B-Long Verbal Cypher

Event Type
Event Description

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.

Daniel "BRAVEMONK" Haywood is a multi-talented artist, educator, and cultural ambassador based in Chicago. He is a b-boy, host/emcee, and choreographer who has performed, judged, hosted and taught across the United States and internationally. He has appeared in events such as danceGathering in Lagos, Nigeria, and the International Cultural Festival of Contemporary Dance in Algiers. He has also been featured in various media including the movie Dreams released by Lionsgate Films and the anthology Black Theater Is Black Life: An Oral History of Chicago Theater and Dance, 1970-2010. BRAVEMONK is on faculty at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago since 2017, where he served as a Fellow on the Antiracism Transformation Team during its initial inception, 2021-2023. He has taught and set work at many other prestigious institutions including Hubbard Street Dance, Beloit College, Kennesaw State University, Western Michigan University, is consistently brought in to teach at the University of Chicago, and in 2017 he was recipient of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award. As a Master of Ceremonies, BRAVEMONK has kept the energy hype while managing the flow and vibe of various large-scale events, including the Red Bull B.C. One Chicago Cypher (2014), Juste Debut U.S.A. National Qualifiers in Washington, D.C. (2018 & 2019), Chicago Dance Makers Forum (2021 Awards Celebration), Red Bull Dance Your Style Chicago Qualifiers (2021 & 2022), Embarc Chicago Variety Spectacular (2022 & 2023), Windy City Throwdown presented by Snipes (2023), and Red Bull Dance Your Style U.S.A. National Finals (2023). BRAVEMONK was also a founding contributor and co-host of Power Style Radio (2013- 2018). He is a member of Chicago's legendary breaking crew, Phaze II Crosstown Crew, and co-founding Artistic Director of BraveSoul Movement. BRAVEMONK's movement vocabulary is rooted in Original Manifestational "Black" American urban vernacular dance forms, including Breaking, Hip Hop freestyle and social dances, and House. He also draws on his training in martial arts and other embodied Afro-diasporic movement languages. BRAVEMONK's artistic pursuits extend beyond dance. He has played the character "Basilio" in The Rosina Project, a Hip-Hopera developed and produced by The Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement. He has also appeared as a character in an episode of Fox/Disney television series The Big Leap and as a Voice Over Actor for characters Hu Yi, Du Yi, and Lu Yi in the upcoming fanimated series titled Rise of the Last Dragon. BRAVEMONK was named on NewCity's print magazines Players 50 (Top 50 leaders of Chicago's theater, dance, opera, and comedy culture) 2018 and 2023 list of who really performs for Chicago right now.

Kelsa “K-Soul” Rieger-Haywood is a dance artist, culturally responsive educator and community organizer. Kelsa is Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director of BraveSoul Movement (since 2016), and a member of the internationally known street-dance crew, Venus Fly (since 2005). Kelsa’s movement training has been through a range of spaces and forms, including underground House and Hip Hop, capoeira, samba, salsa/batchata, modern techniques and gymnastics. Kelsa has performed and presented work at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), B.Supreme (London, UK), B-girl Be (Minneapolis, MN) J.U.I.C.E. Hip-Hop Dance Festival (Hollywood, CA), Constellation/ Links Hall (Chicago, IL) and Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago, IL). A prominent focus of Robinson’s work is building reciprocal collaboration and meaningful exchange between Hip Hop and the academy. Kelsa currently serves as Associate Professor of Instruction at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, a Fellow of Columbia's Antiracist Transformation Team, Coordinator of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Studies Minor, and Curator of The B-SERIES, a biannual festival and co-curricular program celebrating Hip Hop & street dance culture at the College since 2013. Kelsa holds a bachelor degree in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

B-Long: Honoring and Examining Lineage, Legacy, and Belonging in Hip Hop and Street Dance Culture celebrates ten years of the B-Series Festival with workshops, cyphers, panels, screenings, battles, and jams that unite academic scholars, commercial practitioners, and community innovators.

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, 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.

Running Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Dance Styles
Hip Hop


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-8330