The language of dance is universal. Olivier Award-winning company Boy Blue Entertainment’s Emancipation of Expressionism, choreographed by Kenrick “H2o” Sandy (London Olympics Opening Ceremony, T2 Trainspotting Blak Whyte Gray), uses the vocabulary of hip-hop and street dance to address common human experiences. Captured on film by Sandy’s long-time friend and collaborator, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting), the ground-breaking piece has been produced for broadcast following its selection to form part of GSCE Dance curriculum. The company were included in ASFF 2016’s official selection, responding to the Barbican’s brutalist architecture in a highly charged piece, Intrusion.
The choice by examining body AQA is a cornerstone, inviting a new generation to engage with for the medium. Sandy reflects: “It’s very important that – from an education point of view – we tell the young people that dance is academic too. Mathematics is in dance, Science is in dance. History, geography, sociology; they are all in dance. They are embedded in the nucleus, in the genes, in the blueprint of dance.“
The work explores four main themes – Birth, Journey, Connection and Freedom – forming unique scenes which connect to create a meaningful journey. Drawing from different aspects of each style, the sections combine to create a strong and varied vocabulary of motions. Sandy uses structured freestyle as a methodology, inviting specialist dancers to create their own movements inspired by the piece’s trajectory, foregrounding a disciplined group dynamic.
The result is a strikingly cinematic, energetic experience. As Boyle notes: “People think that when you sit in a theatre like The Barbican and you experience a live show, you can’t have close-ups. But actually you have the telescope of your own eye; you are the editor and you decide where you want to look. My aim was to try and give that facility to a dance piece.”
Emancipation of Expressionism is available to watch in full on YouTube along with additional content here.
1. Still from Emancipation of Expressionism. Courtesy of Blue Boy Entertainment.