News: HIP 2003

Wednesday 5 November 2003

HIP 2003: Black British dance festival
18th – 30th November 2003

Following two highly successful years, Hip hits the London stage again this November with a dynamic two-week event of black dance, workshops and talks at the Place. Its eclectic line up turns the spotlight on African, Caribbean and Black British dance to capture the coolness, the inventiveness, the energy – in short, the hipness – of its practitioners. Artistic Director Brenda Edwards was the first black woman to dance with the English National Ballet, and she continues to break boundaries and confound expectation with a programme that displays the diverse range of Black British and international dance today. Hip artists fuse concept and choreography to present new work that moves with ease between African, Caribbean, contemporary and balletic styles. In doing so their work forms a new vocabulary that accepts no limitations and soars above the restrictions that racial politics have placed on dance with style, humour, grace and imagination.
Hip – one of the few Black dance festivals in the UK – has successfully opened up the debate about Black British dance since its inception. Now making its third appearance, Hip opens with Homage – a long-overdue tribute to 1940s Black British dance pioneers, Les Ballets Negres. The performance will include a rendition of the late William Louther’s work, performed by Stuart Thomas and Namron, a founder member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre.
The evening will continue with The 70’s Company Mass Movers, Carol Straker and Leon Robinson, Archivist and Director of Positive Steps.
This is followed by Two’s Company – an international pairing of two exhilarating solo artists. South African born, London-based dancer and choreographer Jane Sekonya will present *‘The Period Piece*, a work commissioned by Hip, while award winning South African performer and choreographer Boyzie Cekwana will present *‘The (re) definition of’*. This emotive work evolved from an improvisation process that investigated a re-definition of identity, place, context space and gender.

Colin Poole and Ballet Soul
Poole will present his second solo commissioned by Hip, ‘The Box Office’ (- his very popular ‘Cool Memories’ launched the 2001 Festival. He will also be presenting his darkly humourouas work ‘Bad Faith’.
Ballet Soul is a new performing dance company, launched by Benjamin Love and Beverley Mason to develop and produce new repertoire showcasing young, gifted ballet dancers who capture the imagination of a growing and vital audience for dance. The company’s unique profile is fundamentally rooted in and reflective of Britain’s cultural heritage. Completing the first week’s programme, ‘Hipstars’ will feature premieres by two of the most exciting choreographers working today. David Brown (former Monte/Brown Dance, USA) will re-create an existing work, ‘Labess and Maquette’, as well as creating a new work for a company of UK-based dancers. Barcelona-born Rafael Bonachela will present highlights from a new work which will be fully premiered at the Purcell Room in 2004. He has worked in dance, music and film and is perhaps best known for his work with Kylie Minogue – including her 2002 award winning ‘Fever’ world tour. He is currently a member of Rambert Dance Company and was appointed as Associate Choreographer in April 2003.

Ronald K. Brown
As one of the highlights of this year’s Festival award-winning New York-based performer and choreographer Ronald K. Brown will make his UK debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall before touring to Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music. Widely considered to be one of the most exciting talents in the USA today, Brown’s unique style blends traditional African-American dances with edgy, contemporary urban hip-hop dance styles and spoken word. Hip audiences will have the opportunity to see ‘Evidence’, featuring some of his most groundbreaking work.

Week two of the programme will be kick started by three performers with attitude. The Three Graces are Juliet Ellis, Nejla Y Yatkins and Greta Mendez. Be warned: these x-rated and satirical dance and live art performances are not for the lighthearted!
Following this, ‘Trans – Fusions’ will focus on exciting new solo performers, groups and companies, including Boy Blue, Maxine Bunting and Diane Mitchell. ‘Eyeland’ will see a cast of solo performers from the Caribbean presenting their unique fusion of traditional dance styles, resulting in an edgy, creative, contemporary world dance feel. The programme will include Christopher Walker (Jamaica), Neila Ebanks (Jamaica), Tania Isaac (St. Lucia) and Celia Grannum(Barbados).
Hip closes with *‘12 × 1* – a line up of twelve highly individual dancers each performing a short solo. Jazz, contemporary, African and Caribbean dance are all represented in a line up featuring some of the most influential figures in Black British dance. The performance will feature soloist dancers, such as Jason Piper Bawren Tava, Robert Hylton, Andrew Obaka, Alan Miller, Noel Wallace, and Francis Angol, Yvette Campbell, Jane Sekonya and Godiva Marshall.

What’s On