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Monday, 31 May 2010

#NewMusicMonday - Animaineax - Animaineax Fetish video by Tim Fok

This isn't officially a #NewMusicMonday release, but it is a music video and it does feature street dancers

It was filmed by a videographer named Tim Fok, who shot the Animaineax in just one day.


Choreography: Ryan 'Rynamo' Ramirez
Producers: Tim Fok, James Haddock, Alex Keyte

Animaineax Fetish

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Jay from Streetdance 3D: Ukweli Roach aka Quails / Quailbird

"Jay from Streetdance 3D" is the most popular search landing people on the site right now. Although, when you're bare chested on the poster of an international movie its hard not attract that sort of attention. (Read all of our Streetdance 3D blogs here)

People will want to know a little more about Ukweli Roach, or for those in dance, Quails from Birdgang (hint: all of Birdgang's dancers are named after a bird).

On the name tip, the closest translation of 'ukweli' to English comes from the Swahili word for 'truth.' Hopefully we can enlighten you with some truth about who he be. Details of his CV seem a little scarce on the internet, so we've done the research to save you time.

After seeing Ukweli as Jay in Streetdance 3D you might wonder about his career. Dancer? Actor? ... Model? Maybe all of the above?

Ukweli Roach (Jay) at Streetdance 3D DVD launch party premiere

For some, you might have even seen him perform without realising - most recently he was in Blaze: The Streetdance Sensation, which made its début worldwide at the Peacock Theatre before touring Europe, as well as appearing in earlier runs of Into The Hoods.

Ukweli has been dancing professionally since 18, and past jobs included dancing for Mariah Carey, Alexandra Burke and Kylie Minogue.

Ukweli also dances, choreographs and teaches for Birdgang, for which he is also one of the company directors. One example of his finest choreography includes Me and Mrs Jones:

The dancing doesn't stop at street, however. Ukeweli is also capable of tap (as showcased in Blaze), flamenco and Latin, singing in tenor and baritone, playing the trumpet at grade 6 level and speaking conversational Spanish.

While Streetdance 3D is Ukweli's first film, his acting resumé includes Shakespeare, having trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he attained a Bachelor of the Arts in acting.

Notable acting appearances whilst at RADA included playing Mr Grisby in The Importance of Being Earnest, Oedipus in Oedipus the King and Achilles in Troilus and Cressida. His Shakespeare performances have seen him grace the stage at The Globe in Helen and Romeo and Juliet.

There's plenty in store for Ukweli. Although a reputable international dancer and battler, his appearance in Streetdance 3D will open the opportunities for pursuing his acting career further, but will that mean leaving dancing behind?

Ukweli's next silver screen appearance is Venus and the Sun - a short film alongside Page 3 model Keeley Hazel and Will Smith (not the Fresh Prince one).

Keep up with Ukeweli on his YouTube

Read our review of Streetdance 3D

Facts are correct at time of publishing.
You can leave your comments/corrections in the box below.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Streetdance 3D cast interviews

Streetdance 3D interviews taken from the production notes with an emphasis on the street dance aspect.
Read our Streetdance 3D review here.

Nichola Burley (left) plays Carly, leader of the street dance troupe that must work with the ballet dancers to be in with a chance of winning the UK Street Dance Championships.
“Carly’s a very sweet girl, but she’s very driven by her dancing ambitions,” says Burley. “She’s not had the luckiest of upbringings but, nevertheless, she has always carried on doing it and it’s always driven her. She’s challenged a lot throughout the film and the exciting and inspiring thing about it is how she overcomes those challenges. Personally, I would be terrified at the thought of having to teach ballet students how to street dance. But she is actually stronger than even she realises. She just needs the encouragement to let that out. And, once she does, she ends up becoming the best that she can be. It’s all about her finding that inner strength, and finding out who she is.”
Carly’s best friend, and a source of much support throughout the film, is Shawna, played by Teneisha Bonner. “Shawna’s a loud mouth,” laughs Bonner. “Her day job is a hairdresser and she’s a straight talking, sassy, sexy kind of a girl. She says it the way it is.” One of the most fun parts about the character is Shawna’s outrageous look.
“She’s very colourful and loves big earrings and crazy wigs,” grins Bonner. “She’s got a wig for every day of the week so I actually wear about eight to ten wigs in the film. It’s a lot of fun playing someone like her.”

Bringing comic relief to the street dance crew are Mack and Boogie, the jokers of the pack.
“It’s really nice to work with a whole bunch of people that totally get you,” says Lex Milczarek, who plays Boogie. “Everyone’s so dedicated and hard working but, at the same time, everyone loves to have a laugh so we have a great time together. There are no egos on set. You do worry that, if you do films, you’re going to get stuck-up types; thespians or whatever. But everyone’s so chilled out and we get on really well. Which is great because we play a crew so we’re supposed to be like family.”

Bradley Charles, who plays Frankie, originally joined the project as assistant to Kenrick Sandy, the film’s street dance choreographer. “Kenrick and I were running the auditions when they saw me dance and asked me to audition for a role in the film,” Charles explains. “So I did a screen reading and a dance audition, then they offered me the role. It all happened by chance.
Frankie is one of the film’s more serious roles. He’s unhappy about Jay leaving the crew, and is extremely unsupportive of Carly’s attempts to take over as leader. “He feels that he would have been a better choice to lead the crew,” reveals Charles. “He gets in a huff about it, has a go at Carly and then leaves the crew. But he’s ambitious so he eventually comes back because he wants to win the competition.”

Frankie’s girlfriend is Steph, the role created for internationally renowned b-girl Steph Nguyen, who appeareed in Blaze: The Streetdance Sensation earlier this year.
“The character is basically me,” explains Steph. “Although the costumes are a little more sexy than I would normally wear! I wanted to be a part of this film because dance is my passion, it’s my life.”

Rounding off the street dance crew are Aimee (Sacha Chang) and Justine (Danielle 'Rhimes' Lecointe, also of the London Waacktitioners):
“Justine sings in the church choir and her mum thinks that she’s an angel,” explains Rhimes. “Little does she know that her Justine can be really bossy, with a big personality. The rest of the crew call her Big Justine.”

As for Aimee? “She’s basically a bit of a bitch,” laughs Chang. “She spends a lot of time bitching with Justine.”

Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson had the role of Eddie created especially for him.
“Eddie’s a lot like me,” he admits. “He’s quite cheeky and he really wants to be in Carly’s crew. He’s got a bit of a crush on her too. But, no matter how hard he tries to get involved, she says no.”
Eddie gets his chance to show what he can do on the dancefloor, despite Carly’s best efforts to prevent him.
“He doesn’t so much get his chance as make his chance,” says Sampson. “Not being biased, but he is the best character!”

Sampson had already worked with the directors, so he felt at home on set.
“Max and Dania directed my music video, Headz Up, last year,” he explains. “So they asked me to do a screen test to see if I could act and, luckily, they thought I could. This is my first film and I’d love to do more. I’m so excited to be involved with this because it’s the first British dance movie.”

George Sampson - Headz Up video

Sampson cites his inspiration as not only the usual suspects of Usher and Justin Timberlake, but also his childhood dance teacher. “His name was Swanny and he was my biggest inspiration,” says Sampson. “He has passed away now, but it was him that made me want to do it. He was in one of the first break-dancing crews that danced in Manchester’s Hacienda in the 1980s. It’s because of him that my style is quite old

Rhimes is extremely excited about the emerging popularity of street dance in the UK and thinks that Sampson’s springboard, Britain’s Got Talent, is partly responsible.
“Britain’s Got Talent is watched and voted for by not just the kind of people that you would expect to be into street dance, but by normal British people sitting at home on a Saturday night.” she says. “Dance has a wider appeal now because it has evolved, it’s got younger. And it’s entertaining for people. For me, it’s a passion. I teach a lot of young people and I’m always telling them, if you’re going to do this, it has to be from your heart.
And, as the passion grows, people inspire each other. A lot of films about young people in Britain are all about the ghetto and knives and guns. But we’ve come into this industry trying to inspire young people to be ambitious about something.”

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Choreographing Streetdance 3D

A selection from the Streetdance 3D production notes with an emphasis on the street dance aspect.
Read our Streetdance 3D review here.

“I had met Kate Prince soon after her show Into The Hoods,” explains Richardson, producer of Streetdance 3D. “I loved the show and wanted her and Kenrick Sandy involved from the start. The idea was for Kenrick to cover the key street dance scenes, while the ballet would be overseen by Will Tuckett, an internationally renowned ballet dancer and choreographer who Kate Prince brought in, best known for his work with The Royal Ballet and films such as the acclaimed Channel 4 series Ballet Hoo. Then Kate would be responsible for the other scenes: all the dance storytelling and the finale when the two dance forms are fused.”

Kate Prince, who is the founder of ZooNation UK dance company and recently choreographed So You Think You Can Dance for the BBC, knew that working on her first film would throw up some new and exciting challenges.
“Working with non-dancers was by far the greatest challenge,” she says. “And the 3D element was very new for me. I had to think about the camera shots and what moves would come out of the camera more.”

Kenrick Sandy established Boy Blue Entertainment in 2001, along with his friend Mikey Asante, when they realised there was a hunger for dance in East London.
“It was never an ambition to create a company,” he explains. “It was more to facilitate our love for dance, and other people’s love for dance.”

Since then, Sandy has seen how street dance has transformed the lives of the young people he has worked with.
“Dance enables people to be stronger characters,” he says. “Whether people dance as a career or as a hobby, they take away a sense of discipline and enhanced self-esteem from dancing, and they’re able to apply that to other areas of their lives. We show people how to express themselves and allow themselves to let go.”

Sandy was excited about the project from the moment James Richardson approached him with the idea. “This is the very first UK street dance film,” he grins. “America has had lots of them so, for me, it felt important to be involved in it. I’m happy that it’s happened, even more so because the market for dance has grown ridiculously. It’s coming out in the right year, at the right time, when dancers are getting more exposure. Plus, it’s an opportunity to show how different styles of dance are actually very similar to each other. When you think of street dance, you think of working class kids on the street and youth centres. With ballet, you think of the upper classes. And what this film shows is that, ultimately, dance is dance. We’re all the same. It’s about breaking down those boundaries.”

Nichola Burley as a street dancer 
Sandy admits that, at first, he was wary about working with Nichola Burley, who had previously had no street dance training.
“I thought Nichola was a very big gamble,” he says. “As the main character, she had to be top class in dance. So I told her to come down to all my sessions and classes before we started rehearsals for the film. She was always there, at the back, training with the Boy Blue dancers. She even did a performance with us at Hackney Empire because I wanted her to understand what it’s like to be in front of an audience. She felt the pressure because she’s the main girl so she was worried about letting everyone down. There were quite a few times she felt like giving up and there were tears. But I was not playing. I told her: ‘Stop crying. You’re the star. Even at your lowest, your troupe cannot see you like this.’ I had to speak to her numerous times on set. But, by the end, people will be surprised to know that she wasn’t a dancer before this. I’m really proud of her.”

Ballet vs Boy Blue?

Will Tuckett has worked with some of the best ballet dancers in the world, but he was still blown away when he saw the street dancers do their thing.
“I’ve been in dance for a long time, as a career, and it’s rare that you sit there and a grin comes across your face because you can’t quite believe what somebody’s actually doing in front of you,” he says, in awe. “They were just extraordinary and, not only that, but they were completely lovely.”

Was he tempted to try out a few of the street dance moves? “I did try,” he laughs, “but I looked like a tit. I’m past 40 now, and that’s the age I should have stopped trying to do that kind of dancing.”

In an echo of the film’s plot, the two experts in very different styles of dance forged an unlikely bond. “Kenrick is a total dude,” laughs Tuckett. “He’s annoyingly good-looking, really cool and basically all the things that I wish I could be but never will. I wear tweed and generally look like a bit of a git. Then he comes in, all laidback and softly spoken. And, when he starts dancing, he’s a complete knockout. Also, he’s incredibly positive and never loses his cool.”

But it won’t be the last that the two choreographers see of each other.
“Kenrick and I have been talking about working together again, which was totally unexpected,” says Tuckett. “It would be lovely to do something else with him. And if I hadn’t have done this film, with its whole hybrid dance element, then we would never have crossed paths. It was a fantastic experience.”

Richard Winsor - Ballet boy to breaker
“There’s a scene where I do a bit of breaking, which I have never done before in my life,” he laughs.

“It’s actually given me a passion for it. The music is so gripping. When you have that beat on really loud, you can’t not move. Obviously I’m not the best street dancer, but I can see why people become really passionate about it. Working on this film has completely transformed my view of street dance. I mean, I’ve always loved watching that kind of dance, and acts like Diversity or Flawless, but actually being part of it and learning about the history and origins of it. It’s been a real pleasure.”

For all the ballet dancers’ hard work, Jennifer Leung, who plays Bex, admits that she was impressed by the dedication of the street dancers.
“Street dance is very technical,” she remarks. “It’s actually more similar to ballet than you might think, because both styles are about strength and discipline. The street dancers were constantly working out and practising in between takes. Then there’s me, Sianad and Rachel sitting around drinking cups of tea and eating biscuits!”

Friday, 21 May 2010

Streetdance 3D - a few words on writing a bad review

I'm sleeping with one eye open tonight. I wrote the review for Streetdance 3D the other day having watched the film twice - I'm the only critic that will put myself watching a film twice before I  know I'm happy with my opinion - and a little bit of me is afraid I'll lose all the friends and contacts I've spent the past two years trying to accumulate!

That's why I asked Kymberlee Jay, someone in dance in the position to provide an opinion, to accompany me to one of the screenings... but she was busy.

There are so many dancers in the film, either as main cast, supporting groups (dancing in the background or used for routine shots) or as extras. It was choreographed by the best choreographers in the country (Will Tuckett, Kenrick Sandy, Kate Prince - you'll recognise the latter two from their choreography credits for Pied Piper and Into the Hoods, as well as So You Think You Can Dance).

Lots of dancers were excited about seeing themselves in it. Fair do, those people are now part of UK film history and walked up the red carpet at Leicester Square, greeted by a crowd of paparazzi. But regardless of what the feeling is inside the community of street dance, I still think critics will pan it, and that's what worries me... you guys will hate me for being honest!

It's difficult when you're part of a project so big, so unique, to see its faults. All of the groups are hyped about being part of it, the press interviews features dancers smiling and talking about how fortunate they are to be involved in the project, but Streetdance 3D still manages to fall under the category of cheesy teenage romance bundled in street credibility and marketed at teenagers. If it wasn't, then why does is it all centred around a soundtrack featuring N-Dubz, Chipmunk and, wait for it... Pixie Lott?

Worried about coming across wrongly, I had the review proof read to make sure it didn't get too personal. Y'all know our dancers look dope - the dance scenes were what the film was all about! My problem with it isn't the people in it, but the way it's been produced and scripted (Jane English, the films writer is the write for Channel 4's Sugar Rush). As the flagship for UK street dance films, it should have done better. Maybe then it'll fare against Step Up 3D when it's released.

I asked what Simeon Qsyea who appeared in the film as himself and is founder and choreographer of Birdgang with Ukweli 'Quails' Roach who plays the part of Jay (do you remember him from Blaze?), what he thought. Having read the script months before the film went into production he said it was exactly what he expected.

I've one key person in street dance on my side. Out of many. It still leaves me avoid eye contact answering dancers who were involved in the film what they though!
I know the review I wrote for Streetdance 3D might not be everyone's cup of tea, but you have to remember, for dancers making the transition to the mainstream you're playing by someone else's rules.

I'd love to hear what you think. You can leave your comments about Streetdance 3D using the comments box below

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Regional Conflict South 2010 results

Below are the results from the Regional Conflict South 2010 in order to win a place in the UK B-Boy Championships finals in October.

Full results of all the rounds (including qualifiers up to the semis) will be posted tomorrow on the main site - add our Facebook page to be notified.

Winners of each round are highlighted in bold.
Semi finals:
Trinity Warriors v Killer Ragz
La Familia v Foundationz

La Familia vs Trinity Warriors

Third place qualifier:
Foundationz v Killer Ragz

Friday, 14 May 2010

Video: Flawless dance at Streetdance 3D premiere

Here's the video of Flawless performing on the red carpet at the Streetdance 3D premiere:

Unfortunately I arrived too late to see it, but thanks to Pearl and Dean it's on YouTube for all to watch.
There's also a cameo from Akai who, well, slightly kills it.

It leaves me wondering - where was Diversity's performance? Hmm.

Flawless official website

Markus the Sadist promo videos

In case you hadn't noticed, over on the site we're running promotions for Jonzi D Productions' show Markus the Sadist (read review), which is returning to the Bloomsbury Theatre next week - why, you can even buy tickets through us!

Anyway, in the run up to this run of the show, Bashy (as the character of Markus!) and the promoters hit the streets of London to take advantage of people's good nature and highlight the show's satire.
In the show, Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas plays the lead role of Markus, a talented emcee that sells his soul for fame and wealth... and all the stereotypes that go together with hip hop these days - American slang, gloryifying guns, and, as you'll see in the videos, pants saggin'!

Markus the Sadist promo videos:

Somehow they even managed to corner a bemused X-Factor contestant Duane Flames before he caught a tube.

These are some of the most ridiculous (and funniest) show promos I've seen, and they reflect the nature of the show exactly. If you haven't seen it yet, the dates for the limited run are 17-20 May.

To read the interview I did with Bashy, and find out why we're excited about Markus the Sadist,head over to the site.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Competition Good Hair Chris Rock Screening

To celebrate the release of Good Hair which comes out in cinemas 25 June, we are proud to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive screening of Good Hair before anyone else gets to see it!

An exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, Good Hair visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of the black community.

Director Jeff Stilson follows Chris Rock on this raucous adventure prompted by Rock's daughter approaching him and asking, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"

Check out the Good Hair Facebook page for more details:

To be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to the screening which will be at a London venue on the 21 May 2010, just answer the following question correctly:

When does Good Hair release in cinemas?

A) 25th June
B) 25th July
C) 25th August

Send answers with your contact details to

Closing date Wednesday 19 May - you must be available on Friday 21 May

Monday, 10 May 2010

Streetdance 3D premiere press night

Right now I'm on my way to see Thursday premiere for Streetdance 3D. Leicester Square, red carpet, press huddle. Celebrities?

Streetdance 3D trailer

This is exciting. Streetdance was never meant to get this big, but then it started winning Britain's Got Talent several years in a row. A group of film directors got together, drafted up a script and its been in production for the past few months. Pow.

There's two ways its going to go. It's great some of UK's best dancers are on screen. Same time, everyone's going to have to sacrifice a little piece of their soul so the film can be marketed to the mainstream.

It's also aimed at a teen audience. How are critics going to rate it? Will the storyline be any good, or typical of other movies? And how will it look in 3D?

Look a little closer at the poster: Kenrick Sandy and Kate Prince assisted in choreographing it. Even if it doesn't hit our readership perfectly, at least the dancing will look dope. Right?

In the name of being balanced and objective, after tonight's premiere I intend to let you know, striving to cover as much of what makes up the film as well as the film itself...

#NewMusicMonday - Matisyahu - One Day video plus Akon Remix download

Mitisyahu - One Day

Watch the One Day video above above, or...

Grammy-nominated artist Matisyahu will release ‘Light’ on 21st June (100% Records), produced by David Kahne and featuring Stephen McGregor, Sly & Robbie, members of Fishbone and more.

Light which debuted in the top 20 on the US charts, finds the Hasidic Jewish musician from Crown Heights, Brooklyn displaying his one-of-a-kind voice in a variety of diverse genres, moving through his familiar reggae-soul stylings to dancehall, ska-inflected new wave, pop-rock and acoustic folk. Matisyahu blends infectious melodies and intricate production with classic messages of hope, peace and understanding to create a sound that is undeniably his own.

Produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor, Sublime), Light was recorded and mixed in Jamaica, New York, Los Angeles and Virginia. More recently, Matisyahu cut two more tracks with producer Dave McCracken and the Smeezintons. Of those two, One Day will be the first single from Light. It is an anthemic classic reggae track, showcasing Matisyahu's prolific lyrics and passionate vocals. In addition Matisyahu has re-recorded One Day with heavyweight R&B star Akon as a bonus track.

Several guest artists contributed to the record: son of legendary reggae artist Freddie McGregor and one of Jamaica's most innovative producers Stephen McGregor, ground-breaking Jamaican reggae rhythm section Sly & Robbie, noted production team Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch of Fyre Dept. and Fish and Norwood Fisher of the L.A. alt-punk-ska band Fishbone. Jamaican nyabinghi drummers Delroy Williams as Putus Roots, Samuel Count Ossie “Time” Williams and Nambo Robinson and experimental turntablist Ooah from the Glitch Mob, amongst others, also contributed to Light. Track number 8 from the album On Nature is now available for free download from Matisyahu’s site

Matisyahu emerged in 2004 with his debut album Shake Off the Dust…Rise. With the release of Live at Stubb's (2005), which reached #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, and Youth (2006), which debuted at #4 on Billboard's Top 200 and reached #1 on the Reggae Albums chart, Matisyahu gained considerable critical acclaim. Both albums subsequently went gold in the US and ‘Youth’ was nominated for a Grammy for Best Reggae Album.

Monday, 3 May 2010

#NewMusicMonday - Akala - Yours and My Children

AKALA - Yours And My Children

Over the last few years Kingslee ‘Akala’ Daley, 26, has emerged from London’s hip hop underground and into the mainstream as one of the leaders of a new British artistic renaissance. Bursting into the underground scene in 2004, he made history by being the first unsigned artist to have a video appear on MTV UK’s ‘TRL’. 2006 saw his first album It’s Not A Rumour drop with trance-sampling smash single Shakespeare being play-listed and championed on BBC’s Radio 1 via the support of influential DJ, Zane Lowe.
The album received critical acclaim and earned Akala the ‘Best Hip Hop Artist’ award at the 2006 MOBO awards, beating Kanye West. Reflecting the disorder and flux of contemporary life, Akala’s second album Freedom Lasso was an energetic visionary essay on modern life, drawing influences from the whole spectrum of music – rap, rock, electro, punk and folk. Summer 2010 see’s Akala return, poised to flip-turn the UK music scene once again with his third effort.

DoubleThink is the incredible new album from Britain’s acclaimed hip hop artist, Akala, released nationwide on 3rd May 2010.

DoubleThink documents harrowing moments of city life: in Yours and My Children, a track reflecting three months Akala spent in Brazil he talks about Favela children being killed by police. But Akala's unquenchable appetite for intricate wordplay and his teacher's instinctive awareness that heavy topics need to be got across lightly mean that, despite the often serious points, the record is an affirmative and often explosively joyful experience.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Breakin Convention video diary 5 - Film night and introduction to the performers

Friday was the Breakin' Convention 2010 film night, although throughout the day the acts had been arriving at Sadler's Wells from around the world. It's the last night the team will have before things start getting hectic...

Throughout the day, Jonzi D caught up with Adiaspora Collective, Phase T, Spread Expression, Hilty and Bosch and Suga Pop to get them to introduce themselves...

For more information on Breakin' Convention 2010, visit

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