B-Series Festival Celebrates a Decade of Hip Hop and Street Dance Culture with B-LONG

PhotoColumbia College Chicago's B-LONG Festival, from Feb 29 to Mar 3, celebrates 10 years of Hip Hop and Street Dance Culture. Photo by Kerbie
Columbia College Chicago's B-LONG Festival, from February 29 to March 3, celebrates 10 years of Hip Hop and Street Dance Culture. Featuring workshops, panels, battles, and Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago Auditions on March 3.

The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago is thrilled to announce the 10th Annual B-Series Festival. This year’s focus, B-LONG:Honoring and Examining Lineage, Legacy, and Belonging in Hip Hop and Street Dance Culture, is scheduled to take place from February 29 to March 3, 2024. In partnership with Red Bull and the Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference Series, this milestone event is co-curated by Daniel "BRAVEMONK" Haywood and Kelsa "K-Soul" Rieger-Haywood with Amina Norman-Hawkins and Dr. Imani Kai Johnson, founder of the renowned Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference. 

B-LONG serves as a vibrant intersection of workshops, panels, screenings, battles, and jams, acting as a unifying platform for scholars, practitioners, and community innovators. This year's festival places a special emphasis on Chicago's profound influence on the evolution of Hip Hop and Street Dance culture, by expanding the reach of the Show & Prove series beyond California and hosting Red Bull's Dance Your Style Chicago auditions. 

Highlighting the festival's diverse offerings are workshops on Popping, House, Hip Hop Freestyle, beatmaking, and crafting performance, led by national and local artists, a celebration of Krump film screening, a community archiving day, and engaging discussions centered around Breaking, Hip Hop in academia, and Black social culture. The centerpiece of the festival, the B-LONG Battle & Jam, features globally renowned judges LaTasha Barnes, BIONIC, and Mikey Disko along with Chicago’s legendary Lady Sol and Footwork pioneer Q.V.I.P.  

The festival culminates on March 3, with the Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago Auditions hosted by BRAVEMONK and Killarina, creating an electrifying atmosphere for participants and spectators alike. 

Dive into the world of B-LONG and view the performance schedule, detailed information and registration details

The presentation of the B-Series 10th Anniversary is made possible in part by support from Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Arts Recovery Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Honey Pot Performance's The Chicago Black Social Culture Map, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Red Bull. 

The presentation of 7NMS|PROPHET Wkshp: PILLARS was made possible in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. 

This project is partially supported by a grant from the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Columbia College Chicago. 

  • Schedule


    Popping Workshop | with BIONIC (Machine Gone Funk / Rock Force Crew) – 6-7:15 p.m. 

    B-LONG Verbal Cypher 7:30-9 p.m. 
    Led by Jaeya Bayani, Daniel “BRAVEMONK” Haywood, and Kelsa “K-Soul” Rieger-Haywood, this cross generational community conversation on the theme of Hip Hop and B-LONGing welcomes OGs, students, and everyone in between to share their stories in verbal cyphers.   


    House Workshop | with LaTasha Barnes – 6– 7:15 p.m. 

    CAPSTONE Film Screening and Conversation – 7:30-9 p.m. 
    Enjoy CAPSTONE - a short dance film by Daniel “Daniel D.F.Y.H” Williams (Purus Motus) featuring ChiBuck, a collective providing knowledge/awareness of Krump in Chicago while building respect for the culture and join the filmmaker and dancers for a conversation moderated by Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference Founder Dr. Imani Kai Johnson 


    Chicago Black Social Culture Map Community Archiving Day | with Honey Pot Performance – 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. 
    Bring your flyers, photos, fashion, and stories to add to the ongoing digital archive! The Chicago Black Social Culture Map, designed by Honey Pot Performance in collaboration with the Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation, the Blackivists, and a team of local cultural historians and cultural producers, exists to preserve Chicago's black social cultural lineage - past, present, and future - through an experience that is both fun and informative.  

    Chicago Breaking: Lineage, Legacy, and Collective Consciousness | with Serouj “MIDUS” Aprahamian, BRAVEMONK and local Breaking pioneers – 10-11:30 a.m. 
    Research on the early years of Breaking will springboard to a broader discussion of where Hip Hop and street dance forms have been and where they are going today. We’ll examine local histories to see what we can learn and build on from the past to move forward with honor and integrity into the future.  

    B-LONGing & Futurity: Undergraduate Scholars Panel | with Jaeya Bayani, Vi McMahon, Myka Okot and Dr. Imani Kai Johnson 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. 
    Undergraduate scholars share, workshop, and present their research on who or what “belongs” in hip hop culture, in practitioner communities, or crews and draw particular attention to what Hip Hop will look like in the coming generations.  

    Prophet WKSHP: PILLARS | with 7NMS (Marjani Forté-Saunders and Everett Saunders) 1:30-3:30 p.m.  
    7NMS’s PILLARS Workshop shares how principles of Listening, Sourcing, and Collective Leadership are critical anchors for their work. PILLARS asks participants, performing artists in movement and music, to bring their full selves by creating bites of art that share three self-identified pillars of their creativity.  

    B-LONG Battle & Jam – 2-10 p.m. 
    The Dance Center Theater is transformed into a DJ’d dance party with head-to-head freestyle dance battles, performances, cyphers, live painting and more! The jam kicks off with a slammin’ performance by Furious Styles, a collaboration between DJ Shon Dervis and percussionist Ernie Adams (2-4 p.m.) During this opening set, three Cypher Winners will be selected for automatic entry into the Top 16 at the Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago Auditions.  Judges include globally celebrated House, Hip Hop, and Waacking icon LaTasha Barnes, Popper BIONIC (Machine Gone Funk / Rock Force Crew), Freestyler Mikey Disko (MOP TOPS / Knuckle Neck Tribe / Soul Sector) and Chicago’s own legendary dancers: Lady Sol and Q.V.I.P. DJs include DJ Roc, Moz Definite, and Nero the Professor, plus Jimmy Payne, Jr. and more special guests and performances. Hosted by: BRAVEMONK & Killarina.   

    Competition Format: DJ’s spin four different “cypher sets” of the following genres: Funk, Hip Hop, House and Juke/Footwork. During each cypher, 8 dancers are selected for the battle, and randomly put into eight 4-person crews. The crews battle and the 4 winning crews move to the next round. At the end of each semi-final battle, the winning crew will select one member of the losing crew to join them in the finals for an epic 5v5 Open Styles Battle. Prizes: Winning Crew = $2,500 ($500 to each dancer), Second Place = $500 ($100 to each dancer).   

    Why Should We Be Documenting Black Social Culture Now? | with Honey Pot Performance, Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Museum, and more – 3:30-5 p.m. 
    The Chicago Black Social Culture Map (CBSCM) is a public humanities project documenting Black social culture from the Great Migration through the early 21st century with a focus on the emergence of house culture in the 1980s. The panel draws on the CBSCM project’s core goals and values to engage in a spirited conversation about why we should be documenting Black social culture now. We will discuss the joys and challenges of building a community archive and the ethics and care of engaging, documenting, and preserving community sourced knowledge forms and practices.  


    Hip Hop Freestyle Workshop | with Mikey Disko (MOP TOP / Knuckle Neck Tribe / Soul Sector) – 11a.m.-2:15 p.m. 

    Hip Hop in the Academy | with Dr. Ayo Walker 12:30-2 p.m. 

    Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago Auditions – 12 p.m. (doors open); 1-8:00 p.m. 

    Judges: BIONIC (Rock Force Crew / Machine Gone Funk), Mikey Disko (MOP TOP / Knuckle Neck Tribe/ Soul Sector), Lady Sol 

    DJ: TBA 

    Hosts: BRAVEMONK and Killarina 

    Finalists will move on to the Red Bull Dance Your Style Kansas City Qualifier. Doors open at noon. Day of sign-ups close at 1 p.m.  

    Red Bull Dance Your Style Auditions feature street dance judges who are looking for charisma, rhythm, musicality, movement and creativity. All street dance styles are welcome but please note, this is not a breaking competition. Breaking in front of the judges may lead to disqualification. Dancers must be 16 or older and a US resident to compete. 

    Open Swim Presents Making Beats & Performance | with Barron “Slot-A” Bollar2:30-3:45 p.m.