Hip hop has long stepped off the concrete streets of the Bronx, a culture that rose in the lean mean years of the 1970s when New York City was flat broke. Or at least, when it came to the welfare of African American people. With the backdrop of drugs rampaging the communities, neglected buildings crumbling down around them, a lack of jobs and school funding, the energetic urban youth refused to be hemmed in. A cultural revolution was born; a movement that rapidly spread from the street corner and across the globe. It even found itself treading the boards of the theatrical stage.
Whilst the art form may find itself in new territory, the sentiments behind it are no less important as a means of expression and self identity for the youth of today. Hip Hop has always been more than music. Choreographer Botis Seva’s BLKDOG gives testament to that: an emotionally charged dance performance infused with the empowerment, artistry, and value of hip-hop culture without losing sight of the deeply rooted social justice work in the community.
Raw in execution, BLKDOG makes comment on how the young generation searches for coping mechanisms in a world that is not built for them. It peels back the vicious connection of how self-discovery leads to self-destruction. Through haunting childhood memories and adult life traumas, how do we fight through our vices to find a sense of peace.
In keeping with Hip Hop’s ethic of improvisation, with his powerhouse company Far From The Norm and guests, Seva generates his own unique style with original spins, fresh freezes, and new twists on power moves. Right off the bat, he push the boundaries of the origins and roots of street dance which is further emboldened by Torben Lars Sylvest’s dark musical score and the the hooded caps and padded costumes by Ryan Laight echo the protection and comfort of childhood. It’s wild, inspired and even humorous, despite its underlying tragic theme.
A moving and beautifully crafted performance that will have you body-popping in your seat. A must see.
BLKDOG was seen at Sadler’s Wells