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Friday, 31 July 2009

A round up of the week... Pineapple's 30th and Brick City Boutique

You'll have to pardon me for not updating the blog, not a week goes by when things aren't busy at TooMuchFlavour Towers.

Checkit. Pineapple celebrated their 30th anniversary last Sunday, which was also the same day as their annual Pineapple open day. Over 40 classes, all for free! I was fooled into thinking it was a storm in a teacup when I turned up at 11, although, typically, most dancers hadn't woken up by then!

Come midday and the queues were spilling out the entrance and on to Langley Street as more dancers turned up. Because of the volume of people, place cards were handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis so classes didn't get over subscribed.

I couldn't stay until the end, unfortunately, as I had to jet to the next event (below), but what was positive was that some of the people I chatted to had never danced before, a great thing about holding free events and introducing new people to dance.

For our blog on free dance classes, click here

A ride on the Tube took me to Elbow Room, Islington, where the Brick City Boutique was taking place. Around the seated booths, merchants of the urban ilk set up their wares around the tables while the DJ spun records. Merchants such as Different Prints, Soap Box World, Roodboy, and most importantly, the guys behind the event, Pieceology.

As well as the fashion side of things, emcees were in the place, including Skinnyman and his Smoking Ban van (I didn't intend that to rhyme!) giving out free t-shirts and bursting out with random freestyles.

Of course, most importantly, I had to stay for the b-boy battle. Billed to start at 4pm, it actually started at around 8. A bit slow on the uptake, some b-boys (and one b-girl) emerged from the audience to join in. I filmed most of it, but the very end was cut off as I ran out of memory, with seconds of the action left. Nevertheless...

To keep up to date with Pieceology's Brick City Boutique, you can find the Facebook page here.

There's plenty more stuff coming up that's worth checking out. Why not check out the calendar on the main site to see events worth hitting up?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Dance - for free - for the next two months!

Maybe you're looking to try something new, perhaps you're a dancer affected by the recession's toll on your spending money or saw how big street dance was on Britain's Got Talent, whatever your reasons are, you're low on cash, you like dance and you'll be looking for something to do that doesn't cost a penny.

Randomly spaced though they are, the TooMuchFlavour calendar has a line up of dance and dance related events in the diary for the remainder of July and August.

Those that have two cells to rub together (most of you, I hope) will realise some of these are taster classes and you will have to pay for classes from then on, but why shouldn't you go ahead and sample some of the finest dance flavour London has to offer?

So let's share the free love! If you have a Google account you can click the logo next to the info to add it to your Google Calendar.

July 23rd
Yo Fair - For 14-19 year olds in and around Islington at King's Place who are interested in creative arts. There will be a CV clinic, dance classes, music production workshops and guests like Flawless making an appearance. Check here for more info

The Dare2Dance workshop at the Southbank Centre is a sneak preview of what to expect over the Dare2Dance weekend on the 25th.

July 25th
Dare2Dance (the actual event) is free to come along and watch at the Southbank Centre. Check out the battles and see who will win the opportunity to be trained by top dancers.

July 26th
Pineapple Open Day is the annual day at the Covent Garden studios when every class is free for one day. This year they're celebrating their 30th birthday! Just turn up early to register - it will be busy!

August 13th
Ujam Staines. All you have to do it hit up the high street of Ali G's stomping ground for this event, aaaaiight!!?

17th August
I Love Dance - not just one day, but a whole week of dance thanks to East London Dance. Line up is a bit scarce at the moment, but if it's over a week (can't get enough of just how long it'll be!) I doubt the teachers will be a joke!

30th August
Dance Mob: With all these free workshops, it's time to put in some effort and do a performance. Learn the Dance Mob routine then descend upon the Southbank Centre in a massive dance mob. You can learn the routine by hitting up the Southbank Centre's website or going there throughout August (other info is TBA)

Enjoy checking these events out! When we say dance is free, we don't just mean free = no price, but free to grow and reach new people!

For other (non-free) hip hop dance-related events, see what's on at the TooMuchFlavour calendar page!

Attn Event organisers! Have we missed anything? Are we misinforming the masses? Do your events start earlier or end later? While we do our best to get the details correct and get our facts right, mistakes can easily be overlooked. If so, email .

Disclaimer: Details are assumed as correct at time of publishing. This blog may be updated at any time without notification. TooMuchFlavour takes no responsibility if events are cancelled, rescheduled or display the wrong times thus making you catch the wrong train. Listings are compiled as a guide to let you know what is going on by TooMuchFlavour for the benefit of its readers, taken from press releases, mailouts, flyers etc. Check with the venues to make sure the event you want to go to is still on. In conclusion, if this blog post messes up your day, we wash our hands of any responsibility!

Friday, 17 July 2009

"It's the real... hip hop! Gangstarr's GURU at King Apparel store, London

It's the most authentic hip hop clothes shop in Covent Garden (maybe) that reigns supreme (ahem) with its line up of hip hop stars coming in to perform. King Apparel, the short term 'pop-up store' (once they're gone, they're gone!) always does stuff big, even if its premises has limited space and has to spill out on to the street.

Wednesday evening saw 50% of the legendary hip hop due Gangstarr hit up the store to promote his new album, Lost and Found 8.0.

As forecast, the store was packed with fans coming for Guru's performance and album signing with the occasional passer by on the street seeing what all the racket was about.

They who ventured in were probably happy to know that all drinks were free thanks to the gig being sponsored by Tequila Arette, including hundreds of ice cold cocktails being poured... and lots of return visits to the drinks counter!

In fact, with all the people crammed in to the store there was hardly any space to move without spilling your drink, but within the tightly packed space, Guru and Solar managed to find the space to perform a few songs, including the classic You Know My Steez, short cuts from Lost and Found 8.0 and a few freestyles too before heading to the basement to sign copies of the new abum.

I managed to film the performances, although with only a humble camera phone at hand the volume of the speakers caused sound muffling. Sorry.

Fear not though, for if you missed it there were plenty photos taken. Keep your eye on the King Apparel Facebook group for when they emerge.

In the mean time you can sample the new album below:

Guru and Solar's website is

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Give it up for the family: Why La Familia's efforts will pay off soon

It's like waging war against yourself. Rather than Regional Conflict, you could call the finals of the world qualifiers 'civil conflict.' For the entire Soul Mavericks clan it looks like they are their own rivals. How can you be the best when you only have yourself to battle?

For myself, my predictions remained the same as every battle event Soul Mavericks enter, they would be the finalists. Why not, they're dope?

But at some point in the semi finals, the (figurative) angel and devil popped up on my shoulder to cop some of the action, and my support went out to the underdogs. If ever an 'underdog' becomes classified as a breed of canine it would be an aggressive beast with teeth bared and the scent of victory up its nose. Round its neck would be a collar with the name "La Familia" on it.

La Familia battle with a passion every time bringing creative and energetic routines to the floor only to have victory snatched from them at the very end, often by the Mavericks. It's happened twice this year (at events TooMuchFlavour has covered) including Breakin' Boundaries in March, and in the southern qualifers last month.

Perhaps it was the size of the venue for Regional Conflict South (the qualifiers) that gave a different atmosphere making me feel less engaged with the action, but some of the crews hoping to qualify didn't look up to the standard of the world's best crews they'll have to face in October at Brixton Academy.

My concern now is with only themselves to compete with, Soul Mavericks will get comfortable with their victories and relax. It's like running a race and slowing down as you reach the finish line only to be overtaken. Frustratingly, it's a mentality hard to override - every time England score a goal in the world up they relax, only to concede one because they thought the rival team wasn't on their level.

Best of luck to Soul Mavericks and Mavericks X aka Fresh 2 Death. Just remember, La Familia are always hot on your heels!

Also check out:
Soul Mavericks qualify for UK B-Boy Championships
News: Regional Conflict Finals UK 2009 (

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Dance Off Stays On The Hook...

Billed as a big night where music and dance come together, Dance Off should have been a huge success. But it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Nicky Short reports...

Boy Blue, Nike D-Clash, Ironik, Killa Kella, Kymberlee Jay… What a line up! ‘Dance off’ in Matter at the O2 on Thursday 26th June lacked nothing; hip hop dance heads would have been hard pressed to think of something missing. So why did the night stay firmly ON the hook?

Theories might include blaming it on the venue: Matter is cavernous and featureless with bleak, unfinished looking décor that looks as though the plasterers have been in but no one has painted. It started filling up from 8pm- preliminary rounds of the battles were held earlier in the day- but even at its fullest, it felt empty. That said, the floor and space were perfect for the sneaker touting dancers, the stage was a good height with Amphitheatre style benches so the usual urban event sight issues didn’t factor. The sound was good with Kiss 100’s Manny Norte banging out fresh tunes and classics. That would be enough to ensure success, surely?

The night even ran more or less on time with dance performances interspersed with music sets, culminating in the battles and Ironik’s show. D-clash executed their varied set to completely instrumental music, demonstrating their prolific skills in contemporary and urban styles including an exemplary head spin from b-girl, Lyra. They were let down by the unnecessary dry ice which masked them so thickly that it was only when they stepped through to take a bow that the MC realised ‘oh wow, they’re all ladies!’

DJ Yoda mixed music and video seamlessly and cleverly, including cuts, scratches and footage from Everybody Hates Chris, Kindergarten Cop and Only fools and Horses. The technical set up and some of the less mainstream musical and visual references kept the geeks happy and as the general crowd lost direct interest, circles opened up on the floor.

Everyone remained mesmerised throughout Boy Blue’s set, Kenrick lead his troupe through the piece with charisma, and the dancers and choreography were fierce.

Killa Kella was equally aggressive, with a silver set of teeth round his neck he sang, growled, beat boxed and spat into the mic. A very laid back DJ and eccentric drummer in a wig who twirled and mimed the flute on his sticks backed him up. The audience warmed up and those fans who had specifically come to see him got a great show but, as in the case of DJ Yoda, the set was a little long for the dancers to maintain interest and they eventually trickled back to their circles.

The battles brought the focus onto the floor which Kymberlee Jay hosted with ease. DJ Renegade provided the tunes for Lucky Track- where anything goes musically- and Bonnie and Clyde battles. In the semi finals of Lucky Track judges Kenrick, Babyson and Junior favoured Kofi’s explosive style over Swarf’s effortless footwork. Raoul took his time and incorporated wacking and locking against Bruno who flung off his towel and tipped into the circle with shades on. The judges were unanimous in favour of Raoul. The Bonnie and Clyde battle final saw UK duo Roxy and Mouse take on Smiles and Zero from the US. Team America was aggressive and powerful but in the end the home team with their effortless funk, Roxy’s headspin and double-jointed freeze won them the cash prize and Nike gear. The Lucky Track final didn’t deviate too far musically from the expected in any of the three rounds. Kofi went straight for the jugular with a slick windmill and demonstrated his musicality, creativity and eccentricity but in the end Raoul the cool won the day.

Junior and Babyson showcased some nice tricks, freestyles and commandos. His gorilla arms didn’t disappoint as she took care of the top rock and he performed the equivalent on his hands!

By this time the murmurs of a rumour had started to ripple around the audience, triggered by a distressed Suzette of D-Clash interrupting Kymberlee mid-host to show her a text message. By the time DJ Ironik took the stage the audience was distracted to the point he stopped the show to ask people to ‘please show some support for UK music’. How Ironik. Everyone will remember where they were the night Michael Jackson died. For many London dancers it will have been at an event that, despite genuine quality of talent, for various reasons lacked the hype it promised.
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