Finalists announced for Hip Hop Dance Award

  • Kwame Asafo-Adjei, Julia Cheng, Juan Gaviria and Chris Reyes have been selected as the finalists for the first Hip Hop Dance Award supported by The Arts Foundation, a charity which supports UK based talent across the Arts.
    The four were selected from a longlist of dancers nominated by practitioners & producers from around the country. The criteria included all forms of street dance focusing on those breaking boundaries with the artform to create their particular style and method of working.

    The Finalists represent an amazing array of talent in the sector; Kwame Asafo-Adjei work explores black identity and history through hip hop movement and physical story-telling, challenging the stereotypes of the genre as well as tackling social and political subjects. Julia Cheng's captivating work with her collective of largely female artists are at the cutting edge of jazz, poetry, dance and tech. She recently has been involved in exploring wearable tech and how it can create sound scores through movement. Juan Gaviria (pictured) is 'the general' of Soul Mavericks who have helped put the UK on the map for breaking by winning multiple competitions internationally as well as nurturing a new crew of superstars in the making. And finally Chris Reyes whose work is now central to developing the hip hop dance theatre sector with his unique jazz/live/social mix and highlighting the importance of understanding the social context behind such work.
    An eminent panel presided over the applications comprised of Delia Barker, dance specialist and programmes director at the Roundhouse; Benji Reid, one of the UKs pioneer of hip hop theatre and culture and Kenrick Sandy MBE, award-winning dancer, choreographer, teacher, actor and co-founder/artistic director of the legendary Boy Blue Entertainment.
    All the finalists will receive £1,000 with the exception of one who will be awarded the £10,000 fellowship. This will be announced at the AFFAs (Arts Foundation Futures Awards) at the ICA on the 28th January at the ICA along with the results from the four other artforms; poetry, experimental architecture, visual arts and designer-makers.
    The decision to include Hip Hop Dance was due in part to an article in 2017 in Arts Professional which stated that in addition to no conservatoires offering educational training to hip hop or street dance artists, that practitioners ‘are unable to access commissions and large scale profiling because their work isn’t seen as equal to that of other dance genres.’
    Over the past 25 years The Arts Foundation has given over £1.7m to individual artists from across the spectrum of the Arts with the aim of buying them time away from commissions to allow them sit, think, imagine, plan and be rigorous in creating ideas and begin to develop future work. For more info on the artists : http://www.artsfoundation.co.uk/content/2019-shortlist