Brittany Harlin

Breathing Through Vernacular Movement


The High Concept Labs collaboration will be a continuation of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum prompt, Breathing Through Vernacular Movement. In the mission to create a respectful solidarity between street & concert dance, I will continue beyond exploring the straining of street movement through modern movement qualities. Taking from a portion of Black American vernacular movement, I will explore the spiritual connection and origin of specifically popping, born in Fresno, California. Using funk musicians, specifically bass and hand percussion, I will retell the story of popping being inspired by Black feminine response to the divine. We will also explore funkadelic poetry and the inclusion of cosmology to explore the philosophy surrounding its music. Subjects such as sex, black pride, transcendence, and other P-Funk ideologies will be explored and webbed from the particular group’s East side genesis, to the West Coast dance.

Artist Statement

I am a performing artist with the mission to integrally represent street dance on stage. Through my upcoming projects, I consult pioneers of the movement, and use somatic theory to craft a choreographic work with the intention, no matter the theme, to uphold the integrity of Hip Hop’s socio-political movement. I create in order to learn alongside my audience members and grow alongside them in cultural honoring, empathy and self-identity. I’m deeply influenced by the members of the original emerging Hip Hop and street dance culture, and wish to continue the folklore of how an entire worldwide art culture in light of systematic oppression.

Artist Bio

Brittany Harlin is the founding artistic director of Chicago Urban Dance Collective and 2017 recipient of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award. Her influences are Hip Hop and Modern Dance Pioneers. In addition to company work, her dancing and choreography has been featured at Ragdale Foundation, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Aragon Ballroom, DRAMA Duo Music Productions, Black Ensemble Theatre, and Hip Hop International. Brittany’s focus is Hip Hop, Modern, Funk Styles, Waacking, and House, combined with growing knowledge of somatics and kinesiology, all through the concert dance lens. Her goal is to bring dance education to a place of complete body awareness, spiritual expression, and connection. Brittany hopes to establish her practice in expressive therapy, creating opportunities, and inclusiveness.

Her teaching artist pedagogy & philosophy are weighted in respecting the integrity of the vernacular movement, by sharing what she’s been taught from respected community members – and stopping exactly there. She relates those concepts to personal natural movement, and the energy of the dancers she’s working with. Her goal is to create solidarity between diverse backgrounds, conducive to the essence and intention of The Hip Hop Socio-Political Movement. Harlin’s passion in dance extends to her community as she has launched her most recent endeavor of teaching professionalism and industry standards to aspiring professional dancers.

When Brittany isn’t dancing, she is supplementing her work with her passions for poetry and songwriting. She’s been referred to as a fawn and a hippie on multiple, separate occasions.