. The video that I was watching, there were moments in the street dance where I swear, I saw a tiny bit of Kelly in there and I was like, you do that on, this is the actual question. "Did you do that on purpose when you were dancing or does it just come out because it’s in your DNA.

Kyle: Part of it comes out from that. I didn’t watch too much gene Kelly a lot to be honest. A lot of that comes from the predecessors before gene Kelly, like your Nicholas brothers and things of that have that kind of style. So that jazz style then morph to Lindy hop from Lindy hop, then morph to hip hop. So it’s kind of like a linear thing. So some of the original steps were encapsulated through the birth of different movements. They stayed the same because the struggle stayed the same. You see what I’m saying? So it kind of stayed the same. So it comes through genetically to some degree, innately is some degree than others. It’s from whatever situation, community, or space that you’re in learning. So if you’re in a space where you have seasoned people that have been at a dance for a long time, you’re going to begin to pick up those idioms or, or small little nuances that you’re like, Oh, that looks like J Kelly. Well, we had a G Kelly, get that from you. See I’m saying yeah, like that. So that’s kind of how that rock. My favorite part is

Dinita: No, I’m wrong. I love that part. That’s the part where I’m like, I mean, the Grace Kelly thing is just crazy and the stupid little person

Kyle: Brain does not, she was wildly celebrated, no, nothing wrong, nothing wrong with that. That’s going to come to mind like Grace Kelly, when you’re dancing, you know what I mean? There are some idiots because that soft shoe kind of style is, were translated into vernacular jazz. Right? So that’s where that kind of, that line gets blurred.


Perceptions of street dance [19:00]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: We’ve been bopping around the different things. And one of the places I wanted to like, I, to me, it’s all like a giant soup and I like, I just pick random dots out. And so there’s, I don’t know if you guys were up at Dunbar core or art to do plus motor, if you’ve ever seen any of that stuff. So that’s where this project originally started was talking to people about par core. And one of the evergreen struggles in park is the public perception of the activity. So like, if, if like we were standing on this before, like I’m, I’m leaning on a concrete 36 inch balestrade. If we were standing on this before people look at you, like they’re old, man, you should know better. You’re going to fall and break your hip, you know? Right. And I’m guessing, this is why I want to know.

Dinita: I’m guessing that you don’t have to. So for us, that’s like, the struggle is real. I mean, people like I’ll be balancing on something. They’ll be like, get down. No, that’s dangerous. Well, it was, I mean, you distracting me makes it better. Like, what do you mean? But I’m guessing that even at your most edgy pushy pop-up street dance people don’t like tell you to knock it off. Does that, I mean, like, how does it work when you go into a space, do you feel like you’re generally free to just go in? Like if you guys just wanted to throw it down right here, I think people would like show up and want to know where the hat is for the money. Cause I’ve seen her dance, but I’m just thinking dance seems like it’s super accepted.

Kyle: No matter what it is. Am I? Well, no, it’s a, it’s a universal language folks debate. It’s not a language because it doesn’t have phonetics, like in regards to actual lettering that you can read and put and senses, but you actually can’t and that’s a conversation for another time, but still nonetheless. Yes, it is the people’s dads hip hop street dance is the people’s dance. So when you do it amongst the people it’s going to be received. Well, you know, of course people, some people are going to scoff. That’s what they do. Because if, if we allow people scoffing to affect us, that b-boys would have never did that thing. Be buoyant on cardboard. On our street corner. People got a, well, Bob, we’ve got to go work. We’ve got to get on a bus. And here they are with speakers and doing backspins right.

Kyle: So it’s one of those things where if it’s coming out of honesty, you’ll honestly get what you put it out. Does that make sense? People want to know, honestly, because they like, Oh, that you’re really dancing. I don’t see a head. I don’t see anything. I just, I want to be around that energy. It’s an auto, logical thing. You know, it’s a spiritual thing. It’s more than just a physical thing. When people feel it, they want it to come closer to it. Does that make sense? So yeah, it crosses fields. It gets into science. It’s, it’s another thing. I mean,

Craig: Do you secretly judge people who somehow managed to walk by and not be engaged? I watched people walk behind you guys. And I was like, yo, yo, yo homes, are you even looking like, do you even see this owner, whatever to you? Or are you just like in the zone? And you’re busy, you know how you smile so much? Well, you know, no, I mean on your answer, I can tell you’re smiling. Cause I can see your eyes. But I meant when you’re dancing, you smile a lot. I know what my face looks like when I’m doing something that’s physically taxing. I look like him and I’m just like, you really love what you’re doing. Like a good smile like that. So I, sorry, I’m saying, do you secretly judge people who somehow managed to not engage?

Dinita: No. I mean, you know, there were a lot of times where we were dancing and you know, for like a, a video and people would literally stop within the shot. And that is the most annoying thing like ever, because it’s like, clearly you see a videographer and we’re dancing and you’re just standing there in the shot. So then we got to do another tape, but I love when people naturally walk by because it’s just, you know, displaying everyday life, you know, like I pause for a second and this is how I celebrate, you know, and this is how I pray. So I’m going to do this right here on the spot, regardless of what’s going on around me. Because honestly when I’m dancing, I’m not to say I’m not paying attention to my surroundings, but the feeling of the dance takes over more than what’s going on around me.

Kyle: She’s always had that joy. That’s what we all love about her. See, she dances with a joy. It’s a joy that can’t be replicated. And when you feel that joy.

Kyle: It’s a joy that can’t be replicated. And when you feel that joy, you want to be around it.

Craig: Can’t be forced, yeah. You can’t fake that.

Kyle: Not at all.

Craig: Yeah. I don’t have that.

Kyle: Ask the queen.


Questions for each other [23:11]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: Queen, what’s something I should have asked Sole so far that I didn’t?

Dinita: Oh, well, he hasn’t written his book yet. Because everybody we meet-

Kyle: Oh my God.

Dinita: … they’re like, "Oh my God-

Kyle: If they did that.

Dinita: No. I mean, because-

Craig: Have you actually started?

Kyle: No. I have thoughts. It has a direction of my head. It’s just I just started graduate school, so it’s back to the real time writing again.

Craig: Oh, not the word.

Kyle: So it’s okay. It’s getting me into a mode and into a space where, okay, this is consistent writing. This is what this feels like. This is another sort of practice. So it’s just getting used to the practice of writing. Because I’ve been a physical and body practitioner for so long, it’s different to just sit down and write all day. So it’s an adjustment. I’m going to get to it.

Dinita: I’m just saying, only everybody asks you that.

Kyle: Yeah, yeah. We’re good. We’re good.

Craig: Every once in a while I wish I was shooting video because you’re missing the show.

Kyle: Right, right, right.

Craig: Of course, the question goes two ways. What should I have asked Queen Di?

Kyle: Oh man.

Craig: You didn’t see that coming?

Kyle: No, I didn’t see it coming. Wow. What it means to be a woman in the position that she is, within, not only culture, but academia.

Dinita: Oh, ball. Yeah. That’s a loaded question. Wow. I should have asked you a better one.

Kyle: No, it’s okay. It’s dead.

Craig: Ask him what it means to be a woman? I think of that when he answered that.

Dinita: It’s a great honor and a great privilege to stand in a place, to disseminate culture that I’ve been so graciously a part of within a Philadelphia community. There’s a lot of … when it comes to hip hop and street dance, people only look at the movement or the music, and they don’t search deeper to the meaning behind it. Or the culture of people who have lived in these clubs that have laid the foundation for what it is we do and what we teach, there were generations before us that shared with us, and I have been honored to be one of the only, or the only, female for years amongst the men, battling and entering ciphers and finding my own voice, and not being intimidated by what’s around me, but leveling up within my craft.

Dinita: So to be from … I understand the responsibility it is for me to serve as a woman that can inspire other women to accept what it is they have to say within their craft, and to push beyond what’s around them and set standards and boundaries for themselves.

Craig: Continuing on this train of thought, do you get pushback from within the dance space? Like there’s issues, we can talk about gender issues in society as a whole, we can talk about gender issues in religious context, but I’m just thinking, in dance, do you get pushback when you’re doing dance rehearsals? Or do you get pushback maybe because you’re in a position of power/authority now, and then people, like the dudes lower down, rebel? I’m just wondering, what’s the power dynamic that you’ve experienced? What is the negative power dynamic that you wish would go away?

Dinita: The funny thing about it is, people will test you, especially the men. If they’re learning from a woman, they’re like, “Oh, but what is it that she’s doing? Is she going to spin on her head? Because if he’s not doing that, I don’t particularly want to learn from her,” or, “I don’t feel that there’s anything that I can learn from her.” And regardless, I’m not doing that kind of dynamic, but my movement and my expression is dynamic. And once they see me do what I do, then they respect it and they’re like, “Oh, okay, okay.” Because to most men, everything is a competition. To most, within dance. But when you show that you can hold your own as a woman, I’ve been tested and then I’ve also held my own. So then I’ve gained a lot of respect from the local community at large. And at large as well, because hip hop and street dance culture is a show and prove culture.

Dinita: You have to be about what you’re speaking about. So even if I walk into a college and I’m saying, “Hey, do this,” it’s not about just learning the choreography. It’s about paying homage to those before you, knowing where the movement comes from, knowing why you do it personally, why other people did it, what you can do with it, where you want to push it, and learning technique and foundation as well. Which is very important, because when people think about hip hop and street dance, they think that there’s no technique and foundation. And I’m here to tell you that it is.

Craig: I saw a lot of technique and foundation.

Dinita: So after day one, they’re like, “Oh, okay. I love her.” And I’m like, “I love you too.”

Kyle: Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t matter the style under the street dance umbrella. She’ll give you a run for her money just on honesty alone, let alone her technical abilities.

Dinita: You’re so sweet.

Kyle: Respect.

Craig: I think that’s respect hard and well earned.


Spaces, places, and movement [28:00]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: Maybe I’ll take a moment to talk a little bit just briefly. I don’t always do this, but let’s just talk a little bit about the space that we’re in. We are smack dab in the middle of Rittenhouse Square. The Park, which is in the middle of Rittenhouse Square, the neighborhood in Philadelphia. So some of the things you hear in the background are just people. And I said, “This reminds me of like a Paris neighborhood.” We’re a little further apart than people normally are, but there’s people all over. There’s people on the grass. Somebody popped a bottle of champagne over here before. I don’t know what was going on over there. People with dogs. And I’m wondering … I can turn anything into a question … what types of spaces make you have to move?

Kyle: What kind of spaces make you have to move less? Of course a club space, without question. You’re like, “I have to move here.” Anything that you see has a danceable floor makes you want to go in on it. At least for me personally. I see a dance studio, like, “Oh wow, it’s a floor.” Like I’m ready to go in, it doesn’t matter.

Dinita: Even walking in the market.

Kyle: Right.

Dinita: Like if they play a song that I like, I’m going to two step.

Kyle: Right.

Dinita: It naturally comes out.

Kyle: Yeah. Especially if it’s a funk track. Oh Lord.

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah. Go off on a [crosstalk 00:29:13]

Dinita: I mean, wherever and whenever music is played, is the right time to dance. And if the floor is conducive, because Lord knows we’ve dance on some stages that were not conducive.

Kyle: Yeah. Kazakhstan was a trip.

Craig: We’re standing on … I’m standing, they’re sitting. We’re standing on cobblestones. This might be a little sketchy, in heels

Kyle: We have memories here. Dinita’s most viewed a video ever was shot right there behind us. Yeah. So this place definitely holds history for us. We’ve danced out here at the park several times. Sometimes our classes are like, “Oh, can we go outside and take class?” Yeah, where are we going to go? We’ll go to Rittenhouse and we’ll go dance.

Dinita: Everything’s feasible.

Craig: That music, that’s not edited in.

Dinita: Oh yeah, right now. Right now my foot is tapping.

Craig: Like I said, I don’t dance. I know that I’m bad enough that I don’t do it. But I caught myself just now, like …

Dinita: Yep. The head bop. That’s where it starts.

Craig: My hips are moving. I’m like, “Uh oh.” And then my next thought was, “Wait, why is there music in the podcast?” And then I peeked out from under my headphones, I have like the dorky headphones on, and I was like, “Oh no, that’s out here.”

Dinita: Right. It’s all a part of the atmosphere, which makes community.

Craig: One of the challenges was like, “Where are we going to record?” I’m like, “Let’s just go record outside.” It makes for a different, they call it, the soundscape. And I kind of like that we got a little bit of music. What kind of music is that?

Dinita: This is trap.

Kyle: Trap.

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: You do a slow knot, or a double time knot.

Dinita: Of course. I will take the double time.


Appropriation [30:57]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: You’re missing it. I saw it. Melissa saw it. What is the … there’s so many … I say this all the time. People listening get sick of hearing me say this, but I always feel like we’re walking down a street, having a conversation and all there are, are side streets. Like we can go here, we can go there. We can do these things. So there’s so many things that we could talk about, but maybe I’ll serve it to you guys. Is there something that you were thinking about on the way over here, or maybe in the days leading up if, hopefully not too stressful, but something you were thinking about on the way over here that you wanted to get to?

Kyle: Oh. So many things that you could talk about at a time like this.

Dinita: Well, more than anything, what we’ve been talking about is appropriation.

Kyle: That.

Dinita: And a responsibility that we have as educators who introduce that to our students so they can then know the responsibility that they have to take with said culture they choose to engage in. Giving that credit, citing your sources. A lot of times people are thinking about what it is they can take from street dance, without giving proper respect or acknowledgement back to it. And that’s a very big thing.

Kyle: Or just simply without participation. You can’t say you’re a part of our culture if you don’t participate. We tell our students all the time, learning the dance language doesn’t make you a citizen, no more than taking a French class makes you a French citizen. You see what I’m saying? So you have the language now, that just gets you in there and allow you to ask where you want to go. Where’s the bathroom? Where do I get something to eat? You’ve got the basic phrases. That’s great. Now, get involved. Talk to somebody. Once you become a part of a community, and when a community recognizes you, you won’t get so much backlash if you decide to teach.

Kyle: But there are a lot of folks that watch YouTube and go out there and try to be stars, which, I don’t want to shoot down YouTube, it’s a gift and a curse, right?

Dinita: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kyle: You’ve given us a window into places we would never see without you, and at the same time, you’re also encouraging people to do the same exact things without previous knowledge. So it’s this give and take kind of situation. But just making sure that students understand the difference between appropriation and just having a good time. Like you can have a good time, you could do that in your bedroom without putting it on TT. You know what I’m saying? Like you put it on a TT because you’re looking for views. You’re looking for information.

Craig: External validation.

Dinita: Exactly.

Kyle: And there you got it. While being external to the culture, it’s a bunch of externalness, right?

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: It’s just that. Those are one of the things we wanted to stress. And we don’t want the young folks to not learn or grow or teach or do any of those things. Those things are important. But there’s a difference between an instructor and a teacher, and a teacher and an educator.

Dinita: True.

Kyle: You can be all of those things and you can only be one of those things. That’s understanding the multifacetedness of being someone who imparts. Because to impart, or us at this level now, we’re professors. And when you think of the word professor, the root word is profess,.what does it be to profess? It means to honestly teach or educate or impart on a level of something that you feel as though is good, right?

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: It leads to profess. Confess means you did something bad.

Craig: Oops.

Kyle: So, you’re professing. So are you truly professing or are you instructing, or are you just teaching? You can teach anyone, anyone. You can instruct someone how to do things. Everybody can educate and teach in the same banner. So just getting you to understand the responsibility of education and what it needs to impart as a respected facet within the culture. Like being a choreographer is, like being a dancer is, like being a performer is. Those are all different facets of the culture. And respecting each one of them.

Kyle: I mean, I could wake up and DJ today, but I’m not going to be a world respected … I shouldn’t be a world respected DJ overnight because I played a couple of hot tracks. It’s my association to the culture that makes you that. So just remembering that if you really want to be a part of the culture, participate. Now it’s really hard to participate because we’re all locked in.

Craig: I was going to ask you, what have you been doing?

Kyle: Gaining weight.

Craig: Before I was thinking, earlier, I was thinking of asking-

Dinita: Making great meals.

Kyle: [inaudible 00:00:35:24].

Craig: Once more louder, for those in the last room of the cart.

Kyle: It’s real.

Craig: I like you. Oh yeah. The battle is real. I fancy myself a rock climber. Yeah, right. Maybe if I cut a leg off.


Real commitment [35:39]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: What I was going to say is, earlier I was going to ask, how many hours a week before 2020? How many hours a week did you guys spend honing your craft? Not teaching, not choreographing for a job, but like we got to work this out. Like how many hours a week? And I’m not trying to put you on the spot, I just want to like, what does it mean to really be committed? Because I think the answer’s going to be a little scary.

Dinita: Well before 2020-

Kyle: Far before 2020, it started way back is 2002.

Dinita: From 2002, all the way up until 2015, because that’s when we had, Elle, our daughter.

Kyle: Our first child.

Dinita: She’s five now.

Craig: Congratulations.

Dinita: Thank you. It was something we did daily. We’d party four nights a week at different clubs, the Sunday Party on the Moshulu boat, at [inaudible 00:36:33] Room, at Lowes.

Kyle: Lowes.

Dinita: What was that place on South Street that closed?

Kyle: Silk City Diner.

Dinita: Silk City. Oh yeah. And the other place on South Street, I forgot the name. Fluid.

Kyle: Fluid.

Dinita: So there were tons of clubs and venues that we went to at least four times a week. But then outside of that, we were just freestyling. You played music, we were going. Even if it was just us in the living room going rounds, because that’s what we did to music. And it’s not so much that we were counting the hours, but after you think about it, that was about like maybe 30 hours a week minimum.

Craig: I was just going to say, that’s a full-time job.

Dinita: Yeah, basically.

Kyle: We took-

Craig: That’s a lot of time put into your craft. You mentioned before, participation. And I went, “Yeah. I’m not sure that people who haven’t yet participated in something would even understand what you are saying.” If you’re talking about that time, that amount of street credit. Parkour is known as a culture of effort. If people see that you’re working, that’s like your admitting … not your admittance ticket, but like people will like, “Okay. You’re cool,” if you’re working. You don’t have to actually be good to be accepted in the communities. Now that the assumption is that you’re working toward being better, but it seems to me like dance has this a little bit more of a, and you also to be able to dance. Like you need to be able to do it. Not just, “I know all about it. I’m working on. I’m sorry I suck.”

Kyle: No.

Craig: Not good enough. Not good enough.

Kyle: Not that at all.

Dinita: And the beautiful thing about hip hop and street dance culture is, you are allowed to be yourself within the culture. But if you’re in a club and a cipher breaks out, which is a circle where people are sharing and OGs are going in, showing their thing, like doing their thing and showing their stuff. You better wait on the side until they’re done, because that’s when that transcends from just going in the middle of expressing yourself and it becomes a spiritual thing, where vibes are passed around and you are like pulled into the circle and then you black out and then you’re on a whole nother realm. So if you’re a beginner, you kind of want to stay on the outskirts-

Craig: Second row.

Dinita: … to kind of learn … yeah, second row.

Kyle: That’s okay.

Dinita: You’re taking notes, you’re learning. And then you’re seeing that it’s not just about the moves you learned in class or the moves you saw other people do that you’re trying to regurgitate. It’s about knowing that this is an escape. This is a spiritual thing. We’re in line with the music. We’re letting the music take us to the next level. You’re letting off and releasing everything you went through during the week, whether it was negative, positive, whether you’re happy or sad, this is your release. So it’s more than just doing steps.

Dinita: And when people go to the club, then they then understand that. Because if you’re just regurgitating a drill that we gave you for purposes of you learning and understanding the aesthetic, that has nothing to do with freeing yourself and blacking out within the club setting of a culture that has been made before you by OGs and pioneers, that are sharing this energy and showing us the way this thing is practiced and done. Don’t get me wrong, yes, they embrace. We’re all embracing. But when that cipher happens, it’s a serious thing.

Craig: They’re creating a special spot.

Dinita: Exactly.

Kyle: Right, right. And it’s a lesson. It’s a classroom. Our classroom was the club. There was no formal hip-hop classes being taught here in the city. So we were going to school. You were arts during the day. And then at night, we’re in the club four days a week, five days a week. And that went on at least, minimum, until 2011. But even then, when some clubs shut down, but they would do multiple nights at the same spot. So we were still able to do our thing right.

Craig: Still doing it the same number of times.

Kyle: Right. And so with that consistency allowed us to construct our own style based upon our experience in the field, more so-

Dinita: Experience.

Kyle: … than having someone say, “Hey, this is how you do it.” We learned how you do it by watching. We were watching. It wasn’t about what you were doing, it was about what we felt when we saw you do it. It’s like, “What is that? I can’t copy that.” You can’t copy that. That’s something you have to come with. So it takes a long time, one, to get to that part where you feel like your language is good enough to communicate with other people in the field without having that fear of, “Oh, I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Right?

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: It’s like walking into a room where you’re like, "Oh, they use all these big words. I don’t think that I’m going to be like … " It’s kind of the same thing. But then what you later on realize is that it’s the feeling that’s directing those words, not words being directed-

Craig: Language is just the medium, the dance is just the medium.

Kyle: Correct. And it’s actually a surrendering to music. That’s what dance is, it’s a surrendering. It’s a commitment. It’s a letting go of your preconceived notion to accept it, to express your conceived notion with it. It’s a relationship. You understand?

Dinita: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kyle: It’s like, if you don’t let go of yourself, then it can’t come into you. You can’t go into it. When you grow into it, you know when a dancer is into it.

Dinita: Yeah, you know it.

Kyle: They’re in the music right now.

Dinita: Instantly.

Kyle: You know, because a feeling, it feels like somebody’s pushing you back against the wall, but you’re standing still. You feel it immediately.

Dinita: And you can see the transition in real time.

Kyle: Right.

Dinita: It’s a beautiful thing.

Kyle: Some people’s eyes start moving around. So people start talking, some people while they dancing. They’re like, “Yeah, yeah. I know you can that.” Like they go off. They talking while they dancing. And you’re like, “Wow, they’re in right now.” And you know it. And the moment they stop, the feeling goes down, and that’s how you know that you were in the presence-

Craig: You were there.

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: … of that spiritual side. You can’t have that kind of education from a classroom, which is why participation is important. And it is as simple as paying $5 to get into the club. Stop asking to get on the guest list. The DJ got you too.

Dinita: Exactly.

Kyle: The DJ guy care too. The venue owner has children too. It’s as simple as that. If you like it, by it.


Home and story [42:38]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: What is it about Philly? So I live about an hour from here, north. And so I’ve been in the city many, many times, but I’ve never lived here. Never really, other than just been like in and out, tourist kind of thing. So what is it about, if anything that you could point to, about Philadelphia that created that crucible. Oh.

Dinita: Wow.

Craig: That’s a good sign when people go ooh in response to my questions.

Kyle: You can speak from an insider’s perspective, I’ll speak from an outsider’s perspective.

Dinita: As a Philadelphian, I can definitely say going back again, talking about the social environments that we were just in, we definitely there’s a lot of black parties in Philly. I can’t speak for nowhere else, but you have kids that are definitely doing their thing. People have been doing, there’s a social dance called the Wutang, and people have been doing that for years.

Craig: Something about the neighborhoods that accept that.

Dinita: The different neighborhoods. Yeah. And each different neighborhood has their own culture. You have North Philly, you have South Philly, you have West Philly. I’m originally from Mount Airy, and we all got down. We all did our thing. And then, even growing up, I worked at a lot of different afterschool programs and the kids were just vibrant and free about art, especially dance. So it was this kind of go hard that Philly has, I’m not saying other people, other places, don’t have it. Definitely New York does. But Philly is strong and we have our own thing too, but it’s definitely something that’s ingrained, I believe. And maybe it’s due to our living situations.

Dinita: My living situation is different from other people. But as far as growing up, like I said, that’s something that was just around. It was around, consistently. At birthday parties we were dancing. At block parties were dancing. At cookouts we were dancing. I’m dancing with my aunt. I’m dancing with my mom, my grandmother. Whenever music is playing, we’re going off. And that’s something I can say that happens here. Even when we randomly walk on different blocks, somebody plays the music, turn right or left, somebody’s dancing. It doesn’t matter how old they are.

Craig: And there’s probably music on every block too.

Dinita: Exactly.

Craig: There’s something about that there’s … I’m trying to think if there’s music in any of the neighborhoods around me. It’s like, no. It’s something about density. You also need the correct, not too dense so that everybody is sick of each other, but also dense enough that when somebody makes a ripple, that that ripple engages other people. My guess, that that’s part of what makes Philly work. New York City, I don’t know how much time you’ve spent there, but New York City is a tall city. You walk into the city and you are dwarfed, literally. Unless you’re way up town or something. But generally it’s a very big, like big in that over towering, over you sense.

Craig: Whereas, Philly doesn’t give you that vibe. You go to like Little Italy or the waterfront or something, it’s like six stories. I mean, like here, there’s tall buildings around us, but there’s a very open feel. There’s space. I’m air quoting, not that anybody can hear me. But there’s space for people to like occupy. Whereas if you go into a really big city, dense city, it’s like you’ve got to fight just to make elbow room.

Kyle: [inaudible 00:00:45:40].

Craig: So, that would seem to be not conducive to the kind of spontaneous creation that I think you’re describing.

Kyle: Hey, it happened in New York first. That’s how we got hip hop in the first place. The boroughs, as tight as they were, folks were still out there getting it in. And it came from out of those boroughs. It’s a part of African-American culture, where we play our music outside, and have parties out-

Kyle: … our music outside, we have parties outside. That’s also part of Caribbean culture in a lot and a lot of Caribbean natives came on up into the upper East coast, so that meshing of cultures, African and Caribbean and then here you go, you’ve got this big mixing pot of hip hop. And so me being an outsider coming in, I grew up in Baltimore. So I was born and raised there for 18 years before I got here.

Kyle: And then getting here, instantly I connected and it was familiar because I hear Baltimore club music in people’s cars and neighborhoods or blocks as I’ve gone there, I said, “What? They’re playing Baltimore club music? What they know about that? I grew up with that.” Right? But at the same time, it was more of a social gathering. Then the dance was at a minimum in Baltimore, but the social-ness was on an all time high when everybody knew everybody.

Kyle: And then coming here was like, oh wow, I get that feeling, I still get that feeling, but it’s different now. There are no bars. There are lounges. What is that? You go in, oh, it’s marble floors in here. Oh, I can actually dance on this. Oh, they’re playing house music. That’s kind of like B-more club, but it has a different feel. And I liked that. It’s this eclectic-ness about the city that I’m like, I like this. I want it to be involved. I want to grow, I want to do more. And the more people I’ve met, the more I’ve realized that it was a very diverse city.

Kyle: I grew up, I got on the train, it was only black people on the train. There was nobody else on the train. The first time I got on Broad Street line, I thought I got on the wrong train. I was like, oh, wait a minute. Am I going the wrong way? Am I going out to the county, county, county? They’re like, “No, it’s only a couple of stops.” I’m like, “Really?” It was severe culture shock because it was just so different.

Kyle: But it just, it made me realize that this city, it has so many cultures involved in it. It was just good to be able to talk to people of other cultures and figure out where I stand in the world. And it allowed me to understand where I stood in the world. You know what I’m saying? In a different way. So that’s kind of what Philadelphia brought, it has a worldliness to it, right?

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: A soul to it that you can’t find anywhere else. You can’t. I’ve been to Baltimore. I’ve been to New York. We’ve been there, it’s something about here.

Dinita: And you know what, shout out to Lee Jones too.

Kyle: Lee Jones.

Dinita: Because the Sunday party, that’s where we first entered the culture in 2002. And so basically what he has now is … Since when? Yeah. It’s always been, since 2002, he had an all age event. So you would see people there on a hula hoop, little kids, people bringing their dogs. So it was an all age event for people to engage in house dance, music, and culture. And that’s something that he’s provided for other generations of other races and all cultures to come in and create our own community, reaching different ages.

Kyle: And that’s been going on, what? 16 years. That was where we started partying together. So it’s like …

Craig: Is that where you met? Is that how you met? I’m assuming you met there. You had to have met there.

Dinita: We met in college.

Kyle: We got there. We met in college. What was it?

Craig: Dancing, or in a class? How did you actually first meet?

Dinita: Actually we didn’t share any-

Kyle: In a hallway.

Dinita: Yeah, in the hallway. We didn’t share any classes.

Kyle: She was a grade above me. She was a sophomore. I was a freshman. So I think it was one day on the second floor, the [Terrif 00:49:25] building right there, 211 South Broad, and she walked by, she said, “Hi.” I said, “Hi.” And it was kind of sort of like that. And over time we would see each other here and there, but not consistently.

Kyle: It wasn’t until her senior year and my junior year did we become friends. We was like, yo, you cool. We talked all the time. And we had similar views about a lot of things that were going on at the time. So it was kind of a natural friendship. And then she at the time was going out with, here’s another shot out, Moncell Durden. All right. So Moncell Durden was our first hip hop teacher. Like, somebody who was going to teach us to hip hop.

Craig: This was a thing? Where do I sign up?

Kyle: Right. Because when we got into the university of ours, there were no hip hop classes. So this was the very first hip hop class we ever took in a collegiate setting space. And he set such a standard. He was such a general, he was very corporal with it. But he made sure we got it in our bodies before he walked out of that space. You did not, not have a sense of self. So we owe a lot of that to him, but he really exposed us to the club culture here in the city. And that was our entry point. And that was the gateway to our relationship beginning to grow.

Craig: Where’s the spot where you knew that he’s for me and she’s for me?

Kyle: Oh, wow.

Dinita: Wow.

Craig: What made that click?

Kyle: I think we both got out of law term relationships around about the same time. And it was this six month period where we would just be hanging out and we were hanging, we realized we were hanging out every day. After that point, we were like, hey, and then there was that-

Craig: We’re basically dating.

Kyle: Yeah.

Dinita: We worked at the same afterschool program. We danced in the same dance company, we clubbed at the same places. And then we were just like, “You know what? We share a lot of the same views.”

Kyle: I mean, let’s give it a [inaudible 00:51:18]. I shot my shot twice. I shot twice.

Dinita: Oh, wow. Yes, he did.

Kyle: I did shoot twice and-

Dinita: He did it again.

Kyle: I shot twice. But it’s okay. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. And so I said, okay, I want to respect you where you are. You’re trying to heal. I feel you. I’m trying to heal too. You’re right. Go do your thing." Right? And it was that mutual respect that then fostered that trust when that one day, I think we went … It was 2008, December. Right after Christmas, we did a gig for CeCe Winans.

Kyle: And that was really fun. That was the first time I had actually choreographed within my college experience. So at that point I had … She had been choreographing. I actually did her piece. That’s how we became friends.

Dinita: Yeah. My senior piece at university [crosstalk 00:52:09].

Kyle: It was a hip hop piece. So we was like, Oh, snap. So, that’s where our relationship developed. But at that point, when we went to do the Vicky show, she said, “Yo, I think you could do some choreography. Let me see what you’ve got.” I did it. She was like, "Yo, that’s dope. And she’s like, “That’s dope choreography.” And then, Kay said it too. [inaudible 00:52:25]. Shout out Kay. You know what I mean?

Kyle: They were saying like, “Yo, this is dope choreography. Let’s just do it.” So we did it for the show. And I think it was that step on faith, her trusting me with something that I didn’t even know I could do myself, was like, yo, I really want to take this thing to the next level. And then she, at the same time she was feeling that same way. It was that one moment where you’re like, yeah. It clicked. And we’ve been together ever since. And so that’s what, 12 years later?

Dinita: Yes.

Kyle: Almost seven years of marriage and a week.

Dinita: It’s nine days.

Craig: Congratulations.

Dinita: Thank you.


Family and dancing [53:06]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: I’m going to assume that you’re already teaching your kids to dance because, duh but do you hope that they make it their lives or do you think that they should have a journey which maybe takes them, I’m going to say someplace else, I don’t mean geography wise, but takes them someplace else, and then if it really is their calling, then they’ll land there because we’ve talked about not everybody … everybody can dance, but maybe not everybody should. What are your thoughts on your kids and dancing?

Dinita: Oh, man. I mean, once again, naturally they ask us to listen to music. And when they’ve asked for their favorite song, we put it on, they dance and whatever it is that we’re playing, they’re dancing. So we haven’t set aside like, hey … I mean, they know what a Jack is, which is something you do in house.

Kyle: A body rock.

Dinita: A body rock. So they know what that is. But outside of that, we don’t teach them because we don’t want them to feel its something they have to live up to or something that they … We don’t want them to feel like they’re forced to do this because we do it and we’re artists.

Craig: Do they know who you guys are? I mean, they know your mom and dad, but do they know that you guys are famous and that you know what you’re talking and that you teach this for a living or you’re just mom and dad?

Dinita: We’re just mom and dad.

Kyle: We’re just mom and dad. And then she knows we teach dance classes. My daughter goes, “What? You’re going to teach class? Well, can I watch TV in my room?” You know what I mean, right? She knows that we teach dance classes.

Dinita: And when she watches others, she know who has the steps. Like, “Oh, they’re doing good. See mom, she has it.” I’m like, “Girl have a seat.” So, they know the difference.

Craig: Do they know that they’re different or do they have … not quite figured that one out yet because they are in for a real surprise?

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: We want to provide them options. Options. Our parents provided us options. We want to provide them options. We feel as though it’s a culture. It’s a part of the fabric of our culture as a couple. So we know that they’re going to pick that up in some way, somehow, even if they don’t take it professional or not. Our daughter definitely has shown signs that she would be a great classical dancer. And we don’t want to shy her away from her. She’s picked up, oh, dad, I want to be like this. And then she put her leg up and put [inaudible 00:55:19], I’m like, “Way to go. Where did that come from?”

Craig: Ballet lessons? Yes.

Kyle: She definitely has that ankle, but so we’re letting her do that, but she loves to play basketball.

Dinita: As well.

Kyle: She loves to use that golf club set that we have downstairs. She likes to do just about anything. She’s super adventurous. Our son is the same way. He’s two and a half, so he’s just now getting to [crosstalk 00:55:44].

Craig: Starting to move.

Kyle: Right. But he loves to play basketball too. But when the music comes on that boy, they’re doing things that we’ve never taught them. Which is like, oh wow. Oh, okay. Oh, well, you’re all good by yourself. We just going to let you play around.

Dinita: We don’t need to say a thing.

Craig: I don’t know your family backgrounds, but have you talked to your parents about these observations you were making about your kids? Did they say the same things about you?

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: Yeah.

Dinita: They definitely did, but when you’re growing up, it’s just like, oh, you know what? Entertain the family, go ahead and do that step you did. Isn’t that cute?

Kyle: That’s real.

Dinita: Aww, they look so nice. They got that step.

Kyle: Show them that Michael Jackson step. You’ve got that moonwalk, don’t you? Go ahead and do that one more time.

Dinita: But when it came to growing up, it was just like, oh, you guys are getting older. Do you still want to continue to dance? Your body is going to change. All of that. now.

Craig: Are your parents leaning on you now?

Kyle: Nah.

Dinita: Nah. They did.

Kyle: They accepted it after 25 and we still didn’t stop. They were like [crosstalk 00:56:41].

Dinita: They inserted those things, those questions at about 25. And then after that they were just like, “Oh, oh, you know what? You’ve got it.”

Kyle: I know. The music’s just [crosstalk 00:56:51].

Craig: I don’t want to move because these are not the people I want to try and dance in front of. Oh, no. They’ll just hit me with that rock and leave.


A letter to your future self [57:03]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: What is something that you would like to tell yourself 10 years from now? So you’re going to write it down and you’re going to send it to yourself in the future.

Dinita: Wow.

Kyle: I’m going to tell myself 10 years from the future, thank you for staying vigilant. Thank you for that because I see my future self as somebody that stayed vigilant and have arrived at a place sought after, not hoped for, you know what I’m saying? I hope I get, no, sought for this and I got there. I see myself as that type of person 10 years from now. So if I would say anything to my future self, thank you for staying vigilant.

Dinita: Wow. Oh, wow. How do I go after that?

Craig: I was going to say that was a mic drop moment. Just don’t drop the mic on the cobblestones but-

Dinita: Yeah. Everything he said. No, but wow. What would I say to myself 10 years from now? Wow. You finally have everything that you’ve prayed for and God saw you through to the end, right? Because there’s a scripture that says “Anything that God,” but I’m paraphrasing right now, which you probably should never do with scripture. But basically, the just-

Craig: But you’re also on the spot. I stuck you on the spot with a microphone. So paraphrase.

Dinita: So, I’m going to just trust and believe in the gift that God has given me and whatever it is I pray about I’m going to continue to seek to go forward with that. And I’m going to thank myself and God for that. Thank him first for the vision. And for me upholding it, whatever it may be, because things change and life changes. And I’m a strong person of faith. And when I pray about something and I ask for God to show me the vision, he makes it very clear and whatever it is I intend to follow.

Kyle: He who has started the good worker and you will see it through to …

Dinita: Completion. The end.

Kyle: … see it through to completion. [crosstalk 00:59:17].

Dinita: Come on, that’s the scripture right. Now that’s what I’m talking about. You see that? That’s the scripture I was talking about. So that, that scripture right there. What he said.

Kyle: Don’t ask me where it is at the moment. But I don’t remember.

Craig: I do occasionally get a chance to talk to people who listen to the podcast. And sometimes they make little criticisms like, [inaudible 00:59:43]. I’m just like, “Yo, you don’t have any idea how hard it is.” And Craig hands you a microphone instead of headphones and says, "Look, I’m going to push this button over here and then, no pressure or anything, but … " click. I think of this as there are three of us, but it’s two person beach volleyball. It’s me and the guests. And my job is to set and you guys are doing the spiking.

Craig: So, we’re working together as a team. So part of this is when you guys want a break, then I can be the class clown awhile and carry the conversation, just get a chance to catch your breath. And if things don’t land well, that’s my fault. I didn’t set it correctly. What I need to do is work on my communication skills because I have too many ideas. And then I make people nervous because I go, like, where is he going in that mental palace?


Home, travel, and moving [1:00:17]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: And I’m like, no, just, there’s so many things. I’m cognizant of how much time I have left and I want to go forever. This is a crazy question. So, you guys have traveled a lot for dance and I mean, people can go look that up. This isn’t an encyclopedia here. Gee, do you see yourselves here forever? I mean, maybe you don’t want move while the kids are in the school district. But just in general terms, is it just Philly forever or are you like, no. And I really got to go with the scene in Iceland. I got to go. Can you see yourselves moving or?

Dinita: That question.

Kyle: So have had so many conversations about that.

Dinita: Yes, we have.

Kyle: I mean, we love Philly.

Dinita: Special place in my heart, born and raised.

Craig: That is clear by the way. It is really clear. And I suspected that that was going to be the case. It’s another reason why when you, I think, Queen, I think you said “Britain House Square,” I think the idea for this park comes from you. We’re off on a tangent. I will generally jump on those suggestions from guests because if you say it, there’s a deep reason behind things that people say. Like people say, “We go over here for lunch.” I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely.” So, I suspected Philly was deep in your bone marrow. But having said that you were saying Philly, but …

Kyle: But I mean, this place will always be special for us. Will we mind relocating? No, but at the same time, are we trying at the moment? No.

Dinita: Yeah. Not at the moment.

Kyle: But we’ve been to the option if it becomes available. It’s something about life. You realize that every five to maybe 10 years feels like an entire lifetime.

Dinita: True.

Craig: Amen.

Kyle: It feels like we’ve had about five or six lifetimes here, in different phases of self here. What is myself outside of here? We always ask ourselves that all the time. What kind of artists would I be if I was in a different space, would I still be the same? And you won’t know that answer until you actually experience it. Now, for myself coming from Baltimore, coming here to Philly, so I’ve been in both cities for 18 years now. So I have dual citizenship, so to speak.

Kyle: I’ve literally lived in both cities for 18 years. And so it’s this thing. It’s like, I came from a different space here and grew here, but also know that this was a different space for me once too. And I got used to this too, and another space can become a different place for me, and become comfortable to.

Craig: You can see how that could be?

Kyle: Yeah. So, I mean, I don’t think we would commit long term like, forever here but-

Craig: That’s hard to do.

Dinita: It is.

Kyle: If you get lucky to get a little three to five years stint somewhere, why not? Just to have that experience. You know what? My brother is in the service. He’s in the army right now. He’s in South Korea and he’s lived in Alaska, he’s lived in Italy. He’s been back and forth to Canada a number of times. He’s really traveled and lived places. I’m like, “Dude, how did it feel to live in Italy for three years?” That must be amazing. And now he’s in South Korea for another two years. Those are all experiences that you can’t have without actually doing it.

Dinita: True.

Craig: If I gave you guys a plane ticket, I talked to your parents into babysitting indefinitely and I gave you, we need a little caveat, and I gave you a plane tickets for two, anywhere in the world, then housing on the other end, where would you go?

Dinita: You already know. Brazil.

Kyle: You would go to Brazil?

Dinita: Yeah.

Craig: Why?

Kyle: I might go to Japan.

Craig: I’m going to take your phone before you break it.

Kyle: I might go to Japan. I would go to Japan.

Craig: Why Japan?

Kyle: It starts off with my grandfather. He started it. He was a Marine before he became a minister. And he always was like, “Yo, if you ever had a chance to go to Japan, go.” He passed before that opportunity came for myself, I just haven’t been yet but he just kept talking about how technologically advanced it was. And this was back in the '80, he’s telling me this, '90, early '90s. So I can only imagine what it’s like now. Half the video games I came from, came from there and their respect for black culture is very high as well. So it’s like it’s a place where who I am is accepted and embraced.

Craig: Accepted and recognized, yes.

Kyle: And so that’s definitely a place where I will want to investigate and explore, of course. The methodology of Japanese culture as well. I would like to experience that firsthand. Yes. I’ve read it in books. Yes. I’ve had sushi every now and again. That’s great. But to actually live there and feel the vibe and their culture-

Craig: Swim in the society.

Kyle: And there it is.

Craig: Queen Diane, you seem like you’re all right, I’ll go along to Japan, but where do you want to go? If you have to go together, so you have to duke this out, but his vote is for Japan, where’s your vote?

Dinita: Mine is definitely Brazil. I love their dancing. I love the music. I would love to experience the culture firsthand, the food, the people, everything about it. I’ve been wanting to go there for years. And so to just go there and study that, that would be priceless. I’ve been saying this for 10 years now.

Kyle: No, you’re right. You’re right. You’ve always said, “I just want to go to Brazil.” But you’re talking about having an indefinite babysitter. I’m like, okay, I might go to Japan for a bit. Africa’s beautiful.

Dinita: It would be nice to go to both. But I really want to go to Brazil.

Craig: I think I’ve just seen the argument begin. I know what you’re going to be talking about at dinner.

Kyle: What? [inaudible 01:06:05] Brazil …

Craig: Chaos, disorder, my work here is done.

Kyle: I wouldn’t mind Japan though, but I definitely … We would go to Brazil first.

Craig: I have been to Japan, I’m not saying I saw all of Japan, but I saw a lot of it and several different parts of it, and I think you’d enjoy Brazil more. Japan, I think I see why you want to go to Japan. But I think you should do what your wife says.

Kyle: Oh, really?

Dinita: Exactly.

Craig: Do you know the most important phrase you learn when you get married as a guy? Yes, dear. No, I agree, you’re right.

Dinita: Happy wife, happy life.

Kyle: There it is.

Craig: I don’t get a chance to talk to couples that often on mic and I find I have all these things that I didn’t want to say them up early because it messes up the soup. But now that we have the soup, it’s simmering, it’s all good and we like it, there’s a special bit of magic that happens when you get to interview people who’ve known each other really well, especially when they’re married. The little thing of like I ask, I always ask a question. I don’t say who I’m asking it of. And I just see who answers first. That tells me a lot about what’s going on. It’s usually the guys who answer first. It’s like the women kick them out in the traffic, you go first. I’m second.

Craig: Let’s see what this guy wants. So answer the question. So I really enjoy. I’m glad that you guys took the time to speak with me.

Dinita: Oh, thank you.

Kyle: Thanks for having.

Craig: I know you’re saying that but you’ve got to punch time in your day and you’ve got to … I often say to people who say, “I want to go do X or Y,” I say, “Well, that’s going to take about two hours, three hours. Where are the three hours in your day when you’re not asleep, that you are sitting in Zen meditation, because that would be the three hours you have free to go.” Nobody has any free time. So no matter how much you say it wasn’t a big deal, I appreciate that you carved time out of your lives to come and hang out with us in the park, it’s a little hot. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Now you’ve experienced the crazy Craig dementia, it just goes all over the place.

Kyle: No worries.


Story time [1:07:47]

Chapter show notes…

Craig: I’m always torn between asking clever things or just trying to ask the first thing that comes to mind. And I’m just wondering is, well, let’s go here first. Maybe we’re not quite done, but is there a story that you guys would like to share? Because, I’d love to collect stories. Asking people to tell a story reveals who they are, how they tell it, how they look at each other to lead before deciding which story to tell.

Kyle: Stories, there are a lot of those. Oh man.

Dinita: But you’re the storyteller.

Kyle: The storyteller.

Dinita: No pressure.

Craig: What did I say about the women kicking the men into traffic? You go first.

Kyle: Wow. So many stories. So many stories, so many stories. Oh man. A good story. Dag. It’s like do I go a light story, do I go a clover story? Here’s a story. I actually have to. Wow.

Dinita: Good.

Kyle: It’s potluck.

Craig: It’s a twofer.

Kyle: Here’s a quick one. So one night, regular club night, summer night. We’re out, we’re having a good time …

Kyle: Regular club night, summer night. We’re out, we’re having a good time. Crowd was low. Normally it is how it starts because we were always one of the first people at the club. So you get there at 10:30, when the party starts, nobody’s really there until midnight.

Kyle: We’re there. We’re getting it in. We’re dancing. We’re having a great time. Everybody shows up. It hits midnight. Everybody’s going off. They have the hip hop night upstairs and they have house downstairs. We’re downstairs. We’re dancing. All of a sudden, I see people all start to turn their head. I’m like, “Why is everybody turning their heads?”.

Kyle: We’re dancing. I’m dancing, and somebody says, “Kyle, turn around.” I turned around, and Shaquille O’Neal was standing behind me.

Kyle: “Oh, it’s Shaq.”

Kyle: He says, “I dig it, I dig it.”, and then starts popping. I’m like, “Oh.”. That was a dope moment. He went upstairs. It was what it was, but you would never expect to see Shaq behind you in a club one night.

Dinita: True, true story.

Kyle: That’s a club story for you right there.

Kyle: Another legendary moment. I’m going to have a disclaimer for this month. Some people will refute this knowledge, as it has been refuted knowledge, because there is no actual footage of said thing, but us in the community of street dancers know that our impact from behind the scenes … Things that never actually … The stories that never get told happened. I say this with all love and honesty. First, shout out to Don Campbellock. You know, he just passed away.

Kyle: What was that two … I’m about to say two months ago. That was back in April.

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: He graduated. Yeah. It was back in April sometime when he passed. It might’ve been February.

Kyle: I got the honor to meet him two times. Once in 2007, and once in 2014, where we had Kings and everybody there and the crew.

Dinita: It was about '14, yeah.

Kyle: '14 at Kenny’s event. Shout out to Kenny. Kenny Clutch. Kenny Clutch throws this workshop. It wasn’t a Clutch workshop. It was Illadelph Legends. 2007. Illadelph Legends. All right. Ran by Lorenzo Harris, Rennie Harris, shout out to Rennie Harris, who was the first person to pull me into the street dance theater round. He has the longest running hip hop theater company known. Period. Globally. It’s definitely, definitely a pleasure to work for him for eight years.

Kyle: He throws this workshop, I mean the summer intensive called “Illadelph Legends”. [inaudible 01:11:44] brought in pioneers of every dance form, and had them teach just for one week, and that was it. That was our source of information. We get a couple of words, and then we don’t see them people for another year, if not ever again. It was dope.

Kyle: One time he had Don Campbell there in 2007. I finished getting some lunch and I come upstairs on the second floor of the Tara building. Everybody’s like, “Yo, Don, you got to tell the story, Don. You got to tell the story.” Everybody’s like, “Yeah, you got to tell the story, Don.”

Kyle: I’m sitting there like, “Okay, well tell the story.”

Kyle: He said, “All right, well, here goes nothing.” nothing he says, “You know, I danced a long time. It took me a long time to get to Hollywood.” He danced out of Hollywood.

Kyle: “I got to Hollywood, and I got a call from Hollywood saying, ‘Yeah, we want you to come down to the studios.’ He goes, ‘Okay. Okay.’”

Kyle: He comes down to the studio. “We got this kid, he’s going to be the next great sensation. He’s going to be the next great sensation.”

Kyle: He’s like, “Okay, well point them out. I’ll do it. Yeah, sure.”

Kyle: “I want them to teach him that locking thing.”

Kyle: “Okay. I’ll teach him the locking thing.”

Kyle: He says he went in. Had plenty of studio sessions with him. Tried to get him to learn. He said it just didn’t take to him the way they expected it to take to him, but nonetheless, it is what it is. He said, “I tried to teach the kid how to do the points, and he couldn’t do the points. So I said, son, just stand still. And do this.” The person he was teaching was John Travolta. That movie, “Saturday Night Live”.

Dinita: Fever.

Kyle: Fever, right. “Saturday Night Fever.”

Craig: As soon as you pointed, I’m like, “Oh my God, I know what you’re doing.”.

Dinita: Exactly.

Kyle: Right. Right. You’ll see him do some of the locking hallmarks, like the knee drops.

Craig: I got to watch that again.

Kyle: You saw the baby doll and things of that nature.

Dinita: Right. Right.

Kyle: All African-American social dances, right?

Craig: Where did that come from? Behind the scenes. I was going to say behind the scenes of influence, I don’t mean like backroom deals. I just mean you didn’t see it. It happened behind the scenes. Somebody really deep into the DNA said, “Hey, what about … Have you thought about this?”

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: Right. That that’s out there. He said that story and I’m like, “Oh wow, that makes so much sense.”. It was like, wow. Hip hop has been hiding behind the scenes the whole time, and we just never knew.

Dinita: Plus to hear that firsthand is amazing.

Kyle: I’m going home. Netflix that.

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: That’s the deal. That’s not on Netflix, and that’s part of the problem. A lot of our stories get swept to the side and true credit isn’t given. In these days, now they’re trying to pull those folks out, but that’s the importance of hip hop. The thing about hip hop is we are about oral history.

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: If you didn’t come in contact with us, you don’t know that history.

Craig: You didn’t know. You don’t know.

Kyle: It puts value on oral traditions. Oral storytelling. It’s important.

Craig: Heck, that takes us all the way back to where we started. We were talking about dance as a form of communication and oral history and deeply innately human.

Dinita: Mm-hm. True.

Kyle: Those are my stories. We’ll just let that go. Like I said, some people are going to refute it. Some people are going to have arguments-

Craig: Just seeing the Queen die, and she looked up like, “Who you looking at? Oh, you looking at me?”.

Dinita: Yeah.

Craig: You don’t have to … It’s not meant to be a pressure situation.

Dinita: I don’t really have any stories.

Kyle: You got a lot of stories. How about that? Tell him about when you danced for Ms. Jade.

Dinita: Oh, wow.

Kyle: You remember that?

Dinita: I remember that.

Kyle: I remember that.

Dinita: Yeah. That was great. I’m not that much of a storyteller. I don’t know.

Craig: Oh, that’s something about walking. Oh, it’s walking. This would be walking quietly, but still throwing it down. I don’t know. She doesn’t talk a lot, but you do not want to be in a two by two with these people.

Kyle: She knows how to tell the story. I’ll briefly tell it for you. She gets this phone call from a friend. A friend that we danced with, at the time, who was also a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement.

Dinita: Oh, wait. Oh, I can talk about this because this is amazing because this was my second time working with Ms. Jade.

Kyle: That’s just what I said. What about that story? Okay.

Craig: You ready?

Dinita: Oh yeah. The amazing thing about Philly, once again, is the artistry of the people here and how diverse we are within our art. It was an artist named Ms. Jade. Philly representing. She’s a Philadelphia rap artists.

Kyle: Rap artist.

Dinita: With me being a Philadelphia dancer, it was great that we’ve crossed paths twice. Early on in my collegiate career, I want to say about 2003 when I was at [inaudible 00:07:25]. Me and a couple of my friends with another girl, Miriam, she had booked a gig where she was choreographing for Ms. Jade, and and she asked me to come along and be a dancer.

Dinita: At that time, it was amazing because I’ve watched Ms. Jade on TV and she was really hot. With Missy Elliot, and she was doing her song, “Get Your Big Head On The Floor.”. I’m not going to try to act like I can sing.

Kyle: “Get your big head on the floor.”

Dinita: “Ain’t nobody see me move like that.”

Dinita: Yeah. It was an honor to dance for her. We did a couple of shows. We did Powerhouse that year, which is … Powerhouse Philadelphia. Do you ever …

Craig: The name rings a bell, but-

Dinita: Thrown by the radio station, Power 99.

Kyle: Power 99. It’s a festival.

Dinita: They have a festival of a whole bunch of artists that … Back then it was called the First Union Center.

Craig: My brain is going like, “You know what? I think we can get Power 99 in Lehigh Valley where I live, and I think I’ve heard of it.”, but it was one of those things that’s all the way in Philly.

Dinita: Yeah. A radio station that I definitely grew up with. What they did was had a whole bunch of performing artists, and rappers, and dancers there. We danced for Ms. Jade there, and that was an amazing opportunity I had.

Dinita: Circling back, how many years later? 2011 or '12, a company member from Rennie Harris Puremovement, her name is Melanie Cotton, she had an opportunity to dance with Ms. Jade. again. I said, “Oh my God, for the second time.”.

Dinita: I get to dance with her. We choreographed, the two of us along with Kyle, choreograph for Ms. Jade. We did a show here … What was the name? The Blockley.

Kyle: The Blockley.

Dinita: The Blockley. We performed for her here. It was just cool to see Philly artists sticking together using other Philadelphia artists to have a vision come to light. Yeah. That’s a little short story. That’s it. Philly in the house.

Kyle: That’s dope.

Dinita: Yeah. It was an amazing experience both times.

Kyle: She was definitely still in a conversation of some of the best female rappers out in the game.

Craig: She’s still ill. She’s still one of the best.

Kyle: To be there for her, and be able to provide for her was a dope experience.

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: Come through.

Kyle: There was this one time I ran into Carlos [inaudible 01:18:31] on the corner.

Dinita: Well. Well.

Craig: That would be Philadelphia. All right. We’ll do one more question. What’s one question … You have to agree. You get one question between the two of you. You get figure out what the question is. Not one question each. What’s one question that you think everybody should ask?

Kyle: In regards to our practice? In regards to life?

Craig: It could be a question that you … I’ll just unpack it a little bit. It could be a question that you wished people would ask themselves. Could be a question that you think would improve our world that people asked rhetorically more often. Could be a question that you wish somebody who had access to dot, dot, dot would ask the following question of the following person coming in that you want. It’s a big, wide open tool that you can deploy, but can be any of those. What I want to see is not what’s something that you want to know so much as what’s something that you wished everybody else would work, on or try to learn, or as a community and society try to uncover or unpack.

Kyle: “How are you?” and, “Are you okay?”. Those are simple questions that we can, as just a human race, can learn to ask more. We tend to rely on speculation or assumption. Believing a certain person’s social status or financial status then obliterates them from going through the same human phases of emotions that you do. There could be somebody you’re looking at like, “Oh man, they’re a real a-hole. They could have been better to me.”. You have no clue what they were going through at that moment. The way they did that said thing, which is why forgiveness is a real thing. If somebody was just to take the moment to say, “Hey, how are you? Are you okay?”, that can open up the can for so much more conversation, honest conversation, genuine conversation, and hard conversation.

Craig: Healing and hard conversations.

Kyle: Right. If you could just ask that, maybe, maybe we can get somewhere. It’s not about us. I’m asking you how you’re doing it, so now I have to listen.

Dinita: Yeah. It’s so interesting that you say that because we ask each other that every day. “Hey, how are you doing? How are you?”, but we’re not really expecting an answer. You don’t really want to hear … Everyone says, “Fine”, because you’re supposed say fine.

Kyle: It’s a formal salutation.

Dinita: Yeah. No is saying, “Oh, man. Today was a bad day.”

Craig: “I’ve got a good cancer story for you.”

Dinita: Exactly. We walk around suppressing our deepest feelings because we feel that if I told you, you don’t really want to hear it anyway, or you’re not going to help me. All I’m going to do is depress you, so I’m just not going to say it. Like you said, if that could be asked from a real genuine space where people really want to know and really want to help, that would be the beginning of change. Yeah.

Kyle: Everybody can’t care about everything. We get that.

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: Everybody can’t care about everything,

Craig: You should care about something.

Kyle: Right. Sometimes listening is caring. The fact that you’re willing to hold that information in your body. That can be enough sometimes.

Dinita: Yeah. Some people just need to get it off their chest, or feel like someone cares to listen. They’re important enough to be heard. Space to be heard.

Kyle: Yeah, for sure. Which is why we have the current social situations that we do. With BLM and everything else.

Dinita: Too much separation. How are you?

Dinita: Right. If you bring it back around full circle to hip hop and street dance, that’s why people dance. To express their feelings that they can’t say verbally, because they don’t know if people are going to understand them. You dance it out. You dance your pain. You dance your joy.

Kyle: Hip hop was the recycling mechanism. How do we turn this negative into a positive?

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: I think Biggie Smalls when he said, “Whoever thought that hip hop would take it this far?”. He also went on to say, “Hey, I’m here to turn negative to positive and it’s all good.”.

Dinita: Right.

Kyle: That’s really what it’s about. Taking those negatives and making a positive. Well, you know what? I got fired from my job today, but you know what? Somebody really, really appreciating my dancing and wants to put me in a space that will have my dancing viewed. Both of those things can happen simultaneously within the same hour. You know what I’m saying? That can’t happen for you if you’re not putting yourself in a position to give up or surrender those negative feelings.

Dinita: Yeah. Vulnerability is required.

Kyle: It’s a scary thing, but if you can do that …

Dinita: Yeah.

Kyle: It’s hard. It’s just not easy. A lot of mistrust.

Kyle: I have not heard that record. Wow. What’s it been? 20 years?

Dinita: Rittenhouse Square, ladies and gentlemen.

Craig: Before you head over there and school him, which I totally want to see, I’ll just say, and of course the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Kyle: Oh, man. I got way more than three words.

Craig: Sometimes they say hyphens are free, but yes, you can discuss. You can talk around three different topics, Yours to do with as you please. Three words to describe your practice.

Kyle: Foundational. Spiritual. I want to say faithful. Three things that describe the practice. Foundational, meaning it comes from a place from the root of what it is that it comes from.

Kyle: Faithful is … The definition of faith is believing in something you can’t see. I never saw myself being this, so every step is a step in faith. Now one step is a step. My practice is definitely a step in faith.

Kyle: Spiritual because it is led not by myself. Not on my own. I realized it’s a calling. It’s not something everybody’s to-do. To wake up everyday and get to do what I feel as though I was called to do, instead of doing what everybody tells me I should do is a blessing. It’s a spiritual thing for me. It allows me to leave the world in a better place than how I found it. Those are the three things I feel as though our practice represents.

Dinita: Well. No pressure.

Kyle: Drop the mic.

Dinita: Three things to explain my practice, or represents my practice. Wow. I would definitely say honesty, because I seek to be honest in everything that I do. I feel like that is a daily practice. To be honest with yourselves. If you’re honest with yourself, she can be honest with others.

Dinita: I would have to say spiritual as well. I believe I’ve been blessed with a gift from God, and I want to use that in the most powerful, effective way possible to transform people’s perspectives. I’ll leave that in general. Whether it’s about dance or about life or to just be this possibility. That’s it.

Dinita: My third one, I would have to say grounded-ness. Being grounded, both in my movement and how I go about my movement practice, as well as my spiritual practice seeking God first, and also being grounded to understand people where they are. That’s what I would say. Those are my three.

Craig: Drops mic.

Dinita: That’s what the soleism thing is about. You were talking about Just Sole. Why sole? Why that word? “Just” meaning “Simply. Fair.”. Just. It’s honest. It’s coming from an honest place. “Sole” being I. Me. It’s just me. I’m not representing anything else. This is it. It was a play on words for sole of the foot. You know, I dance. I don’t talk. A lot of people are like, “Oh, you should talk more. You should talk more.”. I’m like, “Yeah.”. At the battles, I didn’t talk to people. I showed up. I stood in the corner. I stretched.

Dinita: I would like you to talk for an hour and a half.

Kyle: Now the joints are starting to talk to me, too. But nonetheless, yeah, that’s what it’s about. It’s about honesty. It’s the sole of the foot being how you hear me speak.

Craig: Right.

Kyle: Anybody that’s connected to that is a soul.You know what I mean? Just Sole. That’s why we have the crew. That’s why we have the company. These are folks that really want to speak from the heart. You know what I mean? If you want to do that, that requires a level of honesty, and we all know … It’s an old saying your parents would say, right? “You can’t fake the funk”.

Dinita: Hey.

Kyle: You can’t fake it. When we feel it, we feel it. If we don’t, we don’t. That’s it. Everybody attributed. We felt something, and it’s a movement. It’s not just a name. Just wanting to put that out there. It’s one of those things … Anything you wanted to say? There it is.

Dinita: Queen Dinita, JustSole. It was a pleasure. It was fun. It was hot and sweaty. I feel like we did some good work. I’m really glad, as I said before we were recording and while recording, I’m really glad you guys took a time to come out and sit down and talk to me. I release you from your imprisonment so you can go move. Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.

Kyle: Likewise. Thank you so much.

Dinita: Thank you.

Kyle: I just wanted to say one last thing before I left. I know the world is still going in a circle and everybody’s trying to figure out … Everything is going on for everybody, especially with COVID. I just want to say shout out and respect to everyone that’s still choosing to thrive within COVID instead of … Not saying there’s nothing wrong with surviving, because all of us need to survive, but today is still a good day to arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor. I feel like that’s on, my heart and it has to come off because there was a travesty man. No matter how you cut it. I want to mic drop on that.