Music | Music Issue 2017

The Era: A Year in the Life

Photography by William "Wills" Glasspiegel

“Crisp outlines. Elegant poses. It’s like footwork as fine art. Many of our best photoshoots have been by the lake, not too far from where I stay on the South Side.” —Brandon “Chief Manny” Calhoun

If it wasn’t footwork crew The Era’s In The Wurkz stage show, which brought the “life of a footworker” to Englewood’s Hamilton Park, something else in their jam-packed 2016 would floor you: their multimedia gallery on the genre’s history at Columbia College Chicago; or their In The Wurkz FM EP, where they sucked hip-hop and footwork into a vortex as unprecedented as it was trunk-rattling; or the time they taught footwork in Kuwait. This much is clear: no longer rising stars, The Era are true innovators and masters of the form. Why don’t we let them speak (and wurk) for themselves. (Austin Brown)

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(TOP) “The Era at Lollapalooza after killing our guest appearance with Towkio from Savemoney, showing the crowd true Chicago shit.” —Sterling “Steelo” Lofton

“The Era at Lollapalooza after killing our guest appearance with Towkio from Savemoney, showing the crowd true Chicago shit.” —Sterling “Steelo” Lofton

“From the alley to the art gallery, we spent the year putting footwork on the map wherever we could. This photo was from a video shoot for ‘Lifeworlds,’ a song dedicated to footworkers who have passed away.” —Jemal “P-Top” De La Cruz

“From the alley to the art gallery, we spent the year putting footwork on the map wherever we could. This photo was from a video shoot for ‘Lifeworlds,’ a song dedicated to footworkers who have passed away.” —Jemal “P-Top” De La Cruz

“That's me and Latisha ‘Tish’ Waters, my first dance coach. Tish is a standout leader in the Chicago dance community. She works with youth and saves lives through dance in some of the most neglected parts of our city.” — Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver

“That’s me and Latisha ‘Tish’ Waters, my first dance coach. Tish is a standout leader in the Chicago dance community. She works with youth and saves lives through dance in some of the most neglected parts of our city.”
— Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver

“This photo is from when we were shooting a video for our stage show In the Wurkz. The idea is that people could see me on stage, and also see me here at work in the aisles. I’ve been all around the world footworking. Sometimes I feel like we’ve really made it. Sometimes I still have to come home to a job like this.”

“This photo is from when we were shooting a video for our stage show In the Wurkz. The idea is that people could see me on stage, and also see me here at work in the aisles. I’ve been all around the world footworking. Sometimes I feel like we’ve really made it. Sometimes I still have to come home to a job like this.” —Sterling “Steelo” Lofton

"Fresh from work and straight to the lab. This is a picture of me and Bulb cleaning up some routines in Pilsen. We’ve gotten a lot of work done in this studio with High Concept Labs and MANA Contemporary.” —Sterling “Steelo” Lofton

“Fresh from work and straight to the lab. This is a picture of me and Bulb cleaning up some routines in Pilsen. We’ve gotten a lot of work done in this studio with High Concept Labs and MANA Contemporary.”
—Sterling “Steelo” Lofton

“It’s like a footwork textile, a pattern made from motion. I was studying the origins of cinema and photography, and thinking a lot about how to capture dance on screen.” —William “Wills” Glasspiegel

“It’s like a footwork textile, a pattern made from motion. I was studying the origins of cinema and photography, and thinking a lot about how to capture dance on screen.” —William “Wills” Glasspiegel

“Making your presence known at Battlegroundz on 87th Street is essential. Building your legacy and name at footwork events like this, that’s how we grew into the dancers we are today. Live streaming really picked up this year as a way to broadcast footwork and everything else we do.” —Jemal “P-Top” De La Cruz

“Making your presence known at Battlegroundz on 87th Street is essential. Building your legacy and name at footwork events like this, that’s how we grew into the dancers we are today. Live streaming really picked up this year as a way to broadcast footwork and everything else we do.” —Jemal “P-Top” De La Cruz

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