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Ladies of Hip-Hop onstage at the Orpheum

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 3/20/24 | 3/20/24

The Black Dancing Bodies Project:  Speak My Mind

Hunter –  Catskill Mountain Foundation in partnership with Works & Process presents Ladies of Hip-Hop in a performance of authentic street and club dance on stage at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center in Tannersville on Saturday, March 30.

Part of an ongoing performance and documentary effort focused on Black women in street and club dance culture, this session of Black Dancing Bodies continues to explore the power of the choreopoem; first coined in 1975 by writer Ntozake Shange (for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf); Each member of the collective responds to the question, “If I could speak my mind, what would I say?” In this world premiere, experience new writings, music, and movement spanning dance styles from African, to waacking, vogue, Hip-hop, and house; all curated under the direction of Michele Byrd-McPhee.

“Each woman’s voice stands powerfully on its own.”     —Dance Enthusiast

Ladies of Hip-Hop is an all-female intergenerational dance collective that creates dance works illuminating the strength, power and diversity of  women in Hip-Hop.  Ever present in the work are the freestyle, cipher, and call and response aspects of  the origins of street and club dance culture, while exploring the space of proscenium performance. 

Under the direction of founder Michele Byrd-Mcphee, Ladies of Hip-Hop Dance Collective (LDC) builds on the shapeshifting paths laid out by generations of Black women artists and activists on and off the stage. As a nonprofit organization, LOHH’s mission is to provide artistic opportunities for women of color through female-empowered workshops, performances, public talks, and professional development training. 

Byrd-Mcphee is a street dance activist who works to decolonize hip-hop culture regarding gender, sex, and cultural and socio-historic racial lines. With a BS from Temple University and an MS from Drexel University, Byrd-Mcphee has worked in many sectors of the entertainment industry, having been a Production Coordinator at Brooklyn Academy of Music and a Senior Music Coordinator at Late Night with Seth Meyers, and now a leader of LOHH. Additionally, she has been awarded the Integrated Arts Residency Fellowship at University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching her course “Hip-Hop, Women and the World” to further enforce the idea of re-contextualizing hip-hop spaces. Byrd-McPhee currently serves as a Bessie Award Committee Member along with her ongoing commitment as Executive Director for Ladies of Hip-Hop 501c3 and artistic director of LOHH Dance Collective.

Ladies of Hip-Hop performs on Saturday, March 30, 2024 at 7:00 pm at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center, 6050 Main Street, Tannersville, NY. Tickets are available at or or call 518 263 2063. For information about Catskill Mountain Foundation’s upcoming programs, please visit

SpeakMyMind was commissioned by Works & Process, developed in Works & Process LaunchPAD residencies at Bethany Arts Community (2022, 2023, and 2024) and Catskill Mountain Foundation (2022), and Office Hours Residency at The Kennedy Center (2023) with performances at the Guggenheim Museum, Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, SummerStage, Dancers Responding to AIDS Hudson Valley Dance Festival, and New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

SpeakMyMind is a 2023 New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project grantee, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and Mellon Foundation.

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