Raphael Xavier, is an award winning artist from Wilmington, Delaware who is credited for the resurrection and the growth of the Breaking community in Philadelphia from 1996 to present day. As a member of the world renown Hip Hop Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement since 1998, Raphael is a Pennsylvania Fellow of the Arts in Folk and Traditional forms and has been funded by the Independence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has been a professional breaker/dancer for the last 15 years, working in a variety of fields including Music, photography and film. A self taught Hip Hop dancer and Breaking practitioner since 1983, Raphael continues to learn and recreate new ways to expand the vocabulary of the dance form through constant research of the culture, performance and practice, staying present in the community and traveling to locate the originators of the form to get first hand knowledge.
His extensive research in Hip Hop forms and culture, specifically Breaking, has lead to the creation of Ground-Core, a Somatic dance technique that gives the practitioner a better understanding of the body within all dance forms. Ground-Core has been taught as a credit course in the World Arts and Cultures Program at UCLA.
He is the founder and former choreographer of olive Dance Theatre where his choreography and design can be seen as it is performed by olive Dance Theatre, Philadelphia, as well as Companhia Urbana de Danca, Brazil. Mr. Xavier is currently an active alumni and touring member of RHPM and is creating new work for RHAW, Rennie Harris' Awe inspiring Works, the 2nd company of RHPM. His dance works, solo and ensembles, have been performed at The RED CAT Los Angeles, CA, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, American Repertory Theatre Oberon, Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC, The Wilma Theatre, Arts Bank and Painted Bride in Philadelphia, Pa and in Lithuania and Brazil as well as many other venues in the United States and Europe.
Performing world wide in the Hip Hop dance field and working as a photographer and film maker simultaneously, gives him many opportunities as an artist. His latest project is a dance film entitled Batalha. Shot in Brazil, this dance film explores the challenges involved in working with a group of youth from the Favelas of Rio during his 6 month stay as he trained the young dancers and helped them create new performance works for the theatre, that ultimately began touring Europe and South America.
This consistent practice and research gives Raphael an edge amongst his peers while becoming a scholar and historian of the form as he continues to create dance and music works in and outside of the community. This has allowed him to establish the art form of Breaking as a traditional folk art in Philadelphia, simultaneously establishing Master and Apprentice programs, funded by the institute for cultural partnerships and the State of Pennsylvania and Los Angeles California through Alliance for California Traditional Arts.