Our mission at MEMO is to cultivate an environment that celebrates the Black and Brown legacy of hip hop while empowering kids of all ages through movement via creativity, storytelling, and community in Madison, WI and beyond. We further aim to ensure that all of our services are accessible and affordable for any interested youth by operating on a low cost and/or volunteer basis.
For years, the Madison area has maintained a broken relationship with hip hop culture, much in part due to racial injustice and segregation. Despite their inaccuracy, claims that the hip hop scene draws a violent and dangerous crowd have run rampant, further stigmatizing and alienating communities of color and thus, reinforcing systemic racism and inequality.
Furthermore, hip hop dance has long been appropriated by communities across the world who continue to ignore it's history and incredibly rich Black and Brown roots. The style's original purpose, to serve as a tool for self-expression and change, has been diminished by a lack of understanding of and appreciation for it's legacy.
At MEMO, we believe that only by garnering an awareness and celebration of hip hop's legacy, can the true power of hip hop and it's use as a medium for self-expression and change be unleashed.
Our curriculum rests on four fundamental pillars:
Through acquiring a basis of knowledge and appreciation for the Black and Brown legacy of hip hop, a strong cultural foundation is implemented in which youth can further develop movement fundamentals, an understanding of self-expression, and the importance of presentation from.
By developing an understanding for fundamental movement via technique, skills, and choreography, youth can begin to apply their cultural knowledge in action and explore new areas of hip hop dance through the mediums of self-expression and presentation.
Using one's identity as a backbone for hip hop is key to self-expression; once youth have had the chance to explore various styles and genres and consciously or unconsciously develop a sense of their unique voice, their knowledge, movement, and presentation will all be elevated.
Whether it be through performing for an audience or taking a stand against injustice, presentation allows for youth to utilize their art for something greater than themselves while standing on the groundwork of knowledge, movement, and expression that they've built and will continue to explore.