This all-female crew is shaking up Oakland’s street dancing scene

Video produced by Jessica Jones.

From the Fly Girls of “In Living Color” to the famous silhouettes of Beyoncé’s single ladies, there are plenty of pop culture examples of jaw-dropping female dancers.

But for Oakland-based Jenay Anolin and Samara Atkins, both classically trained dancers who later fell in love with street dance, the options for women felt limiting. The pair met at a dance audition in 2008. “In a lot of the groups that we were seeing, there was a heavy focus on the objectification of women,” Anolin said.

“They didn’t have the essence of what I wanted to portray as a dancer, which was freedom, confidence, and empowerment,” Atkins said.

The two formed a partnership and set out to create what they weren’t seeing for women and girls in the street dance scene. Mixing hip-hop moves with break dancing, house, samba, waacking, ballet, and jazz, they started Mix’d Ingrdnts, an all-female, multi-genre, multi-ethnic dance crew.

The group has danced at street festivals around the Bay and has been a featured act at the San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest, where they will perform again this year from Nov. 20 to 22, 2015. Mix’d Ingrdnts also performs at local schools and conferences and hosts an annual show at Oakland’s Laney College to spread community and unity through dance.

Local Beat is an ongoing series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.

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