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Documentary on our Dance Theatre Exchange JA / UK!!

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” – Dancehall Theatre in progress

“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!

 

Cindy

A Dancehall Dancer’s Dream – Interview series at DanceJA – episode 3 with Nicky Trice

During my last trip to Jamaica I had the opportunity to host the new DanceJa talk show. I interviewed Jamaican Dancehall dancers, asking questions about their artistic journeys and about their dreams for the future.

Let me introduce you to Nicky Trice, a member of Rifical Team… “Love” is what they stand for, and “family” is what they represent. Listen to Nicky Trice’s dream for the future… his answer literraly blew my mind away. A spiritual lesson of life and how we relate to one another. Rifical is, as they say… spiiiiriiituuuaaaaaaallll!!!!

May your wish be granted and may your dreams come true Trice!!! <3

Cindy

Women in the Dancehall – Interview series at DanceJa – episode 2

During my last trip to Jamaica I had the opportunity to host the new DanceJa talk show. I interviewed Jamaican Dancehall dancers, asking questions about their artistic journeys and about their dreams for the future. These interviews gave me the exclusive opportunity to research and understand Dancehall Culture more in-depth.

As a European Female Dancehall-passionate, I often wonder about women in the Dancehall. While Jamaican male and female dancers couple up, and while females in Kingston perform their latest head tops and tricks under the spotlight, there is me… looking at the scene in awe, observing relationships in dance and looking at these whining swerving bodies.

Kimiko is a female dancer, brought up in Dancehall Culture. She is a hardworking lady, and a charismatic performer. She told me: “Guys always want to come and dance with us, it’s cool, but also… give us some space! There are times I just wanna bruk out and enjoy. Many girls stopped dancing because of that.”.

That’s exactly the way I feel… I just wanna bruk out too! Shake it, whine it and one drop it when it’s our time, without the pressure of having a male dancer interrupting me. Even though we can choose to dance, or not, with a partner afterwards.

What does it mean to be a women in the Dancehall, a male dominated scene? What does it mean to aim for the spotlight when male dancers are now getting so much attention?

Kimiko believes that female dancers are extremelly talented and that they shall claim their space again in the Dance Hall.

I hope our conversation will inspire you as much as it inspired me!

Cindy

Dancehall Dancerz in Jamaica/Kingston – Uptown Mondayz

I just came back from a 6 weeks trip to Jamaica, supported by ADAD Trailblazers and Arts Council England. This was my third time travelling to the island.

My initial aim was to do all my ground research and create partnerships to take the “Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program” off the ground and set up this challenging but so rewarding dance project.

Before I tell you more about my love for Dancehall Theatre, let me first share with you the realness, beauty and power of a Dancehall session in the streets of Kingston.

Uptown Mondayz is my favorite night. All the crews are on fiyah… Shady Squad, Elite Team, BG Dancerz, Supreme Blazers, Black Eagles, Rifical Team… Heaven on earth for a Dancehall passionate!! The energy is mesmerising, the vybz gets you right in there, the music takes over and your body goes into trance… Hopefully this video will give you a small idea of what Uptown Mondayz is like… taking place in the parking lot of a Plaza, the dancers go up the roof, up the stairs, down the stairs, down the roof and right there… under the spotlight, the dancers are performing and showcasing their lastest steps and creations… ENJOY!!!

Cindy

Yo! Wah Gwan – Dancehall Interviews at DanceJa – 1st episode

I just came back from a 6 weeks trip to Jamaica (as an ADAD Trailblazers 2013-14).

Every time I have the priviledge to hit Kingstonian’s soil, I do everything I can to research more in-depth Dancehall Culture as a whole.

I train with dancers, I go to parties, and now that there are Dancehall dance schools in Jamaica, I also take classes! But Dancehall is not just about the dancing, about the steps, about the Old School and the New School… Dancehall is a Culture… in other words it is something you “experience”.

I am an observer, and part of doing research is to watch and listen. It is while living, jamming, “liming” as they say in Jamaica, that you get to know people. It is simply by spending time and by having conversations that new worlds unfold around you.

I had the opportunity to lead a series of interviews for DanceJa during my trip. Yo! Wah Gwan is about getting to know the dancers, getting to know where they come from and what they dream of. Hosting this “YouTube TV Show” was an opportunity for me to understand more about Dancehall Culture and Dancehall people.

I spent weeks with these dancers, we talked, we danced, and we worked together on the “Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program”. These guys have so much talent and love to give… I hope that through my questions and their answers, you too, will see the beauty of their souls and the drive of their artistic hearts.

In the meanwhile… enjoy & share!!! I also discovered in me the talent of a TV presenter… I must say, I loved it! 😉

Cindy

TIME FOR AN UPDATE!!!

It’s been so hectic in Cindy Claes Productions’ Headquarters that I realised an update was mandatory!

What have we been up to since January 2014? Here is just a small list of what we achieved over the last few months:

UK:
– Not only did we sell out two Dancehall Theatre shows at Sadler’s Wells in London, the show was sold out 3 weeks prior to the event!
– We organised a professional development program, a one week course aimed at dancers/teachers and choreographers looking for authentic Dancehall training and wanting to further their knowledge in Dance Theatre. Not only was the DTxTP program sold out as well… we actually worked with a whole team of European students! People came over from Belgium, France, Czech Republic, UK etc to attend the program.
– We were able to invite and work with a Jamaican based multi award winning Dancehall crew: Shady Squad. The international exchange happening in London was… POWERFUL and magic!!
– We worked with a whole team of interns who went on a journey of growth! Look out for the new team who are ready to take over the world again!
– We performed a new fresh version of “Is My Whining Winding You Up?” at Wild Card: Dancehall Takover. Three women on fiyah!
– The company received Arts Council England fundings to support their dance theatre activities and international exchanges with Jamaica.

Belgium:
– Cindy Claes worked set up a new company called PuzzelB in Belgium… 8 dancers aged 15-32 who’s drive is creating tornado’s of creative happiness!
– PuzzelB was initially a one hour production produced in association with Zinnema in Brussels, Belgium. The show was massively successful, a powerful and political Hip hop Theatre production challenging society in many ways.

Jamaica:
– Cindy is an ADAD Trailblazer 2013-14 and went off to Jamaica for 6 weeks. Her main aim was to set up a Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program between the UK and Jamaica, as well as train and perfect her skills in Dancehall.
– Cindy met with the Minister of Youth & Culture.
– She also performed a new 8min solo (“Time is Ticking, Phone is Ringing”) at Dance Umbrella festival at UWI in Kingston Jamaica.
– Cindy lead a series of Dancehall Theatre rehearsals at DanceJa.
– She also produced a one hour and a half showcase at the outdoor theatre venue at DanceJa, showcasing some Dancehall Theatre work and the talent from all the crews teaching at the school. More info on Talent Pree: Dancehall Theatre Takeover coming soon!
– She lead interviews with dancers at DanceJa, she discovered a new passion: being a TV presenter, and it gave a new insight to her research on Dancehall culture.
– Cindy performed at several occasions with Shady Squad in Jamaica.
– Not only did she network and meet people about the Dancehall Theatre Exchange Program, she also featured on TVJ (Television Jamaica) Smile Jamaica to talk about the project. This interview took place at 7am on the same day she was flying back to the UK. A true highlight!!!

This is just what happened in a nutshell over the last 3 months…

More blog posts will follow with anecdotes, videos and more happiness to be shared to inspire others.

Stay tuned!!

Cindy