Nick Power has choreographed and created two hip-hop break shows showing at Adelaide Festival this March. Two Crews, which we’ve spoken about previously was performed in its Australian premiere at Sydney Festival in January and we loved it. Between Tiny Cities will have its Australian premiere at Adelaide Festival. We spoke to Nick Power about the two shows and about hip-hop culture.
You have two shows at Adelaide Festival in March: Two Crews with hip hop dance crews from Australia and from France and Between Two Cities which brings together Aaron Lim from Darwin and Erak Mith from Phnom Penh. Where did your inspiration for these two shows come from?
In some ways the inspiration for both these shows are connected, I first thought of the idea of bringing two separate crews together while in Phnom Penh in the initial stages of developing Between Tiny Cities. Although Between Tiny Cities ended up being a duet it was initiated by Aaron and Erak’s separate crews (D* City Rockers & Tiny Toones respectively) meeting and jamming with each other. Although they are very different shows I feel as though they are forged in the same fire.
How long have you been involved in hip-hop?
Around 25 years.
What attracts you to/interests you about hip hop?
Hip Hop gave me an avenue for creativity, I had all this wild creative energy when I was young, I liked the freedom hip hop offered me to create… whether it be as a Graffiti Writer or a B*boy. It gives me a strong community to feel a part of and to contribute to. I find the dance styles of hip hop endlessly exciting and interesting, I love taking this energy and culture into the theatre, it opens it out into a new audience and challenges peoples pre-conceptions about the form.
In Two Crews you have worked with all-female Parisian crew Lady Rocks and Sydney group Riddim Nation. How did you hear about Lady Rocks?
The Australia Council gave me a three month residency in Paris in 2012. There is a thriving hip hop dance theatre scene in France so I was able to see many shows, meet other choreographers in my form and be immersed in it all. One of the key connections I made was with a B*Girl named Valentine Ramos – who is a member of Lady Rocks. I flew her to Australia in to judge a B*Girl battle I helped organise, we kept in touch and when the time was right I was able to connect with her crew and begin the collaboration that became Two Crews.
What are the challenges in choreographing a style of dance which is usually uninhibited and depends on the mood of the dancer or can be reactionary if in a battle?
I try to take this energy and instinct into the theatre through working a lot with structured improvisation. I feel as though the dancers are also interested in exploring new ground and textures that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to in a more traditional hip hop space. In this way taking it into the theatre opens the form up to new possibilities, I think this is a really exciting space.
How do the styles differ from country to country?
Each country has its own style and flavour.
What are the key differences between the two shows?
Between Tiny Cities is more intimate and personal while Two Crews has a more raucous feel.
Do you need to have an interest in hip-hop dance and culture to appreciate these shows?
Absolutely not. Our audiences are really diverse and we love it that way. The shows are built on the backbone of hip hop culture and are really accessible to anyone who loves dance … or just a good night out…
Why should people come to see these shows?
You will see high level hip hop dancers from across the world use their skills and culture to compete, connect and rock the house.
Two Crews was also performed at Sydney Festival in January 2020. Will the shows be performed in any other cities?
We’re coming to Adelaide in March and then off to Brisbane festival in September! And hopefully more to come.
WHEN: 10 – 14 March various times
WHERE: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
HOW MUCH: $49 for adults with discounts for Friends of Adelaide Festival, concession card holders, under 30s and students
Between Tiny Cities
WHEN: 28 Feb – 4 March (except Tuesday 3 March) at various times
WHERE: Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
HOW MUCH: $39 with discounts for Friends of the Festival, Concession card holders, under 30s and students
Do you like hip hop?