CAPE TOWN’S hip hop scene will never be the same again after the British Council South Africa’s new hip hop dance theatre showcase, Mixing It Up. It takes place on 10 and 11 March and is set to revolutionise the way hip hop is perceived in the Mother City.
Mixing It Up is an initiative set to develop and position the local hip hop sector, generally seen to be an informal street-based activity, as a legitimate form of art.
The concept for this project, which forms part of the British Council SA’s arts programme, was adapted from the UK hip hop scene where hip hop has successfully been integrated into the local theatre sector.
Various hip hop crews and individuals who form part of the showcase include Immortal Style, Vuelta, Project E, Hand Break Turn, Retro Black, Objects in Motion and RFK were all selected from the preliminary Sweat Week workshops, which took place in November 2011.
Mentored by Emile Jansen of Heal the Hood Project, the showcase will provide artists with a platform for Cape Town-based artists to portray genuine South African stories through mixed dance styles, music and words.
As a founding member of the Heal the Hood Project, a Cape Town-based Non-Profit Organisation that utilises hip hop’s various elements to encourage youth to break away from the gang culture encountered on the streets of the Cape Flats, Jansen adds much needed guidance in using hip hop to break barriers.
Cape Town audiences can also expect to be blown away by international hip hop theatre pioneers and Mixing It Up headliners, Clash 66, which is made up of France’s Sebastien Ramirez and Hyun-Jung Wang from Germany.
Other performers who will be performing at the showcase include hip hop artists from the UK and Zim Ethnic from neighbouring Zimbabwe, who are expected to enhance the spectacle’s entertainment through their brand of popping, B-boying and break dancing.
British Council South Africa, through Mixing It Up, hopes to provide a platform for these selected performers to show their work to key influential stakeholders in the arts, dance and theatre sector i.e. local and international dance festival curators, theatre programme managers, booking agents, press, and the public.
The artists will also benefit from the expertise of the showcase’s curator Mamela Nyamza, a provocative and award-winning dancer. Kwesi Johnson of Kompany Malakhi will be responsible for facilitating hip hop master classes after the showcase, which are intended to encourage the participants to make a positive contribution to the local arts industry.
Mixing it Up is made possible by the British Council in collaboration with Heal the Hood Project, Matchboxology Creative Incubator, Artscape Theatre, Bush Radio, Goethe Institute and the French Institute of South Africa and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
The showcase will take place in Cape Town on March 10 and 11 at the Artscape Theatre. Tickets are available at Computicket (www.computicket.com or 0861 915 8000) at a cost of R50 and a reduced rate of R30 is available for students on presentation of a valid student card.
The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. For more information, go to www.britishcouncil.org/africa