Nick Power talks hip hop shows Between Tiny Cities & Two Crews

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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.

hip hop
Between Tiny Cities
Image: Thoeun Veassna

 

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.

hip hop
Two Crews
Credit: Create Lamine

 

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.

hip hop
Image: Pippa Samaya
Between Tiny Cities

 

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.

 

TICKET INFORMATION

 

Two Crews

https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/events/two-crews/

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

https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/events/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?

 

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Two Crews at Sydney Festival: a fun-filled hip hop battle

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Two Crews, Nick Power’s latest creation is an outstanding cheeky, exhilarating and infectious fun-filled hip hop battle which recently played at The Carriageworks as part of Sydney Festival (it will also be at Adelaide Festival in March (details at the end of the article)).

Image: Timothée Lejolivet

Historically these battles were ‘fought’ in gangs on the streets in the Bronx in the 70s in common cultural backgrounds in order to claim titles in the streets. This is signified through dance that emanates cultures, backgrounds and the ties that bind them. Present day, dancers are opting for solo competitions and here lies Power’s inspiration, to bring the former back in all its glory.

 

The main stars were the all-female Parisian crew, Lady Rocks, who pushed their bodies further, all the while with non-stop smiles and cheekiness to encourage the other crew to give their all in response. The strength, endurance and movement was incredible and one found their breath paused due to sheer admiration of the execution and energy injected into the performance.

 

Sydney-based Riddim Nation crew with 3 males and one female gave it back in a more often softer reaction, more fluid and slower. Culturally diverse in it’s crew, boasting members from Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Latino, Pacific Islander and French backgrounds.

Two Crews
Riddim Nation Image: Adam Scarf

 

The setting was simple, yet perfect. Either side were bleachers filled with an audience of all ages. In the middle, a white floor bordered with black tape giving the impression of a boxing ring, perfectly depicted a battle ground for an old school styled street hip hop challenge. The crowd was encouraged to cheer and support as well as the stadium being filled with a lot of laughter through the playfulness of the performers.

 

The dance was electric at times, high energy, powerful with battles of four against four, individual sequences and one very special solo offering from Riddim Nation’s Gabriela Quinsacara. Her performance was interwoven with traditional dance practices as well as contemporary, she moved slowly and beautifully while popping across from her crew to the opposition, all sans music.

 

Ultimately it was all about having fun, not truly focusing on the traditional competitive nature of the battling as the crews wrapped up the show hugging each other, giving one another recognition for their offerings and for a fantastic time. This production was so excellent that it kept us buzzing for hours after leaving the show, such a treat that they can have the croissants they’d like.

 

5 CROISSANTS (If we had more we would give them!)

 

Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Sydney Festival

 

You can also see Two Crews at Adelaide Festival from 10 to 14 March ($49 with discounts for under 30s and Friends of the Festival).

Read our interview with Lady Rocks here

 

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