Junious Brickhouse and Urban Artistry

House Culture and Dance
Washington, D.C.


Born in 1974, Junious Lee Brickhouse grew up in a musical household in the African American communities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk. His mother, Lynda, shared with him her love of dance, teaching him routines he performed to entertain guests at neighborhood “record parties,” where adults played their favorite releases from Stax Records and other soul labels. Lynda taught Junious the funky chicken, the breakdown, and many other popular dances, while also encouraging him to create his own moves. Junious shared his mother’s passion and sought out places where he would encounter as many dance styles as possible. “For young black children like myself, that meant community centers, parking lots, dance competitions, any place where young people were sharing with each other and building communities around urban dance forms,” he recalls. Individual neighborhoods had more formal dance crews like City Limits, which Junious joined as its youngest member. By his teens, he had encountered and mastered many early forms of urban dance such as popping, locking, and breaking, and became particularly drawn to the quickly emerging house dance style.

Largely born from underground LGBTQ nightclubs in urban centers such as Chicago and New York near the end of the disco era, house dance incorporated the spirit of inclusivity, individuality, and freedom found in disco, incorporating earlier African American dance forms as well as elements of African dance, capoeira, salsa, and others. Today, house dance music continues to thrive in the underground club scene, but is also taught in studios, performed on concert hall stages, and celebrated in dance competitions around the world.

Junious has become one of house’s greatest ambassadors, performing, competing, demonstrating, and teaching his craft across the country and the globe. In 2005, he founded Urban Artistry, Inc., an internationally recognized organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the teaching, performance, and preservation of dance and other art forms inspired by the urban experience. Urban Artistry hosts more than 20 performance events each year, conducts international exchanges, and has taught scores of young people the art of house and other dance styles.

Urban Artistry is a recipient of the Kennedy Center’s 2013 Local Dance Commissioning Project. Junious was named a Master Instructor by the Maryland Historic Trust and was awarded the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2010. His work has been seen in venues including the Kennedy Center, Sidney Harman Hall, and the Performing Arts Center at Strathmore. Junious is currently mentoring young dancer Tyrone Evans in the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program.