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Unveiling the dance magician

June 13, 2016

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Unveiling the dance magician

Adrian Discipulo

Tall, uniquely established in both posture and dress, and completed by a uniquely fashionable head of hair, he dashes toward center stage without introduction and crouches in leapfrog position.

Within the same split second, he bursts upward out of his shell of anonymity, and it becomes clear that he is not only wild but also precise in his movements.

His body thrashes back and forth, as his abdomen thrusts forward. Before the audience can process such rapid movements, his hands are behind his head, and his hips, in perfect synchronization with the movements of his head, begin to oscillate, producing vicarious waves that leave a stunned and screaming audience. His primary goal remains set in stone — for the audience to unbox who he is through dance, music and backdrop symbolism.

A goal is to show the world that he is not only a “dance magician,” as noted by his Facebook, but that he is the one and only Brandon Davis.

“He is an extraordinary dancer who moves with such fluidity, vulnerability and intelligence,” said Diana Argabite, director of De Anza’s Euphrat Museum of Art. “I’ll never forget watching him dancing inside an Art & Social Justice Institute installation about mass incarceration, the space 6’ x 9’ like a standard jail cell.”

Soft-voiced, yet simultaneously commanding and directed in what he wishes to convey, Davis, 24, communication major, describes himself as a “contemporary, urban dancer.”

Davis has earned numerous first, second and third place finishes in team-based dance competitions.

Within minutes of conversation, the enigma that is Davis becomes surprisingly forthcoming. Dedicated and cordial in all respects, Brandon said he values his friendships closely and makes himself open to substitute for other choreographers and instructors in both Oakland and San Francisco, such that one day he will be in charge of his own powerful class.

His mind seeks to transform both abstract feelings and tangible issues into complex movements that represent his heart and mind, he said, and he does it by meshing the distinct popping, locking, and breaking facets of hip-hop and the intimacy of ballet — a clash that Davis said is the foundation of his contemporary style of dancing.

“I’ve been dancing since I was in diapers,” Davis said, but he did not begin unpacking and practicing dance as an art form until he was around 18.

More recently, Davis said that his dance has become inclusive of the expression of race, class and ethnicity.

“Through my communication and rhetoric studies, I have learned what’s going on in the world, and how to express that through what I do,” he said. “With my dance, it’s a collision. I can show a larger audience this different way of communicating.”

Argabite said,“He [brings] to life words stenciled on the walls — grief and hope, fear and community. His dancing mirrors his generosity of spirit and deep concern for humanity.”

Wherever Davis goes, he leaves a trail of amiability, as acquaintances of all backgrounds cannot help but appreciate his empathy and the passion by which he guides himself and his elegant movements.

Davis is set to further his studies as a rhetoric major at UC Berkeley in the fall, and aspires to advance his dance career as a solo performer.

“Whenever I was discouraged, his personality made all the difference,” said Davis’s close friend and co-worker Sarah Ybarra. “He’s very professional and caring. He’s very independent, and to me that’s very refreshing. He works very hard in every facet of life. If you are a friend of Brandon’s, you become a part of everyone in his life.”

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