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About Raphael


Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Raphael Xavier is an award-winning artist and alumnus of the world renowned Hip Hop dance company, Rennie Harris Puremovement. A 2013 Pew Fellowship Grantee, 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and 2016 United States Artist Fellow, Xavier has been a professional breaker/dancer for the last 20 years, working in a variety of fields including music, photography and film.


A self-taught Hip Hop dancer and Breaking practitioner since 1983, Xavier continues to learn and recreate new ways to expand the vocabulary of the dance form through constant research of the culture, performance, practice and by staying present in the community. His extensive research in Hip Hop forms and culture, specifically Breaking, has led to the creation of Ground-Core, a Somatic dance technique that gives the practitioner a better understanding of the body within all dance forms. His goal is to make the form accessible to any body type and level. Ground-Core technique is featured in most of his choreography and repertory works.


He is currently in production on a new repertory show entitled Sassafrazz: From Roots to Mastery. The production features a Jazz quartet and 4 Breakers highlighting the parallels of street dance, improvisation and African-American forms. 


Xavier currently lives in Philadelphia and is a professor at Princeton University and UT Austin where he teaches the History of Hip Hop Dance and Culture and Intro to Breaking courses.



Independence Public Media Foundation

(film grant)



National Dance Project (Sassafrazz)


New York Live Arts Live Feed Creative Residency


Guggenheim Fellowship

United States Artists
National Dance Project (Point of Interest)


MacDowell Artist Colony Fellowship
Pew Fellowship


National Dance Project (Unofficial Guide)
Pew Production Grant (Unofficial Guide)


COLA Individual Artist Fellowship

Learn more about Raphael

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