I am now a Londoner, for sure! I spent more than 8 years in this bubbling buzzing city and I am absolutely in love with it. However something pushed me to connect back with my roots.
I am currently choreographing and directing a new Hiphop Theatre show in Brussels: PuzzelB. I am traveling 2 weekends a month to rehearse in Belgium with a cast of 8 amazing hard-working dancers. The show is supported and produced by Zinnema and Anderlecht. The performance will take place on Sat 4th and Sun 5th January 2014. For tickets & more information please visit: http://www.zinnema.be/
PuzzelB is close to my heart for two reasons: a political/social reason and an artistic/personal reason.
I am proud to be Belgian. However what does “being Belgian” mean? Many might underestimate the political troubles my country is going through, and most people abroad don’t even know two linguistical groups (the flemish and the walloons) are either struggling to keep the country at peace, or fighting to split this multi-cultural territory in two. Brussels is the capital of Europe, yes, however… some of our politicians are gaining power, and they do not believe in that “one nation” which is Belgium, but rather envision 2 nations who have an “urge” to be separated.
Who am I in all of this? I am a mixed-race of my own country. If one day I was forced to choose a new passport (flemish or walloon?), I wouldn’t, and I could’t choose. I can just and only define myself as being Belgian. I am part of a multi-cultural mix, a nation which has under its umbrella many minorities and majorities, and it is that Picasso-kind-of-feel that makes me Belgian. I never really paid attention to it until I moved abroad. It was overseas where I was asked to define myself and my roots.
Even though I see myself as being a citizen of the world, I aspire to see my Belgian fellows to see themselves as such too. Splitting the country in two will not bring unity, peace and understanding to the world. To the contrary, it will feed the illusion of division and make people walk away from each other. I hope to see us, Belgians, and all the people of the world, evolve towards a vision where we see each other as being part of one humanity, one nation: “the world”!
PuzzelB is a Hiphop Theatre piece that stands for peace, in Belgium, and worldwide.
Secondly I want to nurture and support local Hiphop artists in Belgium. I’ve had the guts to move to the UK and I followed my dreams. I was hungry to learn and to grow artistically. Unfortunately Belgium doesn’t support Hiphop artists very much, and most of the cultural sector is starving for funds. Hiphop Theatre is a genre and a field which is still rare on the Belgian scene, and certainly under-appreciated by the authorities.
I feel privileged to now be a Londoner. London, the UK, gave me access to professional development and so many experiences I could have never dreamed of in my own country. The UK shaped me as an artist and I owe London very much for all my artistic achievements. I hope the UK will see the gold and the diamonds they have created amongst their artists along the years. I hope they will keep funding the arts the way they do it now. They are currently a true example for Europe and the world, on how artists, when appreciated and supported, contribute immensely to the well-being of society.
I don’t want the experiences and knowledge I gathered over those 8 years to just serve myself. I want my mistakes and successes to benefit others. I want to give other Hiphop artists to discover the beauty of Hiphop Theatre and unleash the power they have within themselves.
PuzzelB is not just a show, but it is also a platform for professional development. The project aims to empower 8 emerging leaders within the dance sector in Belgium in order to give Hiphop Theatre and dance artists more visibility and appreciation in the future.
Spread the word and come and see the show!
SAT 4th and SUN 5th JAN 2014
PuzzelB, a Hiphop Theatre show
at Zinnema, Brussels, Belgium