The end of September brought the second two day event of workshops hosted byartists4artists, an organisation set up to enhance and develop UK hip hop artists.The weekend entailed of open discussions, workshops, performances and Q & A’s. Now, I only attended the second day but I am so glad I went. (You don’t need to be a dancer to read on and appreciate… trust me).
So day 2 of the weekend – A workshop (11-4.30pm) led by Boy Blue Entertainment (BBE) artistic directors, Kenrick Sandy & Mikey J Asante followed by a Q & A with them. Then the whole weekend ended with a second night of ‘Human Kind’; performances curated by A4A, choreographed and danced by Caramel Soldier, Joshua Nash & Lee Cook and Botis Seva.
Buttt this blog is focussed on the workshop – I just wanted to give a little shout out to all the artists involved in Human Kind! (Check out the video below to see what they got up to!)
So where were we…
Ah yes – I was indecisive of whether to go or not, not because of who or what the event was about, but because of fearing not fitting in with the other attendees and artists. It was only until I was nudged (a big nudge!) that I booked my place, which is where I am lucky to have mentors that want to see me grow – if you’ve read my ‘Are we really happy or really comfortable’ blog then you’ll understand! But lo-and-behold, I worried for no reason and kicked myself for nearly missing out.
The workshop divulged into BBE’s most recent full length show ‘Blak Whyte Gray’. The directors stripped back the dance and aesthetics, and allowed welcomed us into their world. For the first few hours we just listened – listened to them, listened to their music, and listened to each other – it was mutual feeling of learning and appreciation between everyone in the room. The inclusive atmosphere helped ease my anxiety and allowed me to enjoy myself (sometimes as dancer I think we forget that we are allowed and are meant to enjoying dancing!)
We absorbed a lot of information that day; the process, backbone & back story of Blak Whyte Gray, as well as movement and repertoire. However there was a few different things that the two creatives said that really struck a chord with me. Mikey spoke passionately about the importance of making BWG palatable – “creating a substance that can be stretched and manipulated to become palatable”. They wanted everyone in their team, (lighting, costume, rehearsal director and dance artists) to be able to work together from the same ‘palette’ – and drink from the same well…
We questioned some home truths about the ‘well that we drink from’; who are we sharing our well with? Who are we allowing to drink and wash in our well? Are they infecting our water? Are we taking from someone else’s well? To put it bluntly – are the people you surround yourself with really the best people to support and push your growth – in all relationships (not just professionally!).
We came together for the Q&A where Kenrick spoke about dancers needing versatility, quality, individuality and the ‘want’. There’s a lot of talent but a lot of slack and laziness – yet there are people who have the passion and ‘want’ but aren’t quite dancers… However there’s so many different avenues that passion can be be injected into, in dance and the arts. That really resonated with me and helped solidify what I want Selfe to do and be.
Lastly the two humble directors shared with us how they continue to train and develop their artistry:
- Don’t expect someone to do something you can’t or won’t even try.
- Jot down every idea & keep writing until you can’t think of anything else to write. .
- Keep investing in yourself.
And now to leave you with the final words of the Q&A “Bang on the door every day…turn up every day!”