Hip hop projects of Moov’n Aktion in Europe

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Presentation by Dirk Korell. Dirk is founder of MOOV’N AKTION in Paris and camin aktion in Montpellier. He will be at mov-s/madrid “Projects Presentation” session on Friday June 11 at 16:00 pm

The question of the link between the stage and the audience, the dancer and the spectator is a very interesting one when it comes to the hiphop culture.

It is important to define what we speak about, as hiphop is non a dance style, but a culture with various expressions : DJing, MCing, spray can art (graffiti), and then dance : bboying, popping, locking, wacking, with a number of assimilated dance forms such as electric boogaloo, house dance etc. No worry, we won’t get lost and resume to : dance.

Historically, dance was a social expression in hiphop, part of the block parties in New York. A social dance : everybody could get into the flow, and dance. Through the years, hiphop grew worldwide, the dance forms more and more complex. Not easy not to be complexed dancing in a club on the same dance floor as highly trained hiphoppers with their incredible skills, but yet : it still is a social dance. Or, more precisely : a non-academic dance.

Although hiphop is taught in dance classes, there is no official diploma ; the transmission is mostly done from person to person. At some points, hiphop dance is close to classical dance (codified movements, dance to music and rythm), but in the same time, very contemporary : open for evolution, the personal style is more important than the exact execution of a movement.

As we know, hiphop has a large dynamic (not only) in the younger generations. An impressive number of persons practice, or have notions, of hiphop dance. Crews are often born amongst a bunch of friends, and eventually grow more professional, gain respect and become famous in the numerous dance battles, organized from the smallest towns on all continents to world-wide events such as Battle of the Year, Dance Delight or Juste Debout.

During the battles, there is a stage and there is the audience : but the interaction is the base of everything. Participants are in the audience once they battled in the circle, others are part of the jury, and even “pure spectactors” are important for the whole atmosphere, often well trained in the analysis of the movements and skills, as they might dance themselves on different levels. A battle with no audience would make no sense.

Since more than 20 years, specially in France, generations of hiphop choregraphers grew up, composing with this language, creating staged work for theatres. Different expressions and behaviours got confronted : participative spectators enter a theatre with a clear distinction between the stage and the audience, between offering and receiving, showing and “consuming”. Not rarely, the “hiphop audience” is more reactive and interactive than “classical” spectators, giving a direct feedback to the stage through applause and enthousiastic reactions.

But even in a more passive way to contemplate the work, to receive the catharsis of what we experience through dance and the mystery of stage, there is this knowledge of a large group of hiphop spectators of the dance technics, of cultural and aesthetic codes. This might be a danger for creation (sticking to codes can limit an artistic freedom), but allows a more silent, but still existing exchange : as everybody potentially has the chance to grow into hiphop as a non-academic culture, it is not rare to identify oneself with the dancers onstage which one even might know personally, or from this or that battle in a pretty different context, but with the same feeling : this person is part of the same family as myself.

Or : somewhere, what happens onstage, is me, too. The famous 4th wall of theatre is, in this sense, more permeable than in other aesthetics.

Dirk Korell

After his theatre studies in Germany (University of Giessen) and in France (University Paris 8, Saint-Denis), Dirk Korell worked as Production Director at the theatre MC93 Bobigny (theatre, opera and dance) from 1991-1999. At the same time, he managed a hiphop dance company and worked with a festival in the Parisian suburbs open to all artistic expressions of the hiphop culture.

In 1997, with Yacine Amblard, he founded MOOV’N AKTION. Since the first year, the organization produces a yearly international dance festival in the outskirts of Paris, Danse HipHop Tanz, and also represents companies[1], choreographers and dancers in France, Germany, Belgium and Brazil, producing and diffusing choreographic creations. MOOV’N AKTION is very active in the conception and organization of international cultural cooperation programs in the field of hiphop culture, mostly realized in collaboration with both French and German cultural networks worldwide[2].

2009, Dirk founded the organization camin aktion, based in Montpellier, specialized on dance : production, diffusion, company support & development, cultural cooperation in the Mediterranean, training programs for young producers and choreographers. The associated companies[3], with a strong artistic identity, are all caracterized by the transgression of aesthetic borders and limits, for a rich artistic expression in dance.

Dirk works simultaneously both with MOOV’N AKTION in Paris, and with camin in Montpellier.

For several years, Dirk Korell was one of the experts of the Dance Commission of the regional branch of the French Ministry of Culture (DRAC) in the region of Paris.

Dirk Korell is board member of the international network for perforaming arts, IETM.

More informations :

www.moovnaktion.org

www.caminaktion.eu (site under construction. camin is present on facebook.)

Contact :

dirk@moovnaktion.org

contact@caminaktion.eu


[1] Storm (Berlin). Raphael & Sébastien (Berlin/Perpignan). Collective Jeu de Jambes (Paris). Company Discípulos do Rítmo/Frank Ejara (São Paulo). Company Tribal Sarong/Yiphun Chiem (Brussels).

[2] Ivory Coast, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Cuba, Singapore.

[3] Company Chantier, David Drouard (Laval). Company Cypher Dance/Tony Mills & Matt Foster (Edinburgh). Company Des Equilibres/François Berdeaux (Lodève). Company Sébastien Ramirez, Clash 66 (Perpignan). Company Stefanie Batten Bland/sbb birdlegs (New York/Paris).

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