INTERVIEW: Breakin’ Convention – Emerge+See | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Origin

Pioneering the hip-hop theatre revolution, Breakin’ Convention presents their new show Emerge+See, which is destined to be another revered project from the organisation’s hip-hop legend Jonzi D. Commissioning artists across the UK to present unique performances celebrating dance and hip-hop culture, the Newcastle event takes place at Dance City on Tuesday 29th March.

I spoke to two of the Newcastle-based artists that have been selected for the Newcastle event, the mixed-media group Origin and dancer Rob Anderson from influential B-boy crew, Bad Taste Cru. When asking about why they decided to get involved with this project Origin explained: “When we were younger we had a chance to see [the work of] Breakin’ Convention…it’s come full circle for us, aiming to be on that stage so that we can inspire the next generation, like they did for us.”

Rob told me why this kind of project is important to the creative process: “Breakin’ Convention creates an environment where they support you financially, with mentorship, guidance and creating a space that is relatively low pressure. It’s a positive working environment. They leave it to you, and that creates an atmosphere where I can make the best work that I am capable of.”

He continued, explaining the importance of dance as a language. “I am fascinated by movement and what it can do, with its relationship to the body…I’ve met people and we don’t speak the same language but we get that we’re dancers, we don’t need to speak, we can just move. I think that’s why people who don’t dance can still appreciate it – it’s primal.”

I am fascinated by movement and what it can do, with its relationship to the body

Origin have enjoyed being able to work as a team on this project. “Being in the studio, there’s that sense that we are working towards a goal, a project we dreamed about and joked about – we spoke it into existence. [In previous projects] we’ve been solitary, but now everyone is here. We’ve been given this opportunity to express more than just dance, to create something that’s within us, in our dreams, our passion, something we’ve always thought of; it’s more than dance, it’s life-story lines, friendship, family, it’s all got to be in there.”

Emerge+See is a hip-hop focused project, and these two sets of artists explore this in very different ways. “Part of being a dancer, being human, is that along the road of growing up you have to look back at your own history, your own roots.” Rob explains. “I am a hip-hop practitioner, but I’m not from New York, I come from a white working-class background, I don’t come from a Black American background and it would be wrong and insensitive to replicate that. I’ve enjoyed looking back at Northern History. It’s been important in helping me understand what stories I can tell because Newcastle and the North has a rich history. That has led me to a place of discovering Northern Soul dance. Seeing the connections between hip-hop culture and Northern Soul culture, the influences behind them, they are very similar. So for me, it’s like finding a little bit of hip-hop within Northern England.”

For Origin they have a very clear goal of what they want to achieve with their work. “We are doing this to champion Black culture, to put Black culture on the map in Newcastle. Hip-hop means so much to Black youth in the UK and to be able to include that as the backbone of our piece, really helps us to champion Black culture.”

Breakin’ Convention present Emerge+See at Dance City, Newcastle on Tuesday 29th March.

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