Travis Wall, the breakdancing prodigy and artist behind Break the Floor, has been dropped from the dance company because of complaints over allegations he exploited a crew member.
Wall, 22, has received the backing of the members of Break the Floor, the Philadelphia company he co-founded in 2011, following a series of investigations in the New York Post and on social media. “Over the course of our investigation we were overwhelmed by your feedback on why you didn’t trust Travis. Today we made the difficult decision to part ways,” the company posted on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday, adding that “We strongly and respectfully believe that our own due diligence, and the fact that we follow the ‘gold standard’ for all our productions, made these allegations immediately obvious to us”.
Wall is being replaced by a group of young dancers who have worked with the company for less than a year. The group, whom Break the Floor called “truly the heirs apparent to Break the Floor”, will be called Break the Crew. The group that will be replaced will perform alongside a professional six-piece ensemble as part of the company’s spring season.
According to the New York Post, the Break the Floor crew member claims Wall treated them like slaves and paid them little if anything for performing onstage.
“We will be using our dance company budget to create new productions that inspire and uplift the passions of youth across Philadelphia and beyond,” Break the Floor’s producers said in a statement. “We thank Travis for all his hard work, and we wish him the best.”
“We’re pretty upset,” one crew member, who asked not to be named, told NPR. “We weren’t really treated like humans. And we really wanted the production to go forward, but as a group, we’re not going to do it under Travis Wall.”
“I mean, being on break is fun,” another crew member, Alex Baum, told the New York Post. “But being on break, and then having to go to rehearsal every day, I thought it was a fun activity but it’s not really enjoyable when it’s like, you’re on break and you’re bringing in a bunch of new people every day.”