The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
Animated Edition - Spring 2010
Letter
Kate Scanlan responds to Sunanda Biswas's article on women in Hip Hop, Animated Winter 2010

Associated Attachment(s):

 letters.pdf
Image: Breakin' Convention freestyle circles. Photo: Paul Hampartsoumain.

Reading Sunanda's article on women in Hip Hop (Animated winter 2010) reinforced for me how during the past 30-odd years Hip Hop has become a culture of major global significance. In the last year I've been working on a piece of research for my Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme (www.cloreleadership.org). The topic is Hip Hop culture in the UK and the roots and aspirations of the community. In the early '80s the UK was widely regarded as second only to New York in Hip Hop circles. The culture died out a decade later as music in clubs changed, but some of the innovative pioneers innovators kept it alive underground.


Now, as I write this in 2010, Hip Hop dance and dance-theatre is more visible than ever. Sunanda described the impact of b.supreme since 2006, but there's more. Boy Blue Entertainment's Pied Piper wonan Olivier Award winner in 2007. Zoo Nation's Into The Hoods was a major West End success in 2009, and is back at the Southbank this summer. It's just a few weeks before the seventh annual Breakin' Convention (BC) festival of International Hip Hop dance-theatre at Sadler's Wells that to date has been attended by over 54,000 people. The UK B Boy Championships celebrates its 15th anniversary this autumn, and BC will embark on its fourth UK tour.


Throughout my research I met Hip Hop artists at events and in studios. The resounding message was that they're passionate about the contribution Hip Hop has made to their lives and to the world. One of the major recommendations to come out of that research regards the infrastructure for Hip Hop culture in this country. We're at a critical point. Hip Hop has been mass-produced and many of its essential elements stripped, but there are living pioneers in the UK and overseas who are still teaching and developing knowledge of the foundation techniques and styles. The dancers, DJs and promoters I spoke with all feel strongly about the need for high-quality training through a unique Hip Hop Academy, and for greater support and investment in UK choreographers who are moving the art form forwards. It's a case of watch this space.

 

Kate Scanlan, General Manager (maternitycover), Breakin' Convention. www.breakinconvention.com

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Animated: Spring 2010