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.
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!!
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.
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:
I recently came back from Caracas – Venezuela, where I was leading an intensive week of Dancehall Theatre workshops.
The project was organised and set up by the British Council, and initiated by a young Venezualian university student Kimberley Tarache.
I had the priviledge and honour to work alongside two Jamaican icons: Orville Hall (Dancehall choreographer, lecturer, performer, playwright) and Dr Donna Hope (UWI).
About 100 dancers attended the workshops and lectures during that week. The dancers were so hungry for knowledge and training, they travelled from all over Venezuela to Caracas to attend the training program.
It was a very emotional experience. The exchanges were rich, socially, intellectually and artistically. We all created a strong bond and many friendships. The sense of family and brother/sisterhood made the thought of travelling back each day a little bit harder.
I have a 1000 things to say about my experiences in Venezuela, and I am still dreaming and refecting about 1000 others.
For the time being, I am posting a few pictures of this beautiful trip which has left a print in my heart:
We are proud and excited to share with you a documentary (made by Janka Troeber) about our UK/JA Dancehall Theatre Exchange!!! It just got released on YouTube and the images triggered so many positive memories.
The documentary got shared all over social media. Here is what the students and artists who participated to the program said:
“Truly blessed and thankful to have been a part of this wonderful project thanks to Cindy and her whole team ! It’s been a life changing experience! All the hard work, trainings and lessons learned will be remembered and applied forever, and we will continue fighting for projects like this !” – Marie Popovski
“So happy I got to be part of that beautiful project!I learnt so much from the incredible Cindy Claes and the super talented @shadysquad. I’ve also met true real good friends!” – Felicia Dotse
“One of the BEST experiences of my LIFE!!!” – Matthew Richard
“One of the best times in my career. Being apart of this collective, training HARD, pushing oneself,creating, sweating, rehearsing,performing, tiredness, laughter upon laughter,international exchange new friends cest stylé!!!!!!!!. Don’t judge the shabby rehearsal clothes and heads scarf and dry lips by den image weren’t a factor!! Lets do it AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!!!!!!!” – Natalie Baylie
“Sorry for my ugly, sweaty,tired faces but I completely released, pushed myself, my heart,me, just as I am and I felt the love of this family so much that this has been one the best training, crew, collaboration, memory, show, xchange, experience of my life!” – Michela Di Felice
I truly believe international dance theatre connections are incredibly life changing. We now also have a DONATE page so you can support more artists to benefit from such training and experiences. These projects allow artists to not only develop their performance skills but it also supported many to nurture their leadership skills. Click here to DONATE now.
Drum rolls please…. let me introduce you to our first documentary about us taking over London and the world with Dancehall Theatre:
“School” was a collaboration between Schoy and myself which we created during my last trip to Jamaica. I organized a series of Dancehall Theatre workshops with the support of DanceJa in March 2014. The result of this artistic process and exchange was performed at “Talent Pree: Dancehall Theatre Takeover”.
“School” is still a work in progress, and I hope we will soon have the opportunity to develop the piece.
Schoy teaches every week at DanceJa amongst a line up of amazing teachers. Check them out if you are in Kingston!
Bringing Hip hop from the streets to the Theatre wasn’t a natural progression “per se”… artists had to fight for it and break down walls. Today the movement of Hip hop Theatre, Dancehall Theatre and Krumping Theatre is growing. In some countries street dancers creating Theatre work still are not valued, in other parts of the world the art form has been embraced and acknowledged long time ago… Which challenges do we, as Hip hop dance theatre, Dancehall Theatre, or Krumping Theatre makers have to face today?
Sharing a few thoughts on my video blog series… I could talk about it for hours, but I am trying to keep the videos short… 🙂