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Monday, 21 September 2009

Bounce criticisms holding back hip hop theatre?

This blog is linked to our review of Insane In The Brain

The prejudice I came across researching facts for the Insane In The Brain review saddened me, seeing how people can judge a book by its cover (or a play by it's poster), until I realised maybe it's not so bad!

As my co-writer Archie once commented at a public hip hop event "the place is full of archetypal stereotypes who have no interest in what they're watching, only interested in being cultured and having an opinion on things."

Unfortunately it's these archetypal stereotypes that are holding back hip hop theatre, as well as putting theatres like Sadler's Wells under (indirect) scrutiny for trying to push progressive dance forward. We're not all Diversity clones!

Let's take a look at a few prejudices by outspoken Twitter users:
@samranger Wait it is a "Live street DANCE version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" title still: "Insane in the Brain". Still appalled.
@ereuben Saw ad on the tube for "Insane In The Brain," a street-dance version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. I need lithium & a passport STAT
@SaliWho I love One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest & hip hop, so why does this sound like horrific theatrical hell?
Good to see freedom of speech, of course, but shouldn't these people at least give it a chance before judging it?

Hip hop shows that have made it to theatre land in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, seem to induce headaches to couch critics, ie, the above Twitters, why can't they recognise that the top three shows we've had: Into The Hoods, Pied Piper (read review) and Insane In The Brain (read review) are all based on classical texts which their oh-so-educated selves probably studied at school? Boy Blue winning an Olivier Award for Pied Piper? The educated archetypal stereotype should be buying block bookings with an accreditation like that!

As far as Twitter is concerned though, the meaningless ramblings of the 'ignorantly educated' shouldn't tarnish Insane In The Brain's reputation. Obviously I felt passionately that people shouldn't pre-judge something that even I hadn't seen before. That was until I realised they're the ones missing out!

Insane In The Brain has been seen by over 100,000 people since it started in 2006. It goes without saying, that's a lot of people! And while I could worry about what a handful of people have to say about something they're too judgemental to see, it's me, not them, that's having a great night at the theatre while discovering another innovative twist on a classic tale.

My advice to those that overlook street dance because they believe Diversity are a low standard example (and the Twitterers in question will be notified of this blog) is to go out and buy yourself tickets to any of the shows I mentioned above and let your hair down.

Here's what people thought of Insane In The Brain on the first night:

Yes, I'm passionate about street dance, but do I jump to the same conclusion when I see a poster for ballet? No! In fact, I'm even toying with the idea of getting tickets to see Carlos Acosta in December! Open your eyes to other cultures around you, don't be so ignorant, guys!

1 comment:

  1. Jesus, who's prejudiced? You're writing off 35 million twitter users because some aren't sold on the idiotic idea of raping a classic text with hip hop music and street dancing?

    Hip hop is (has been) good. As far as dance goes, street dancing is something I don't enjoy, but appreciate.

    Sticking the two together is fine. It fits. Sticking them together with a great novel about the ages, a specific period of time, an individual person's state of mind is just bizarre.

    Whatever your points are, Cuckoo's Nest is a personal text, as well as a document of a unique time in our modern culture.

    It is not, NOT, ballet vs. street dancing.

    So shove your baggy FUBU jeans up your arse and go fuck your Timberlands boots.


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