PHOTO BY MARIO LOBO/ARTISTA
NYC born and raised LA ROKA, also known internationally as BGIRL ROKAFELLA for herBreak dance mastery, performed as a teen in school productions and later at open mics such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She began to perform at theatrical venues with Full Circle Prod (the non profit company she co founded with her husband Kwikstep) and found her voice after successfully providing interludes for the dance pieces in their evening length dance theater programs. La Roka is well rooted in Hip-hop and Afro Latin rhythms because she grew up at a time when so many genres were emerging. She composed a Gospel version of Jimmy Castor's "Just Begun" proving her versatility while offering an empowering message in her performances. With the help of Pepatian she honed her poetry and singing skills around the Bronx and had her poems published in an anthology of Bronx Poets.
She has proven her multi faceted creativity, as a model for Athleta, an actress in the film "On the Outs" and the choreo-play "SHE". She became a film maker directing the documentary "All The Ladies Say" and was hired to offer her unique Hip hop choreography for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 70th anniversary Hamlet. If you watched the Netflix series The Get Down, you saw her in the 3rd episode and she performed with the House of Ninja for DANCE PARADE 2016! In 2019 she was asked to participate in the launch party discussion for Bruce Lee's WARRIOR Cinemax/HBO series based on his writings. Recently she appeared in Lin Manuel Miranda's In The Heights Movie.
Roka usually does a Breakin demo during her sets because Hip-hop saved her life, so she reminds the world of its grace and power. She can perform songs in Spanish and offers tribute to her ancestors when she opens her shows.
She can perform solo, with DJ KS360 with a band and dancers. She is currently an adjunct dance professor at The New School and has worked with the Smithsonian as a guest lecturer about Hip-hop, womanhood and the Afro Latin essence. She has been hired as a Key Note speaker for The Field at Gibney Dance and at the DanceNYC Symposium at Hunter College. Red Bull hired her in 2018 as a Host for the 1st ever International Bgirl Top 16 BC One battle in Switzerland.
La Roka began singing and doing poetry at theaters such as: Hostos Community College, Kennedy Center, New Victory Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Columbia College, Stonybrook, Columbia University, Out of La Negrura with Pepatian, The Point, BAAD, NJPAC and DePaul University. She was a Grand Marshal for the 2017 NYC Dance Parade and presented at the 2012 Bessie Awards at the Apollo.
Festivals: Momma's Hip-hop Kitchen, Rock The Bronx/ BMHC, Soul Babees/Club Vynyl, Stonybrook University, DePaul University, Fem Flava, River to River Battery Park, The Atrium/Lincoln Center, Mega 97.9 Puerto Rican Day Festival 116 street, Jackie Robinson Bandshell, Casita Maria Block Party, Central Park Summerstage, Boogie on the Boulevard, Wave Hill, Bronx Museum's 40th Anniversary Gala/First Friday, OSF The Green Show, Denim Day NS/BX , Step Ya Game Up, Rebel Minded Festival, Coney Island Breakers Reunion, Soundiew Park Summer Festival and Pregones Rumba in the Garden Festival.. Little Island, BLAQTINX festival.
Clubs: The Delancy-Collage Art party, Roseland Ballroom, BK Nation Le Poisson Rouge, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Santos Partyhouse, Ministry of Sound London, Le Bain Douche Paris, Cassiopaia Berlin.
Recorded with Armand Van Helden, Robert Sanchez, the Orphan Family
Inspirations: Rita Moreno, Lucecita Benitez, Ruth Fernandez, Celia Cruz, Irene Cara, Lisa Lisa, Olga Tanon, La India, Anita Baker, Chaka, Whitney Houston and Patti LaBelle.
Veteran b-girl Ana "Rokafella" Garcia's first documentary film ALL THE LADIES SAY features the work of female breakdancers in the United States, including Aiko, Baby Love, Beta, Lady Champ, Severe and Vendetta. This film raises awareness of the female presence in Hip-hop and promotes the growth of this dance community in the United States and internationally. Discussions about femininity, motherhood and the representation of women in popular culture are a few of the themes explored by the dancers.
You can purchase / stream it by clicking here.
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