How to Break creative team

Hip-hop choreographers Kwikstep and Rokafella, graffiti pioneer Part One, beatboxers Adam Matta and Yako 440, indie rocker Rebecca Hart, playwright Aaron Jafferis and director Chris Edwards collaborate on How to Break, the story of two hospitalized teenagers learning to live while their bodies are breaking.

As a pediatric hematologist and music therapist mix the fluent front of words they feed their patients with the doubt bubbling underneath, and a nurse mixes patients’ breath and heartbeats into beatboxed hospital soundscapes, a b-boy with sickle cell and b-girl with leukemia break through their diagnoses in search of a gut understanding of what it means to be “ill.”

Winner of the 2012 Barbour Playwright’s Award; developed by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Take Your Time festival , and New York Theatre Barn; How to Break was produced in New York City in 2012 by the OBIE-winning HERE and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, in association with Collective Consciousness Theatre.


Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio is a Hip-Hop Dancer/Choreographer/Director born and raised in New York City. Winner of a Bessie Award for choreography, principal dancer in Rhythm Technicians and GhettOriginal (creators of “Jam on the Groove,” nominated for a Drama Desk Award), he established the non-profit internationally-acclaimed hip-hop collective Full Circle Productions with his wife Rokafella.

Christopher Edwards has directed at Vermont Stage, Capitol Repertory Theater, St. Michael’s Playhouse, Lincoln Center “Meet the Artists” Program, Atlantic Theater’s 24 hour plays, Walker Arts Center, and the National Black Journalist Convention. He is Associate Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and Artistic Director of Point of Entry Theater in NYC.

New York-bred hip-hop pioneer Ana “Rokafella” Garcia is known for her high-impact dance style and her skills as an educator and community leader. She runs the hip-hop collective Full Circle Productions with her husband Kwikstep. She has performed around the world and in NYC (New Victory, The Apollo, BAM).

Aaron Jafferis’ musicals Kingdom (Richard Rodgers Award), Stuck Elevator (Creative Capital Award, Sundance/Time Warner Fellowship, NEFA National Theatre Pilot), Blood Magic, Shakespeare: The Remix, and No Lie have been produced or developed by The Old Globe, Public Theater, Sundance Theatre Lab, Atlantic Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many others.

Adam Matta is a human beatboxer and vocal performance artist from New York City. He fuses elements of hip-hop, rock, electronic, jazz, contemporary and Middle Eastern music. He has performed at Carnegie Hall with Bobby McFerrin, and at venues as diverse as Madison Square Garden, Apollo Theater, Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Stone.

Rebecca Hart, “a fine modern folk-rocker with sticky melodies and an ultratight band that packs a potent dose of downtown heat,” (Time Out New York) co-created the original rock musical Struck (Ice Factory Festival), acclaimed as a “highlight” by American Theatre Magazine.

Enrique “Part One” Torres is one of graffiti’s all-time great style masters, a pioneer before Hip-Hop was even a word. Part entered the subway graffiti movement in 1974 just after the foundations for piecing had been laid down. From 1977 to 1980, few writers could compete with Part One and his TDS partners. Now creating for walls and galleries worldwide, Part’s unique style has made an indelible mark on Hip-Hop culture.

Yako 440 is a musician whose sonic arsenal of human beatbox, turntables, bass, guitar, keys, and percussion has been heard on 6 continents, primarily with MC/beatboxer Baba Israel, and improvisational Hip-Hop theatre troupes Playback NYC and Hip-Hop Commedia. He co-founded the label/production company Subphonik Music.

  • “[Stuck Elevator] is a fascinating and compelling work that proves strong ideas can’t be contained in simple boxes... claustrophobic and expansive, intimate and existential, personal and political all at once.” – Variety
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.