Prelude NorCal

Gentrification of Hip-Hop: 
Can the Front Half Sit Down?

What is the place for non-Black dancers in today’s hip-hop/“urban” dance culture? This year, Prelude NorCal is using our platform to investigate the issue of cultural appropriation of hip-hop dance as a Black cultural art form, and our privilege as non-Black dancers. We are inviting community leaders and academic experts to speak and educate on the history of hip hop, and its commodification and gentrification that we are seeing in dance today.

To become a more informed and inclusive community, we invite all our past Prelude NorCal attendees and wider circles to participate in our 2-day speaker series this fall. If you are interested in learning more about how to enact anti-racism and fight complicity in your dance experience, we implore you to join us and learn more about this critical issue.




Community Panelists

Frequently Asked Questions

This year Prelude NorCal reevaluated our Mission Statement and core values. One of these values is inclusivity. We strongly believe that in order for the dance community to be more inclusive, we must celebrate diversity and give space to marginalized voices. As hip-hop is a fundamentally Black cultural art form, we wanted to highlight the history and subsequent gentrification of hip-hop dance in the “urban” / “open style” dance context Prelude NorCal has inhabited. We are bringing in Black hip-hop academic experts and dance leaders to share their perspectives and experiences on how we can create a more inclusive community. We hope that you will participate so that we can all learn how to enact anti-racist practices in our dance culture.

Another one of Prelude NorCal’s core values is community. We are committed to investing in our local and wider dance community through our annual competition, and hope that those who have attended in the past - whether as dancers or in the audience - will have a vested interest in making that community better. We believe that promoting anti-racism is the best way to stand in solidarity with marginalized dancers and community-members, specifically our Black members. We believe that everyone, whether you have attended Prelude NorCal or not, has something to learn from this event. Particularly for non-Black dancers and dance leaders, we believe that we must be educated in order to fight against the tendency toward complicity. We hope you will join us!

In dance workshops, we often ask “can the front half sit down?” to give folks in the back the space to dance, to see and to be seen. The value of doing so is community; how can we make sure that everyone in the class or on the team is given the space they deserve? We hope to use this ethos as a guiding value for us to begin exploring the dichotomy between the many different “front halves” and “back halves” of the dance community and at different scales.

Our lovely lecturers/instructors Traci Bartlow and Jillian Amadi are promoting the idea that dancing and education do not have to mutually exclusive; we can move and learn at the same time! Rather than categorizing learning into strict materials, we hope that these workshop/lecture combos can shape a new form of learning.

Our suggested donation for one day is $20, and $40 for two days. If you cannot donate the listed amounts, please do not worry. Any donation, in any capacity, means the world to us and will be greatly appreciated. What we value most is your attendance and even more, you spreading the word of our events to your friends and community!

Our third and final core value is hospitality. A payment-required event poses a barrier to education for marginalized and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and we want everyone to feel welcome. As this event is meant to foster inclusivity and respect in our community, we are against a paywall that could discourage attendance. That being said, we also wholeheartedly believe in paying our cherished Black educators/artists their due respect and rates. 100% of our donations will go towards compensating our guest speakers. Of course, if you can donate more than the suggested amount, our team would greatly appreciate it.

If you are an individual entity looking to make a tax deductible donation, you may do so at You will receive a receipt via email with our Federal Tax ID.
We are offering dance teams who want to partner with us the opportunity to sponsor our event. For a $200 flat rate your team can be a sponsor, effectively covering your current members’ individual donation rates. We’ll include you in a list of official sponsors as teams that are investing with us to promote anti-racism in dance. If inclusivity is a core value for your team the same way it is for Prelude NorCal and Main Stacks we hope you will participate as a sponsor. If your team cannot contribute financially, however, we would greatly appreciate you circulating news of our event to your respective networks and communities. At the end of the day, all we really care about is your attendance and enthusiasm to learn!

Links to our Zoom webinar will be made available on our Eventbrite page, as well as on this website. Again, the event is free to attend and open to the public!

Official Program Partners


All proceeds will go towards compensating our amazing speakers and panelists. Stickers are designed and handmade by our marketing team. You can also choose to pick up your stickers in Oakland, or have the stickers mailed out to you ($1 shipping fee). Click here to order!

*Deadline for sticker orders is Tuesday, Nov 24th 11:59pm.