Emancipation of Expressionism is an 11-minute piece of hip-hop dance theatre, from Olivier Award-winning company Boy Blue Entertainment (BBE). Directed by Manchester-born and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, the film was captured on film at London’s Barbican.
The production of the film has been funded by The Space, a digital commissioning agency for the arts. It has also reportedly been selected by UK’s qualification body AQA to be part of the GCSE Dance curriculum.
Ground-breaking in its essence, Emancipation of Expressionism is the UK’s first hip hop production to be in mainstream education. Using structured freestyle, the production invites specialist dancers to create their own movement, in relation to the vision of the piece.
BBE composer, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante said: “When hip-hop started in the Bronx it was there as a form of self-expression.
“So, it’s amazing to be at the forefront of bringing the dance form into the UK education system. It’s our job to keep the authenticity, which is why we’re so excited to be making this film.”
Kenrick ‘H2o’ Sandy, choreographer who collaborated with Boyle on the production said he wanted to take “dance to the next level”.
“When we heard that AQA wanted to put Emancipation of Expressionism on the syllabus, we knew we had to make a film that took the dance to the next level. With Danny Boyle directing we’re making a film that will inspire and connect with students, whilst picking up on the detail and structure of the dance.”
Director Boyle, said he was “dazzled by it”, upon first seeing the show. He gushed about “the precision, the discipline, the group dynamic and the individuality within that collection of dancers.
“My aim was to try and give that facility (Barbican) to a dance piece; we made selections, we take the viewer in so that they can literally feel the sweat that is there when you’re in the theatre live.”
The piece is choreographed by Sandy, with additional composition by BBE co-founder and fellow artistic director, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante.
First performed at Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells in 2013, it’s now performed by a diverse 17-strong company led by Kenrick.
TNT Arts & Culture
Photo Credit: Nicole Guarino