Collaborative Forum For Hip Hop and Circus Artists
Friday 25 November 2016
During the run up to the 2017 Healthier Dancer Programme conference, Mind the Gap: Train Smart, Improve Performance in Hip Hop and Circus, One Dance UK and partners Stratford Circus Arts Centre and East London Dance had been working closely with a knowledgeable, passionate and committed steering group to develop conference content. However, during this development, discussions with artists in both circus and hip hop indicated the need to open up the discussion more widely in preparation for such a ground-breaking conference. On 25 November 2016, artists, healthcare professionals and researchers in hip hop and circus arts were called to attend a free collaborative forum to open conversation.
This forum provided a valuable opportunity for artists to build into the planning process what they needed in order to achieve their performance goals, as well as a place to share their experience of the relationship between performance and health, and to address the ever-present issue of injury. Hip hop dancers were invited to fill in this survey to let us know about their experiences of injury.
So why bring circus and hip hop together for this event? The initial interest came as a result of conversations with artists about the diversity of demands performers face in these highly physical movement genres. In both, there is a multitude of constantly evolving styles, where individuality and innovation are artists’ trademarks. In these environments, training and movements pass between artists, or are specifically created depending on an artist’s individual skills or style. This results in a diversity of movement styles which each carry intense physical demands on artists’ bodies, and where success relies on pushing physical and artistic boundaries and calculating risks and challenges.
Key themes from the forum included discussions on training, dance spaces, and the challenges of rehabilitation.