From August 14th to 28th, 2016, hip hop artists MC Deirdre “D.S. Sense” Smith, DJ Raymond “DJ Raedawn” Pirtle, Beatmaker Danny “Supreme La Rock” Clavesilla, and Dancer Victor “Kid Glyde” Alicea, along with site manager Paul Rockower, traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, as part of the Next Level program.Through the Next Level Academy, hosted by local partner Unicolombo, the Next Level artist-educators offered workshops in dance, emceeing, DJing, and beatmaking, working with student-collaborators to encourage not only artistic excellence, technique, and self-expression.
The artist-educators also participated in an English-language discussion, attended by approximately 75 students, in which the artist-educators spoke about cultural exchange and gave short performances. At the end of the discussion, both artists and students participated in an informal jam together. The artist-educators also had the opportunity to collaborate with La Banda Armonía de Bolivar, a local ensemble that plays traditional costeño (coastal) musical. The Next Level Academy’s final concert, which took place at the cultural center El Centro Cultural La Palmeras, attracted hundreds of audience members and received coverage on several local television networks. Team Colombia is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to create global community through hip hop culture.