Emancipation of Expressionism, an 11-minute piece of hip-hop dance theatre, from Olivier Award-winning company Boy Blue Entertainment (BBE) a Barbican Artistic Associate, has been captured on film by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle in a staged performance at London’s Barbican Theatre.
Popping, locking, waacking, breaking, hip-hop and krumping, all specialist hip-hop and street dance styles, will reach a new audience via the film’s multi-platform release, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The pioneering film and online distribution has been funded by The Space, the digital commissioning agency for the arts, and the Barbican following the selection of the work by the UK’s largest exam body, AQA, to form part of the GCSE Dance curriculum.
Emancipation of Expressionism is ground-breaking as for the first time in UK mainstream education hip-hop is included alongside its contemporary peers; each section is a scene, a moment in life and the whole work is a journey. Kenrick uses structured freestyle, which invites specialist dancers to create their own movement, in relation to the vision of the piece.
Boy Blue Entertainment composer, Michael Asante said: “When hip-hop started in Brooklyn 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.”
Inspired by the invaluable opportunity to bring the work and dance-form to a world-wide audience, choreographer Kenrick Sandy (London Olympics Opening Ceremony, T2 Trainspotting and recent Olivier nominated Blak Whyte Gray), asked his long-time friend and collaborator Danny Boyle to come on board as director to give Emancipation of Expressionism his inimitable vibrant and energetic direction.
Kenrick Sandy, choreographer, Boy Blue Entertainment, comments: “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.”
Danny Boyle, director, said: “When I first saw Emancipation of Expressionism I was just dazzled by it; the precision, the discipline, the group dynamic and the individuality within that collection of dancers… My aim was to try and give that facility 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, choreographed by Kenrick Sandy with additional composition by BBE co-founder and fellow artistic director, Michael Asante, was first performed at Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells in 2013, and is performed by a diverse 17-strong company led by Kenrick.
Alongside the capture, additional films will give the piece context, looking into BBE’s methodology and the artistry of hip-hop.
The Emancipation of Expressionism film will be produced for BBE by London’s Artstrust Productions. Led by artistic director Martin Collins, Artstrust aims to further the engagement of dance to new and current audiences via film, broadcast, festivals, theatre or education.
Read TBB’s review of Boy Blue Entertainment’s recent production Blak Whyte Gray here.
Read TBB’s archive interview with Boy Blue Entertainment founders Kenrick Sandy & Michael Asante here.