Raphael Xavier
Hip hop/Breaker and Choreographer
Philadelphia, PA
2016 USA Fellow

This award is generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Raphael Xavier is known as an Innovative Movement Conceptualists. As a practitioner since 1983, he has made his career in dance theatre as a Breaker from the hip hop dance genre. Brenda Dixon Gottschild deemed Xavier as a fine rhythm technician who transforms a bravado dance style into an introspective meditation. His dismantling technique to the Breaking form creates a one of a kind accessibility for any movement enthusiasts.His dance work is created solely with the Breaking vocabulary juxtaposed with elements of non-traditional sounds, music and narratives. The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance was an autobiographical work overseen by Ralph Lemon in 2011 and brought together many of Xavier’s creative skills that included music, rap lyrics, story telling and visuals. This production was the impetus for RAPHSTRAVAGANZA in 2016, an outdoor urban circus narrative that took place in Philadelphia’s City Hall Courtyard funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. He was recently awarded the Pew Fellowship and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in choreography. Currently Raphael is a Professor teaching an introduction to hip hop styles and traditions and an improvisational approach to hip hop practices at Princeton University.

Portrait photo by Brian Mengini. 

  • Artwork by Raphael Xavier
    Coolsville, at Grand Performances LA. Photo courtesy of Lex Chmiel.
  • Artwork by Raphael Xavier
    Black Canvas performance at the REDCAT LA. Photo courtesy of Steven Gunther.
  • Artwork by Raphael Xavier
    Raphael Xavier, The Yard. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Artwork by Raphael Xavier Artwork by Raphael Xavier Artwork by Raphael Xavier