Breaking out of the hood Comuna13, Medellin.

As you emerge atop the escalator, (Comuna 13, Medellin), at the ‘mirador’ (viewing platform), the beats get louder, onlookers whoop and anticipation rises.

Under a makeshift corrugated lean-to, a group of 10 lads and 1 girl get into the groove, before launching into their hip-hop dance routine.

Comuna 13, dance, hip-hop, Medellin
Breaking out of the hood with hip-hop!

Comuna13 (Medellin) – alternative to ‘plataI o plomo’ (lead or silver).

As the dance set develops, the more skilled break dancers impress with serious upper body strength and acrobatics.

The dance group takes in former gang members.

It gives them a creative outlet, income, identity and belonging.

Hip-hop as an alternative to the brutal ghetto, gang, binary of ‘plata o plomo’ (lead or silver).

Tensions have recently been rising as gangs are still active in the area.

Medellin – Gangs compete to control the hood.

They fight for turf in the drug trade and lucrative protection rackets, known as the vacuna (vaccine).

This background came to the fore, as heavily armed police took up their posts.

Cops are needed to enforce the night time curfew, but even so, an irrepressible spirit of hope pushes through.

Suddenly a little boy reaches out to hold the hand of heavily armed and masked cop.

Amongst poverty and crowded improvised housing, perched on a hillside overlooking Medellin the spirit of irrepressible, creative, self-expression raises Comuna 13 up to reach for the skies.

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