The Intro to Water, A Three Part Series – Mariel Madrid

Photo courtesy of Keone & Mari
Photo courtesy of Keone & Mari

This video by Mariel Madrid, half of the dynamic powerhouse duo of Keone & Mari, was released last month in August. We really wanted to cover it then, but the countless dance competitions pushed us back for a bit. Nonetheless, this is a video we felt we needed to share.

Mariel choreographed to Allison Krauss’ “Down to The River to Pray” – an interesting choice for a piece being that it’s not only a departure from hip-hop, but it’s categorized as a Christian folk hymn. But we all already knew that Keone & Mari like to push the boundaries of street dance, didn’t we?

Mariel gives us beautiful visuals, stunning aesthetics and an incredible eye for movement; but most importantly, she creates a piece that tears at the heart for all of the right reasons. There’s a lot going on beneath the lines with this piece. It’s not romance based nor party based nor swag based – all of which are fairly iconic for the hip-hop choreography world. Rather, this video captures life and the struggle between belief and non-belief; it also captures the struggle of self,  community and loneliness, and vibrantly, it captures the beauty folded within all of these things, returning us back to an older, much more innocent and clean slate. Alternating between a river scene and a desert scene, you’ll feel balance encroach upon you as you watch.


PS: We’re barely holding in our excitement for when this three part series begins.

Noelle Marie

Noelle Marie is a writer and personal essayist that covers topics ranging from social justice to the Asian diaspora to hip hop and street dance. She's currently finishing up a novel covering her roots in the Philippines, and she's the dance editor at the 5th. You can also catch her at any street dance event in LA either competing, judging, or performing.

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