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ancestral trauma and me

So pleased to announce the must read article published today in Black Ballad by Dr Michelle Nyangereka. Dr Nyangereka is a mother, a counselling psychologist, filmmaker, SIN Cru collaborator, and bestie. She was lead consultant on Fly No Filter’s Only When Its Feathers are Grown, and instrumental in helping Artistic Director Lucy retrace the steps of her descent. This article is an excellent launchpad from which to start a personal investigation into what the descent means to you, how far you are prepared to look, and in turn, the unrushed beginning of healing.

Dr Nyangereka is making a documentary about other black women’s experiences of the descent. If you would like to contribute, please email contact@drmichelle.co.uk

‘we have art in order not to die of the truth,’ Nietzsche

‘All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.’ James Baldwin.

Ashley Banjo, Artistic Director of Diversity has been accused of telling a story with bias, of inciting violence against the police, using mainstream TV for his own agenda, of glamourising without empathy the death of a man. A black man, George Floyd.

Diversity are arguably the UKs most successful commercial street dance entity and became household names since winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. They returned to the show at the start of September to present their Black Lives Matter piece. The performance was an emotional and provocative commentary on current affairs, opening with COVID and transitioning to, in Ashley’s voice, “something more sinister. Another disease deep rooted in our system. Fear, hate, ignorance, but racism was the symptom.” Ashley has been bludgeoned across social media by racist complaints, scrutiny over the intentions of his choreography, and protests to ITV about what should be allowed prime time slots. Exactly the reason why work like the Diversity Black Lives Matter piece is a necessary addition to peak time viewings.

SIN Cru are joining the reams of praise and support that has also inundated Diversity amongst the negativity, and in the words of Pablo Picasso, would like to ask, ‘what do you think an artist is? He is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.’

stuntgal for superstardom

we are so tremendously proud and excited to be sharing the news that JNR Sinstar alumni, Lara Stuntgal Ciulli has been offered a place to study at Philippe Gaulier‘s prestigious theatre clowning school in Étampes, Paris. In Lara’s own words, ‘this is a truly once in a lifetime opportunity’ and she will be heading out to Paris to start this very big next stage of her life in October.

Lara explains what brought her to L’école Philippe Gaulier.

Having spent this last year reading, and watching more theatre than ever before, and having a lot of time to reflect on the future of the industry and how I want to create within that, I began looking into the teaching of Philippe Gaulier, French master clown, pedagogue, professor of theatre, a man described as ‘one of today’s most influential and revolutionary theatre masters’. His teaching method seems extreme and unique – this idea of revelling in the joy of being on stage, uncomfortable, ridiculous, finding the game – le jeu, in everything you do and allowing that to be the door into any emotion you play. I’ve realised that this is exactly what I want to be doing.

Lara has spent the last two years working to save money for this move and with support left to her by her grandad, she is able to pay the course fees. Her main concern now is to cover her rent and living expenses in the first term whilst she looks for a part time job. And this readers, is where we can get involved – donate donate donate and lets help turn dreams into reality. SIN Cru are a million percent behind Lara’s campaign and cannot think of a more deserving or suitable young artist to join Philippe Gaulier. Please click here for the gofundme link. Lara thanks you in advance, from the heart and will keep donors updated with performances and news of her studies.

welcome to the new world

wg people. As much as I am hoping for an Indian summer, autumn is nudging the periphery. Schools are opening and the start of the new academic year is upon us, masked and two metres apart. Drawing from the success of our Participate Digital pilot, next week sees the launch of our autumn programme. We are running two of our most popular courses in short four week blocks: Tuesday 8th sees the return of Cease and Settle, Wednesday 9th welcomes back Breakin’. Both courses take place over ZOOM so you can access us on the move, in the garden, from your living rooms, wherever you and wifi are in the world. Check our education page for more info and click here to book.

SIN Cru’s 7 Tips to Learn Smarter

  1. Find the right teachers for you
  2. Create a strong foundation
  3. Gain first hand, real life experience
  4. Be OK with making mistakes
  5. Ask questions
  6. Learn your subject history and context
  7. Remember why you started

experiments in time and space

Khagen is an emerging dance artist from Manchester. As a new generation Bboy from the north of England, he brought a variety of different perspectives and reference points to the company. This year is all about drawing back to history and tradition, and taking those lessons and inspirations into blue sky thinking to create new work which is responsive to now, to propel us with glamour at a jaunty angle, into the next quarter of a century.

From Khagen mad-fer-it Big Dawg:

Having recently completed all aspects of the Back to the Future #SINCru25 project, I’m pleased with the outcome. Overall I enjoyed taking part in the project in the role of ‘Big Dawg’, which included rehearsing for battles and for the video, Back to the Future – an experiment in time and space.

The #SINCru25 project was demanding as it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was expected to create and set routines and movements for performing, which was different for me as I freestyle a lot in all of my performances. However I enjoyed the challenge of devising and choreographing material as it allowed me to develop more consistency when planning and executing my rounds.

During this project I learned various new footwork steps and variations that I could develop in my space. As I was limited to my living room, it was not appropriate for me to perform big power moves, which consequently forced me to develop more floorwork patterns and transitions, with the help of SIN Cru.

I enjoyed the experience of entering online battles, which otherwise I would not have done if it wasn’t for this project. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of working in a 2v2 with a battle partner who was in a different location, which allowed us to consider ways to exceed in the battle by using the online platform to our advantage when making routines and commandos.

The least enjoyable part of the project was due to the limitations in place because of COVID-19. This meant I was unable to meet the rest of the company until very late on in the project, and it was particularly difficult trying to battle to my strengths whilst also bound by the impracticalities of my living room.

Ultimately I very much enjoyed the project and I am grateful to SIN Cru for allowing me to be a part of it. I look forward to future plans ✌🏾🤟🏾

commendable and engaging

Now I don’t profess to be an active member of the Bboy scene – although I do have a history of support for and involvement with SIN Cru – but I do know a commendable and engaging Hip Hop Festival when I see one.

I joined the Urban SINfonie pre-party with LadyBFine and TrebLRek and I was instantly connected.  The old school tunes got me grooving in the kitchen while being entertained by the DJ pair donning vibrant hats complement of Kangol, and sweatshirts from FullyDipped Gold.  The reams of archive footage was an entertaining watch compered by the knowlegeable and perfectly toned presenter Ben Eastwood,  and is testament to the strong history of SIN Cru.  It was a major treat to listen to Ken Swift from his LA studio, superbly interviewed by Ill Boogs – both legends in their own right.  Having this pair show up provided huge gravitas and is evidence of their respect for SIN Cru.  The panel interviews explored the ever evolving nature of this arts scene, and the online battles were exciting and simply accessed.  I was proud of SIN Cru for pushing the boundaries.  To be able to watch a live battle featuring crews from Vietnam and Switzerland all from the comfort of your own home – I was infact cooking Sunday dinner – was a new experience and for me it was the ability to invite my friends on Facebook to join me in a Watch Party that made it so dynamic.  Usually you are at an event and wish others were with you.  This time I could invite anyone to join me instantly.

I feel really proud of Lucy whom I have known for over 25 years.  I feel privileged to have witnessed the evolvement and growth of SIN Cru.  The culmination of 25 years celebrated in the Urban SINfonie online festival proves the huge journey travelled and is an inspiration to the arts world.

Mrs F. Brown

Assistant Headteacher, Bishop Ullathorne Catholic School

Sinstar Original ❤️

we don’t need roads

Supported by Arts Council England, as part of SIN Cru’s 25th anniversary celebrations, Fly No Filter endeavoured to create a new piece of dance theatre.  Since reppin for the ladies in 1999, after ten years as a JNR Sinstar, two years on the eOTo scheme, and battling Ill Boogs for a spot in the Sinstars Bboy crew nine years ago, Bgirl RascElle finally joined the Fly No Filter company line up.  Live and direct after returning from four years in Vietnam, welcome to her words.

Taking us right ‘Back to the Future’ we entered the land of the online.  Due to the villainous COVID-19, the latest Fly No Filter project had to be altered and adapted to meet regulations.  This proved new and challenging for us all.  We were directed to train and share through the ZOOM master and other media platforms.  As we focused on performance and battle, there were many new concepts we had to work with, for instance, losing direct human response, and judging that through the virtual world.  Entering battles online gave us the opportunity to compete not only nationally but internationally from the comfort of our own homes, to a much larger audience.  This was an amazing opportunity but also tough when it came to the dreadful buffering, lagging, and dodgy WIFI.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into my body and working on all my foundation and fundamentals with professional directors and new artists.  Throughout the project I received top inspiration, drills, technique and friendship.  Aside from watching the brilliantly edited performance pieces we’d developed, and making it through to the finals at an international battle, for me the biggest finale was being able to meet and train together as a company in person for the last session.  This is just the start of the adventure.  Roads, where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

 

positivity during hardship and uncertainty

the twenty five years of seeding, watering, weeding, raking, watering, deadheading, playing gentle choral music, whispering, watering and watering of SIN Cru to arrive at today has always been a team effort.  SIN Cru stands for Strength In Numbers, we are a product of Hip Hop culture, and as per, have our roots firmly earthed in the community, with family values and sensibilities.  Over the years SIN Cru has been proud and humbled by the sense of familial support, especially that of the JNR Sinstars and their peoples.  Our blog today comes from JNR Sinstar, Able-C’s mum, as she wrote, ‘to be put in the drawer for later…  hoping it may be helpful’

I wanted to write to say what a fantastic 25th anniversary celebration SIN Cru created.  The Urban SINfonie festival was incredibly well done, and I would have expected nothing less from SIN Cru.  There was a smorgasbord of livestream workshops, music, dance battles, and a large number of examples of friendship, respect for one another no matter who you are and where you come from, highlighting the positive strength of the Hip Hop community.

The whole family could get involved in one or more of the livestreams.  My son especially enjoyed creating his submission for the Hip Hop Karaoke and all of us loved watching the archive footage of the crew from the past.  The life experiences shared in the panel discussions were incredible.  The careful curating and choice of panel participants allowed us to see first hand the remarkable contribution, passion, and energy that all SIN Cru members have given over the years.  Archive footage revealed the many young people who have been nurtured and encouraged to find their inner strength and confidence, making a huge impact on positive life direction.  So many of the SIN Cru students have gone on to work in the dance or music industry, or vocations where they have transferred SIN Cru values of inner strength, leadership, resilience, physical and mental wellbeing, and kindness towards others.

The livestreams made it evident how positive and strong role modelling can be when combining children and young people, many from very challenging home backgrounds, with hip hop dance and music.  The sense of community and an acceptance for who you are, combined with the quality role models from SIN Cru and older dance peers, are a powerful recipe to support students in reaching their full potential.

At this time of uncertainty, and the severed ability for young people in our community to access their usual activities and social groups, Urban SINfonie was an important event, particularly for the young, allowing them to see people they admire and look up to, all smiling, joking, exercising, imparting ideas of wellbeing, maintaining a positive mindset and practising important good life habits through Hip Hop culture.

Through the livestream discussions between many of the founders of SIN Cru and those people who have spanned decades in the Hip Hop scene, the children and young people could see first hand, adults maintaining long term friendships from around the world, built on a deep respect and a shared passion for Hip Hop culture.

I wanted to express my hope that there will be scope for SIN Cru to continue to provide similar sessions on a regular basis, so that the younger members of our community have a chance for a positive focus which is crucial for mental and physical wellbeing, particularly at this time of widespread hardship and uncertainty.

thankyou thankyou and zimzimma

Urban SINfonie online festival is done.  Supreme thankyou to:

all our virtual audiences, Linda’s fanclub,

Ken Swift, Geo, Mr Margaret Scratcher, DJ Marshy, LadyBFine, Prone, Brad Baloo and Dom Search from The Nextmen, Sun Sun, Lil’Tim, Ed at Grounded UK, Sheku and Justice, Big South, No Half Stepping, Khagen and RascElle, Force 10, Positive Mindforce, Willexic and Twista, Clean North, Ill Boogs, Pervez, Viv, Dr Lise Smith, Killa Kela, Cutmaster Swift, Lauren Lozza Stewart, Stuntgal, Able_C, Ruby, Sideshow Maule, Darien and Scarlett, DancePlanner, Clare, Ernie E Double, Fly Cai, Chi Boogie, Mikey Cee, Ben Eastwood, Meta Phil, and Linda.  VideoSuite Ltd, Menno-Leisure, Truffle Shuffle, Thames and Hudson, FullyDipped, The Big Yellow Self Storage, Break it Down, Funko, Kangol, and Arts Council England

we are now off to return some videotapes,

Reilly, James, and Lucy ✌🏽✌🏾💕✌️

2 on 2 battle qualifiers

Urban SINfonie battle qualifications are now underway.  We are accepting submissions over Instagram.  There are three simple steps to submit:

  1. Click through to the Urban SINfonie event page and download one of our DJ’s prelim tracks for free
  2. Make a video to the track with your chosen 2 on 2 partner
  3. Upload your video to your Instagram using the hashtags #UrbanSINfonie2020 and #SINCru25, tag your partner and @SIN_Cru so we can find it

Top 8 will be chosen on July 1st to go through to battle rounds on 18th – 19th July.

Online comps aren’t for everyone.  The lack of physical interaction, no energy from a crowd… but this is a product of the times.  We are creating opportunities for dancers to connect, collaborate, and share with each other, and more reasons to keep their skills sharp.  It’s easy to feel down, disconnected, or isolated at the moment and lockdown has proven to be a lonely and un-motivating place for many.  Call your crew mate who you haven’t seen since April, WhatsApp the Bboy in your international circle who you’ve always threatened to enter an event with, make something fun and stylish together, and put it online for the world to see.  Dare you.

Urban SINfonie 2020 judges:  Ken Swift, Geo, and TrubLroC.  DJ’s:  Marshy and Mr Margaret Scratcher.  Host:  Bgirl SunSun.

On top of the battles, from the 16th – 19th July we have a festival programme of classes, showcases, pre-parties, parties and after-parties, performances, Q&A’s, hip hop karaoke and much more, all broadcast over our channels.  Keep updated by tuning in as we dive deep to Urban SINfonie 2020 online.