What do you get when you mash up Kilomet109 designs with improvisational dance at a nightclub on New York’s Lower East Side? An evening of spontaneous theatrics…
Imagine an improvisational dance performance where rather than following the tempo created by a band’s drummer or bassist, the band takes its cues from the dancers and freestyles a riff to match their movements. Now imagine these same dancers are decked out head to toe in the latest Kilomet109 clothes and that their movements are inspired by videos projected on the nightclub’s walls — edited to match beat and tempo — of the mesmerizing rhythmic processes of H’mong and Nùng An textile artisans: spinning yarn, stirring an indigo vat, or rock polishing hemp with their feet. If that sounds way out there on the spectrum of creative expression, even for a cultural hub like New York, we agree. But it’s exactly what transpired on a steamy July night in 2018 at NuBlu club on Manhattan’s famed Lower East Side. The idea blossomed out of a phone call with LayeRhythm founder Mai Lê, a French Vietnamese choreographer living in NYC, who reached out to Kilomet109 to propose a collaboration that would link together elements from our distinct creative worlds, namely, club music, street dance, and contemporary Vietnamese fashion. After a few planning sessions, a flight around the world, and a fitting with the dancers, all the stars aligned and the event went off without a hitch.
What is LayeRhythm?
The New York Times described LayeRhythm as, “an occasional brew of partying and performing that unfolds as a series of interactive sessions in which suggestions from the crowd beget songs and steps. Imagine an improv comedy show where dancing, not laughs, is the currency. Then imagine a musicians’ jam session where the band is compelled to keep the dancers’ pace instead of the other way around.” The article also describes the genesis of the group as follows — “LayeRhythm began in 2015 in New York and has included installments in Detroit and Philadelphia. It focuses on freestyle dancing — impromptu, unchoreographed movements driven by the spirit of the music — and is a forum for street styles like B-boying, house, waacking and flexing. D.J.s spin at the start, middle and end of the night, in periods of free mingling and dancing that play more like a conventional party.”
If you are interested in more information on LayeRhythm you can check out their Facebook page.
Now, let’s get to the fun part – The show!! Below are some video clips of the performances. The first clip features the incredible movements of top rock world champion Ivan Cofield, AKA bboy Heat Rock (Insta @heatrockone) wearing a Sùng Jacket and Panel Wrapped Trousers. Next up is a clip of renowned popper Todd Breithaupt, AKA PopnTod (Insta: @popntod), wearing our Grandad Collar Batik Shirt. The third video is of Mai Lê (Insta: @mailegrooves), with her groovy House dance moves, shaking it up in a Bolero Jacket and Panel Wrapped Trousers. Not featured in the videos but equally amazing was dancer L’ka T (Insta: @lkarockin) who rocked out in our Mây Dress and was phenomenal.
“Imagine an improv comedy show where dancing, not laughs, is the currency. Then imagine a musicians’ jam session where the band is compelled to keep the dancers’ pace instead of the other way around.”
This one night engagement was hands down one of the most unique and fun events we have done. It was a privilege to work with Mai Le and to witness the incredible dancers and musicians that make up the LayeRhythm community. Kilomet109 is always looking for new and unique ways to communicate our story and build a community of creatives in different disciplines from all across the world.
Special shoutout to Kash Gaines of Yak Films for supplying the videos from the event. You can check out the YAK Films channel on YouTube by following this link. Equal thanks to Loreto Jamlig aka Still1 for providing the photos. http://www.still1.com/