The 13th Cohort presents: Only Human.

Only Human is an original film by the 13th Cohort that depicts a dystopian alternative universe that reflects their own experiences with digital media, online interaction, and inhuman connections. This film was conceptualized, produced, and curated while the cohort is spread out throughout places like New York, South Korea, Chicago, Oakland, and beyond.

The 13th Cohort is:
Anaya Frazier, Azura Tyabji, Dineo Lyle, Elijah Ikard, GG Christensen, Heavyn Dyer-Jones, Isaac Ogunleye, Malee Thor, Nyame Imani, Raul Burr, Susan Kim, and Zack Lesmeister.

A reading by the brothers of the 11th Cohort: Nile and Onam Lansana. These Chicago natives have been writing poetry and was raised in the world of slam and performance poetry and finish their journey with First Wave this year. Watch as Nile and Onam remind the world why their lineage does this.

Who do we become in the portals of our desire, in the reflections of our cruelty? Self Portrait: Danny Phantom and Dear Azula are visual interpretations of Jackson Neal and Azura Tyabji’s ekphrasis-themed chapbook Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom forthcoming from Button Poetry. Through poems in the voice of characters from our adolescence, Neal and Tyabji explore how cartoons and digital media shape our identiti

es as a generation raised by digital cultures.

Jackson Neal and Azura Tyabji are co-authors of the chapbook, Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom forthcoming from Button Poetry/ Exploding Pinecone Press in June 2021.

Kyla Pollard is an emcee from the 12th Cohort hailing from the city of Chicago. This Unplugged session is an intimate and exclusive set of her new music and how it connects with her family, her city, and how she sees the light despite the world around her.

About Line Breaks 2021

The Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives’ 2021 Line Breaks Festival will showcase interdisciplinary works and performances from current and former First Wave scholars and community and campus partners. It will feature a variety of artistic mediums, including spoken word, dance, music, theater, film, painting, photography, and more.

As a scholarship program centered on our students and the greater campus community, we must consider the health and safety of our community first. With that said, we have decided to bring our annual Line Breaks Festival online in light of the current circumstances regarding COVID-19.

Although our in person Festival will be canceled, we will be back in the Summer and Fall with events and performances to re-engage the community through art, academics, and activism.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 protocol and our First Wave students, you can contact us at

An OMAI and First Wave Tradition

OMAI’s Line Breaks Festival is comprised of performances, lectures, and discussions by First Wave students and invited professional artists engaging with the local campus community. Inaugurated through OMAI’s sponsored Marc Bamuthi Joseph Arts Institute Residency in the spring of 2007, the Line Breaks project culminated in a final performance of student work called “Just Bust!” – an event, which has evolved into our monthly open mic, now running for 12 years. Line Breaks has since evolved into a week long festival that cultivates performance art and brings the top new aesthetics in contemporary performance art to the UW-Madison campus and surrounding community.





Past Line Break Festivals

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Line Breaks- 2019


First Wave Flash Talks

Visual Arts Showcase featuring Nikolai Hagen, Joi Brenson, Isha Camara, Auzzie Dodson,

Janaé Hu, Masha Vodyanyk, and Adjua Nsoroma

First Wave Poetry Showcase featuring Natasha Oladokun, Isha Camara, and Mackenzie Berry

UpRise Poetry Collective

Thiahera Nurse Writing Workshop

James D. Gavins Movement Workshop

Feast of FlowersJamie Dawson

DAL: Stories of Black MotherhoodTiffany Ike

Citizen XRicardo Cortez de la Cruz II

Cicada, James D. Gavins

Fifth Year: A CollaborationNia Scott

The HelpJasmine Kiah

Return Home to UsSolomon Roller

Unlearning GodTiffany Ike

Love U(s) FirstDequadray White

First Wave Music Showcase

Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2018

When I was a kid, Kenneth Dizon

Diary of  a Shapeshifter, Mariam Coker

First Wave Music Showcase, Obasi Davis, Hiwot Adilow, Dequadray White, Tehan Ketema, Chetta Hill, First Wave cypher

Louisville Lip: MC Muhammad Ali, Mackenzie Berry

Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2017

Tearing Down the Walls, First Wave Touring Ensemble (2017)

First Wave Poetry Sharing  (2017)

First Wave 10th Cohort

Dancing Towards Change, Featured Local Dance Artists

Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble

 Love Has No Season, Featured Artist, Rain Wilson

Music Workshop, led by Nathan France, Daniel Kaplan & Eric Newble Garrett Pauli






Kaleidoscopes/Collide of Scopes Poster


Kaleidoscopes/Collide of Scopes

Goddess At Your Feet Poster


Goddess At Your Feet

The Sun Doesn't Always Come Out Tomorrow Poster


The Sun Doesn’t Always Come Out Tomorrow

Where Guilt Exists Poster


Where Guilt Exists

Ball and Chain Poster


Ball and Chain

Romeo and Juliet Poster


Romeo and Juliet

Garrett Pauli Headshot




Line Breaks - First Wave and Guest Performers 2016

Line Breaks - Guest Performers (2005 - 2015)

Jessica Care-Moore (2005): Internationally renowned poet, publisher, activist, rock star, playwright, actress, educator, thespian, filmmaker, performance artist, producer, five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner, and CEO of Moore Black Press.

Kalamu ya Salaam (2005): Poet, author, filmmaker, and teacher.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010): Spoken-word poet, dancer, and playwright who frequently directs stand alone hip-hop theater plays.

Jeff Chang (2007): Author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and Who We Be: The Colonization of America, co-founder of Culturestr/ke magazine and Coloredlines daily news site, and Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

Dr. Rennie Harris (2007, 2008, 2014): Artistic Director, Choreographer and Director.

Sambada (2007): Brazilian band.

Alix Olson (2007): American poet and Spoken Word artist.

Kamilah Forbes (2007, 2009): Assistant Director and Artistic Director.

Danny Hoch (2007): American writer, director, and performance artist.

Dennis Kim (2007, 2008): Hip-Hop and Spoken Word artist from Chicago, and a co-founder of I Was Born With Two Tongues, an Asian American spoken word quartet, and Typical Cats, a Chicago-based hip hop collective. He is a teaching artist at Youth Speaks, Inc.

Mayda Del Valle (2007): Poet, performer, teaching artist.

Lauren Whitehead (2007): Spoken Word artist.

Rafael Casal (2007, 2009, 2011): American writer, performance poet, recording artist, educator, playwright and founding member of The Getback.

Dahlak Brathwaite (2007): musician, actor, poet, and educator

Omar Sosa (2007): composer, bandleader, and jazz pianist.

Roger Bonair-Agard (2007): Poet and Performance artist.

Willie Perdomo (2007): Poet, children’s book author, Artist-in-Residence, Workspace, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He is co-founder/publisher of Cypher Books.
Gambian Griot Alhaji Papa Susso (2007): Griot or jeli, master kora player, and director of the Koriya Musa Center for Research in Oral Tradition.

Staceyann Chin (2008): Spoken-word poet, performing artist and LGBT rights political activist.

Rokafella & Kwikstep (2008): Hip-Hop dancers, Artistic directors of Full Circle Productions, a Hip-Hop dance theater company.

Josh Healey (2008): Award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist.

Kevin Coval (2008): Poet, playwright, educator, organizer, Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors.

Patricia Smith (2008): Poet, spoken-word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist.

Wale (2009): American rapper.

Colin Munroe (2009): Canadian singer-songwriter.

First Wave Music Ensemble (2009): Student performers.

Amir Sulaiman (2009): Poet, recording artist, activist and newly appointed Harvard Fellow.

K Swift (2009): American DJ, MC, radio personality and entreprenuer.

Lemon Andersen (2009): American poet, spoken word artist and actor.

Beau Sia (2009): American Slam poet.

Christopher Walker (2009): UW-Madison assistant professor of Dance and First Wave Hip-Hop Theater Ensemble artistic director.

Janelle Monae (2010): Grammy nominated American singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer signed to Bad Boy Records, Wondaland Art Society, and Atlantic Records.

Colman Domingo (2010): Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominated and OBIE, Lucille Lortel, GLAAD Award winning film, stage, and television actor, playwright, and director.

Stew & Heidi (2010): A four-time Tony nominee, Stew leads, along with his collaborator Heidi Rodewald, two critically acclaimed bands: The Negro Problem and Stew. Works: Post Minstrel Syndrome (TNP 1997), Joys and Concerns (TNP 1999), Guest Host (S 2000), The Naked Dutch Painter (S 2002), Welcome Black (TNP 2002), Something Deeper Than These Changes (S 2003) and the cast album of Passing Strange (2008).

Queen GodIs (2012): International Poet, MC, Artistic Director and Performance Art Therapist whose work serves a host of communities seeking transformation through art.

Hapasan (2012): multiracial Japanese American capoeirista and house dancer based in the Bay Area.

Chanel Matsunami Govreau (2012): Performance storyteller, printmaker and costume designer.

Paul Oakley Stovall (2012): Playwright.

Brad Simmons (2012): Musical director.

GIRLilla Tactics (2013): Devan Rode, Macca, Peipei Yuan – Bgirl workshops

Dawn Crandel (2013): Performing Xenophobadelica. Dawn is a dancer, choreographer, theatre artist, poet, grassroots cultural activist and educator.

Michael Sakamoto (2014): Interdisciplinary artist active in dance, theatre, performance, photography, and media.

Jamila Woods (2015): Poet and vocalist.

Line Breaks - First Wave Performers (2008 - 2015)

First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble (2008): Performing The Wheatley Prompt, Chisel me Man, On Loving and Learning, Puppets, I am Woman, Hear us Roar, Casualties – Casualties, The Sound Of, Yusef, Immigrante, Goodbye.

Alida Cardos-Whaley (2008): Performing Underground Rail Hop Revolution.

First Wave 2nd Cohort Ensemble (2009): Performing Boomboxed.

Ben Young (2009): Performing The Void.

Karl Iglesias (2009): Performing If a Tree Falls.

Gabriel De Los Reyes (2009): Performing Formal Introduction.

First Wave 3rd Cohort Ensemble (2010): Performing The Issue.

Danez Smith (2010): Performing The Problem With Sundays.

Camea Osborn (2010): Performing Langely Street.

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado (2010): Performing El Viejo Detras Del Escritorio or The Old Man Behind the Desk.

2nd Cohort Works (2010): Asia Elliot, Gabriel De Los Reyes & Angela Thompson – Performing Built into the Walls // Rebekah Blocker, Leslie Thomas, Camea Osborn, Dianna Harris & Asia Elliot – Performing Get a Room // Michael Sherer, Ben Young, Krystal Gartley, Rebekah Blocker, Andrew Thomas, & James Gavins – Performing Home is Where

First Wave 4th Cohort Ensemble (2011): Performing Control Alt Delete.

First Wave 1st Cohort Ensemble Show (2011): Performing Dog Years: A Wisconsin Experience

Danez Smith (2011): Performing For Those Who Pray in Closets.

Jasmine Mans (2011): Performing Bloody Mary

Asia Elliot (2011): Performing Working Class

Gayle Smaller (2011): Performing In Other News

William Giles (2011): Performing Still Born

Kelsey Van Ert (2011): Performing Birdies

Cydney Edwards (2011): Performing Get a Room

First Wave Music Ensemble (2011): Boomboxed – The Remix.

First Wave 5th Cohort Ensemble (2012): Performing Common Denominator

Shameaca Moore & Myriha Burton (2012): Performing Duo Show – Failing with an A

Ashley Street (2012): Performing The Silent Streets are Burning

Nakila Robinson (2012): Performing Little Big Woman

First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Shock

Dominic Nicholas & Jill Fukumoto (2012): Performing Duo Show – Forget It

First Wave 6th Cohort Ensemble (2013): Performing Welcome Mat at Capacity.

Dakota Alcantara-Camacho (2013): Performing Buried Beneath Bombs and Lattes

Asia Elliot (2013): Performing Working Class

Nakila Robinson (2013): Performing Little Big Woman

Natalie Cook (2013): Performing Some May Think Light isn’t Heavy

Gethsemane Herron-Coward (2013): Performing Witness

First Wave 2013 Touring Ensemble: Performing Kingdom Bequeath

Dominique Ricks (2013): Performing Cross-Walk

Richard Jones Jr. & Rebekah Blocker (2013) Performing duo show PPK: Parenting Preachers’ Kids

Erika Dickerson (2013): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies

Marlon Eric Lima (2013): Performing Don’t Just Stand There

Niko Tumamak (2013): Performing The S**t We Go Through

First Wave 7th Cohort Ensemble (2014): Performing Fire Under the Skin

Erika Dickerson (2014): Performing Cult of Blk Bodies

Elton Ferdinand III (2014): Performing Flounder

The Bellhops (2014): Performing Honey in my Tea

T Banks (2014): Ensemble Performing Loud and Unchained

Nakila Robinson & Ashley Street (2014): Performing Duo Show – The Miseducation of Mil Chet

First Wave 8th Cohort (2015): Performing Staying Hungry.

Hiwot Adilow (2015): mine.

Melana Bass (2015): What does In/Justice Look Like

Jill Fukomoto (2015): Liminal Creatures.

LaLa Bolander (2015): SPILL.

Zhalarina Sanders (2015): Rose Gold.

Natalie Cook (2015): Manikin.

Garrett Pauli (2015): Skeletons of Silence.

Ajanae Dawkins (2015): Atlantic.

John Paul Alejandro (2015): In the Belly of the Iron Beast.

T Banks (2015): Loud and Unchained – Spiritual.

Kelsey Pyro (2015): Break the Cycle.

Joseph Verge (2015): Labels.

FXFW: First by First Wave (2015): Featuring CRASHprez, Lord of the Fly, Broadway, Amy Alida, Sean Avery , with Special Performance of Joseph Verge’s “Labels”

Rich Robbins (2015): Opening for Jamilia Woods