My first attempt to sum up 1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017) – BLOG 1

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Jazz music in the background, the smell of coffee and rose white tea, steam coming out my mug, all of a sudden… my eyes lit up!

“1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”.

I am sitting in a coffee shop, an informal catch up with Theresa Beattie, a phenomenal woman who has several decades of experience within the arts as a producer and artistic director. Her words resonate and echo a couple of times in the space… It feels like my mind stands still for a second.

It’s been 2 weeks now since we wrapped up the 2017 edition. I have desperatelly been trying to write a simple Facebook status, but not a word is coming out! Have you ever had a creative block when writing a Facebook status?!?!

1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017 edition) has been such an emotional rollercoaster of growth, an experience made of magic, bubbles and sparkle, it was such a powerful heartwarming event that I have been unable to write anything that would give it justice.

It was “life-changing”, as many participants described it. And life-changing moments are sometimes better described in silence than in words.

Sipping tea, my mind keeps repeating Theresa’s words in a loop: “1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”.  My frozen stillness felt like decades even though I am sure it must have only taken a few seconds before I tried to speak again.

Theresa had heard of the programme last year, I had invited her as a consultant to be a part of a Business Brainstorm weekend to move Cindy Claes Productions forwards. Twelve months later, she saw the results live. An explosive collaboration between 30 dancers, and 4 countries: UK – Belgium – Jamaica – USA.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is an international dance exchange and leadership program I set up a few years ago. It is mainly, but not exclusivelly, aimed at supporting Hiphop, Dancehall, Krump, House and Afrobeats dance artists.

Ten years of day dreaming, 100s of sleepless nights and many flights later, the program is now a massive success, empowering artists and dancers with the necessary tools to make their own dreams come true.

Being speechless has its beauty, but if I want the program to expand and give opportunities to more leaders from the dance industry to rise, I must go on a quest of finding the rights words to describe “it”.

I take a sip of my tea and loudly respond: “YES! YES! Theresa… YES!”. A movement. This actually sounds right.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is about nurturing citizens of the world a.k.a. artists of the world. It is about highlighting the importance of each individual and his/her dreams, it is about reminding artists of the power of their artistic expression and making sure all involved use their creative work to make this world a better world.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is about building a society based on win-win situations. It is about embracing the champion that we are and about boosting the leader within ourselves. It is about supporting others generously and at the same time finding the courage to strive fully for our own ideas to come true.

1000 Pieces Puzzle had nothing to do with me, it was something way beyond the human being that I am. 1000 Pieces Puzzle carries an energy in itself, uplifting, joyful and a strong feeling of being ready to take over the world. It’s a mindset thing, in action, continuously in action, continuously in motion. It is something that happens within the interactions, the exchanges and the collaborations. The energy is created in the space by the dancers, for the dancers. And this energy travels beyond the studio, it has a domino effect and goes beyond the group that we were.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is a movement.

Thank you Theresa,

Cindy

More blog posts will follow after this first attempt of writing more about 1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017).

***1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017) was presented by Cindy Claes Productions and Zinnema, in association with East London Dance.

***Photo by Alex Rumford.

International teachers coming to London!

Dance Backpackers’ TV and Cindy Claes Productions, supported by East London Dance,

are proud to present an international DANCEHALL & KRUMP workshop

on MONDAY 20th FEBRUARY

6pm – 10pm

at Stratford Circus

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

 

Kimiko, straight outta Jamaica; and Krucial aka Queen Weapon, straight outta Los Angeles, will be sharing knowledge, technique and a piece of their artistic life journeys with us for one whole evening.

Kimiko has toured the world as an ambassador for Dancehall culture. She trained in traditional Jamaican folk dance forms, is a member of the DanceJA movement, and is a powerful female leader in the Dancehall industry.

KIMIKO:

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Krucial is a passionate artivist. Co-chair of Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles, she has been dedicated to use dance as a tool for social change. She has toured the US with the documentary Stand, doing leadership and education work amongst the community.

KRUCIAL:

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Workshops are open to all levels, from beginners to advanced (16+).

MON 20th FEB

6pm – 6.30pm: Registrations & jam

6.30pm – 7.15pm: Cultural Panel discussion on Dancehall & Krump

7.15pm – 8.30pm: Krump with Krucial aka Queen Weapon (Los Angeles)

8.30pm – 9.45pm: Dancehall with Kimiko (Jamaica)

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Audition Brussels – 12th Feb

BRUSSELS:

Looking for 4 additional dancers for a new & refreshing artistic project.

We are looking for dancers who have a strong background in either Hiphop / Dancehall / House / Afrobeats or Krump; to create new dance theatre work exploring the themes of police brutality in Brussels and the Belgian prison system. 

 

We are looking for dancers who:
◇have a strong interest in Hiphop Theatre / Dance Storytelling
◇are passionate about using art to bring social change
◇are eager to use creative platforms to bring new refreshing discussions to the table through art
◇are hungry for professional development

The project will offer:
◇The opportunity to work 2 days with Benji Reid, a U.K. Hiphop Theatre pioneer / choreographer and renown theatre director
◇The opportunity to work alongside Cindy Claes, choreographer based in London
◇professional development for dancers who want to expand their performance skills
◇professional development for emerging choreographers
◇networking opportunities (Zinnema, international dance exchanges, etc.)

The project is unpaid but lunch will be provided during the last week of residency. Cindy Claes Productions (UK) and Timiss (Belgium) have as focus to invest in local upcoming talent, empowering leaders of the future. Our aim is to provide a platform for growth, reflection and artistic expansion for all involved. The project is fully supported and programmed by Zinnema, an arts organisation based in Anderlecht.

Important Dates:

Audition & networking workshop:
12th February (morning)

Rehearsals (all day):
from Fri 24th March until Sun 26th March
from Fri 21st April until Fri 28th April

Show:
Sat 29th April

How to apply?

Please email TIMISS mouss@timiss.be with the following info:
max 500 words to tell us a little bit more about yourself (background and also your motivation!)
a short 3min dance video where we can clearly see your skills (freestyle / choreography / jam / battle videos accepted)

More info:
www.cindyclaes.com

Why you should book your ticket for the 24th Jan

On Tuesday 24th January, I will be performing my new re-branded solo “Things aren’t always black or white”.  While I will be warming up back stage, you will stroll into the theatre at 8pm and watch 3 companies perform their new creations at The Place.

This new solo is a political story told through Dancehall and Hiphop, tackling the problems related to the privatisations of prisons.

BOOK TICKETS HERE

I performed the piece in front of a few small audiences during the creative process, here is what they had to say:

 

I have also had the privilege to work with two mentors, Gbemisola Ikumelo, playwright and theatre director, and Frank Wilson, Hiphop Theatre expert:

 

Coming to the theatre on Tuesday will also mean you’ll get to make new friends, socialize and have a great night out, they got their tickets… are you ready to book yours?!!!

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE

 

Dance storytelling… some videos!

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Here are a few videos of some dance stories I worked on over the years:

from solo’s to full length productions… from working with professional dancers and students on their journey into the dance theatre world… here are a few extracts of showcases and rehearsals.

I am running dance storytelling workshops for all levels, and I also lead an intensive leadership program for choreographers called 1000 Pieces Puzzle. Please get in touch if you would like to book the program in your city / country / school!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrdssTBuqGw

Book your tickets NOW for Cindy’s upcoming solo performance!

 

I am starting the year sweating and rehearsing for my next upcoming solo. Clear your diaries and make sur you are free for…

“Things aren’t always black or white”

TUESDAY 24th JANUARY

at 8pm, The Place

(near Euston tube station)

BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

 

VIDEO TRAILER:

WHAT INSPIRED “Things aren’t always black or white”?

The story of what and who lead me to create this solo is quite a journey… From NYC to Philadelphia to Brussels, I came across so many signs, people, cold factual information, tears, questions and events that it all had to be translated into a piece.

One of the shocking images that stays in my mind each time I rehearse is… those 50 coffins. Visiting my Krump dance family in Los Angeles in 2016, I saw bout 50 coffins when entering the dance studio…

It was an arts project. Young men who passed away at the hands of police brutality were remembered through colors, collages and graffiti art.

“Things aren’t always black or white” is a Dancehall / Hiphop Theatre piece, a dark poetic dance drama, exploring the themes of police brutality, mass incarceration and the ugly realities of privatized prisons.

My solo performance is part of Resolutions, a triple bill shared with MCDC and Jannick Moth. We are all very eager to bring a raw night of dance theatre to our audiences.

TICKETS:

http://www.theplace.org.uk/whats-on/jannick-moth-and-company-cindy-claes-productions-mcdc

Thank you for your support, looking forward to sharing this piece with you,

Cindy

Dancehall classes on Tuesdays

Hi Dancehall lovers and students,

2017 is again a Dancehall year! Classes have started again, and we are sharing energy on the dancefloor as usual every TUE 6-7.30pm at Studio68 (Waterloo / Southwark tube stations).

Classes are £8, no need to book in advance, just pay at reception. It is a drop-in class, so no worries if you miss a week, you will be able to catch up as soon as you come back.

 

I am also very excited to say I have been awarded an Artist International Development Fund (Arts Council England / British Council), which is supporting me to go back to Jamaica later on this year! I will be continuing my research on Dancehall culture, do a Dancehall Theatre collaboration with Kimiko Miller and expand the future vision of 1000 Pieces Puzzle overseas.

 

Keeping Jamaica in my heart, and feeling those Dancehall groves in my bones, here we go for another year of sweating, smiling, giggling and dancehalling!

 

Dancehall for Black Lives Matter

Top Up Dancehall Camp (Germany) and its founder Swaggi Maggi invited me to teach a Dancehall Theatre workshop in Berlin earlier this year.

I was extremely excited to share the power of the art form with students, many of who might have never experienced this creative process before. Half a day, that’s all I had to give them a taster of what Dancehall Theatre is / could be, train them up, give them a unique experience AND… create a show! Students were to perform a short extract of the work the day Battles were to take place.

For a very long time I was trying to prepare my class, having too many ideas… I thought to introduce them to some fun stuffs, explore suspense and storytelling, or fiction, or comedy… until I finally came to the conclusion I should just stick to what make me wake up every morning:

CREATING WORK THAT MATTERS AND THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIAL CHANGE.

 

I am an artist passionate about creating socio-political work. And I have been researching extensivelly the themes of mass incarceration, police brutality and the privatisation of prisons in the USA for about two years.

Top Up Dancehall Camp became a workshop and an adventure not only focussing on the possibilities of Dancehall Theatre but also the power we have as artists to be heard on topics that matter.

Here is a video from the work in progress the students presented after only a few hours of work:

 

Social vibes!

My Dancehall classes are more than a dance class… it’s an empowement class, it’s a space where all feel safe to express themselves creativelly through sweat and dancehall culture.

Wanna check out what the vibes are like in class? Yes of course we learn choreography at the end of class, but the journey leading up to it is sooooo socially beautiful, powerful and intense!

Full and updated class schedule, click here.

Check out the new video link straight out of class: