First up from the Universal Dialect onslaught of activities is Line Breaks, which is presented by the University's Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI), a division whose mission includes promoting positive, effective social discussions through traditional and transformative art.

OMAI's Creative Director, Rafael Casal, says the annual event was started in 2007 by then-UW resident artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who is also one of this year's presenters. Originally, Line Breaks brought spoken word artists, directors, writers and musicians to campus as part of an eight-week program aimed at "engaging the student body, to help bridge arts and academics," he explains. The following year, it was transformed into a week-long festival.

"We've brought some amazing artists to campus such as Chuck D, Lemon Andersen, Rennie Harris, Danny Hoch, Kamilah Forbes and numerous other groundbreaking practitioners of the arts," says Casal, adding, "[but] this year will be bigger than ever."

Line Breaks is also coordinated by OMAI's Office Manager Lauren Rutlin Young and through collaborations with the University's Multicultural Student Coalition due to their common goals.

Casal explains Line Breaks' purpose as one that "brings the top new aesthetics in contemporary performance art here to campus, paired with our annual student performances" by First Wave, a cutting-edge multicultural artistic program for UW students. "Line Breaks is both an educational tool for professors and students to study the current thriving artists and aesthetics first-hand, a place for new student work to be premiered, and a way to bring the arts of the university to the broader community of Madison," he continues.

As the culmination of a year's work, it goes without saying that Casal is excited to be a part of this year's programming. "All of our theater headliners have presented on Broadway, so I am very excited to have them here and engage them in conversation through our panel series about what led them there and where it has taken them," he explains. "[And] this year we are presenting seven student hip hop theater works [through the First Wave program], ranging from 15 minutes in length to one hour. I'm co-directing these pieces with our artistic director, Professor Chris Walker."

In the end, Casal feels Line Breaks is a chance to "promote full inclusivity and participation and allow hip hop to continue to grow in any way it – and we – see fit."