posted January 1, 2012

Dance Faculty Member to Tour Middle East with Philadelphia Company

Crystal Frazier

Crystal Frazier, who is the new tap/hip-hop instructor at Hope College, will be participating in State Department-organized international cultural exchange to the Middle East this spring through her role as a senior company member of Philadelphia-based Rennie Harris PureMovement (RHPM).

Hope students will be able to learn from her time abroad nearly as immediately as she experiences it.  Frazier and the college's department of dance are arranging a weekly "Skype with Crystal" so that she and students can speak about the tour as it is on-going.

RHPM will be performing in Egypt, Israel, the PalestinianTerritories and Jordan through the spring 2012 DanceMotion USA tour designed and funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Administered by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the program has selected four American dance companies for cultural exchange tours to four world regions to share the USA's rich dance culture with international audiences.

"'DanceMotion USA' is American diplomacy in motion," said Ann Stock, who is assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. "It connects people through contemporary dance to one another. These artists are citizen diplomats and use the common language of dance to engage with people in communities throughout the world."

Rennie Harris PureMovement was founded in 1992 to share an appreciation for diversity and is dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture. The company's goal is to provide audiences with a true understanding of the essence and spirit of hip-hop, rather than the commercially exploited stereotypes most often presented by the media.  RHPM has performed in major venues such as the KennedyCenter in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy's Spoleto Dance Festival, The Holland Dance Festival (Netherlands) and the KiasmaMuseum in Helsinki, Finland.

Frazier has been a member of the internationally renowned and recognized company for 19 years.  She joined the Hope faculty at the beginning of the school year as a visiting instructor.

Frazier is from New Jersey, where she began her dance and gymnastics training at age six. During this time she competed in pageants and began to hold titles such as Miss Salem County, World Exquisite Miss, Miss Black Awareness and many more. She received her degree in dance from the University of the Arts.

Her performance credits include the VH1 Fashion awards with Macy Gray, BET's Comicview, the BET Awards with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, MTV's Lip Service and MTV's Global Groove. She was the featured dancer and choreographer for Jill Scott's "Big Beautiful Tour" and has had the opportunity to be in the swing cast for the Groovaloo Show in LA, a video with Mike Philips and the Italy Tour with Kathy Sledge, and to make an appearance in the movie "Beloved," the show "Monk" and "Dance Magazine."

Frazier's choreography has been featured nationally and internationally for shows such as The Fringe Festival, The Garden State Dance Festival, 76ers Dance Team, University of the Arts, The Rock School, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, Hip Hop Extravaganza in Bermuda, Taipei University of the Arts in Taiwan, Cruzan Dance in St. Croix, Encore Danses En Tourneau and Dance Ability in Canada, August Wilson Dance Ensemble and many more.

She is also a judicator for the Miss America Organization and DanceQuest in Canada, and assistant director for Dancers Inc. Competition and Convention. She is the former co-founder of Montazh Performing Arts Company, where in 2006 she received an "Art and Change" grant from the Leeway Foundation for "Ladies of Hip Hop."

The other three companies participating in DanceMotion USA beginning in January will be touring the Asia Pacific, South Central Asia regions and Africa, and the program will also include a visit to the U.S. by an international dance ensemble.  Additional financial support for the DanceMotion USA program is provided by Pfizer Inc. and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.