Sep 9, 2018
In this Brothaspeak Podcast episode #77 we speak to famed choreographer & director Jamal Sims about his documentary WHEN THE BEAT DROPS, which is a bold and energetic documentary exploring "bucking," a dance subculture popular within the black LGBTQ community in the South.
Jamal Sims is one of today’s most sought after choreographer/directors in the industry. Some of his recent projects include the fifth installment of the Step Up series, the acclaimed Microsoft “Surface/Surface Pro” tablet commercial, and the viral “Safety Video” hit for Virgin America. Jamal has also worked with Neil Patrick Harris as the Supervising Choreographer for RENT at the Hollywood Bowl. Now he features his well received documentary, When the Beat Drops.
When the Beat Drops
Defined by dynamic and unified movements and full of bold pageantry, fierce style, and undeniable form, “bucking” is a dance subculture that is slowly entering the mainstream. More than two decades old, it was created by African American gay men in the South as a response to being excluded from participation in majorette routines, due to homophobia and societal pressure.
In When the Beat Drops—a feature documentary debut by famed choreographer Jamal Sims, whose credits include RuPaul’s Drag Race, So You Think You Can Dance, and Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour—the origins and evolution of bucking are explored, as are the life stories and struggles of various Atlanta performers. Doing what Paris Is Burning (Frameline14) and Rize did for ball culture and “krumping” respectively, When the Beat Drops offers an electrifying first cinematic glimpse into the phenomenon of “bucking,” featuring ecstatic dance sequences throughout the film. Anthony, a survivor of violence that threatened his ability to perform, is the creator of one of the leading bucking groups in the city; Flash is a radio personality with a gay mom who has been in and out of jail for half of his life; and Napoleon is a teacher who also runs a non-profit music advocacy group.
Many of the performers risk corporate jobs to follow their passion for dance, build up the community, and remain true to themselves. And the candid conversations with team captains about issues and stigma within the community make the film truly shine. Presenting an intimate look at the performers’ dedication to their chosen families and their craft, When the Beat Drops culminates in an edge-of-your-seat, intense competition celebrating triumph, athleticism, and artistry.
(Credit - ANGELIQUE SMITH)
GO BEHIND THE MOVEMENT WHEN THE BEAT DROPS
The documentary When the Beat Drops explores "bucking," which is more than a dance -- it's a movement.
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