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MIXTAPE 5G: Sounding at the Speed of Movement

Live music, Hip Hop choreographers, and a lighting designer collaborate on a unique show that pushes the boundaries of each art form!


In their fifth year, the MIXTAPE Collective continues to celebrate and deepen its connection to the Street/Hip Hop dance and musical communities of the Twin Cities. MIXTAPE 5G: Sounding at the Speed of Movement brings the collective together in ways that reflect the future of communication and interaction in cypherspace. This futuristic imaginary is where battles are lost and won, where we find belonging, and question what is real. In the race to be the fastest, we compete to be able to download lightning but forget the thunder. What are the consequences? MIXTAPE 5G is where WE be.

The MIXTAPE Collective is a group of established and up-and-coming Street/Hip Hop dance (breakdancing, rocking, krump, house, Hip Hop, waacking, popping, and many others) choreographers, electronic and instrumental musicians, and a lighting designer. Each year we collaborate more closely to find a truly synergistic relationship between movement, music, and lighting. The New Music USA Grant will allow our group to push towards a completely original musical soundtrack by paying Stefon “Bionik” Taylor (Musical Director) the necessary funds to hire multiple musicians and provide fair payment for choreographers, dancers, and our lighting designer. We are concerned with investigating issues of identity, power, and social justice through each of our art forms (dance, music, and lighting).

MIXTAPE’s mission is to push the boundaries of Street and Hip Hop dance forms through an intensive process of collaboration. Established choreographers mentor newer dance-makers by providing critical insights around the creation process. The professional skill set of our musical director, Bionik, allows the choreographers to move beyond a dependence on recorded music. Bionik, recipient of the 2019 McKnight Fellowship for Composers, is expanding the mentorship mission of MIXTAPE to include musicians and producers that work with dancers. Our brilliant lighting designer and artist, Mike Grogan, provides a different way of thinking about performance where the lighting performs alongside the dancers and musicians.

The format of the 75-minute non-stop performance mimics the idea of a mixtape where each dance piece blends into the next by using elements of the previous work. MIXTAPE Side A centered around discussions about gender equality, cultural appropriation, and finding a home without a homeland. The artists of MIXTAPE Side B structured the performance around mass industry culture, the cost of the ticket of community membership, and the relationship between Asian Americans and Hip Hop art forms. MIXTAPE Part 3 (MP3) physically manifested conversations about environmental justice, solidarity through struggle, and remembering that Blackness is about joy and success. The current project, MIXTAPE Part IV: Now Streaming, is focused on violences against Black women, imagining power dynamics in a horizontal register, and the practice of being present in discomfort. MIXTAPE 5G: Sounding at the Speed of Movement is the subject of the New Music USA Grant and will use the war to be the fastest wi-fi network as the basis of constructing the performance. The show will run May 13, 2021, through May 16, 2021.

Project Media

Dancing Upstream
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This collaborative work features Yan Pang (dancer and musician), Stefon “Bionik” Taylor (musician and musical director), Jason “J-Sun” Noer (choreographer, dancer, & artistic director), and Mike Grogan (lighting designer and production manager). The piece is about water pollution in Pang’s home region of Chengdu, China and also touches on the power dynamics between different forces – male and female, “high” and “low” art forms, nature and humans.

Fast Forward/Rewind/RePLAY
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These works are a collaborative effort between Herbert Johnson III (choreographer and dancer), Stefon “Bionik” Taylor (musical director and live musician), and Mike Grogan (lighting designer and production manager). Johnson investigates the different sides of the dance community, finding belonging, and going beyond what is expected from a Street dancer. Johnson uses krump and popping with their choppy and flowing movement aesthetics to emphasize the unpredictable outcome of examining issues of trusting others and one’s self.

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This is a collaborative work between Frankie Hebres (choreographer), his cast of dancers, Stefon “Bionik” Taylor (musical director and live musician), Yan Pang (synth) and Mike Grogan (lighting designer and production manager). The piece explores Hebres’ sense of membership and identity as a Filipino man in American society, Hip Hop culture, and different genres of dance communities. Hebres uses elements of popping, breakdancing, and krump to journey through this landscape of lived experience.

Start and End Dates



Minneapolis, Minnesota

Project Created By

Saint Paul, Minnesota
J-Sun teaches, choreographs, and theorizes several forms of street dance. He believes in being accountable to community, challenging tradition, and artistic collaboration as a key element of social change. He is the Artistic Director for the Mixtape series at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. J-Sun is pursuing a Ph.D. in Theater Historiography…

In Collaboration With

Librettist and composer
Musical Director
Lighting Designer


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