Of late I’ve wanted my work to capture the expression of ‘self’, through dance. As such I obtained a press pass for the B-SIDE Hip-Hop Festival 2023, showcasing UK and international artists. B-SIDE is the Hip-Hop event of the year, and the Birmingham Hippodrome's popular free festival, and this annual festival brings together extraordinary artists and breath-taking acts from across all four elements of Hip-Hop: breakin’, graffiti, DJ’ing and MC’ing.
I find myself surrounded by energy, the bounces and rocks, all enthusiastically executed to Hip Hop music, the objective of the festival, in part, demonstrating an energy directed to values like originality, creativity, identity, respect, and community. And in this social context, it is Hip Hop’s undeniably raw and fascinating background that creatively acts as a core part of socially creative education.
The art forms on display, the dancers ranging from seven to eighteen years of age, embodied, in the way they dressed, talked, moved, and expressed themselves; a lifestyle, a way to live, and in the context of youth aspiration in the UK, against the background of social dynamics, body-politics, poverty and violence, the way in which bodies flipped, and jerked, and physically harmonised the sounds of which they were moved by, focusing on the capture of the hip-hop dance form, it quickly became apparent what the dancers felt about the piece of landmark they were expressing themselves on.
I always feel that dance expression, in public, as opposed to on a stage, in front of a ticketed audience, adds an authenticity to the music dancers to, of which in effect pays homage to the cornerstones of hip-hop, for the hip-hop enthusiast, ever since Afrika Bambaataa classified breakdance as one of the five pillars of hip-hop culture, along with MCing (rapping), DJing (turntablism), graffiti writing (bombing), and knowledge, in effect, hip-hop dance drawing on the fundamentals very much needed in the 2023, and hip-hop remains the fundamental art form it has always been.