We’re celebrating Strictly with Vincent and Flavia

Vincent and Flavia

Vincent and Flavia

We’re very excited that the official launch of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing will be broadcast on Saturday night but we’re even more excited that we have the original Strictly superstars at the Hippodrome tomorrow – how amazing is that!

Vincent and Flavia are currently rehearsing in London for what will be their last theatre tour so we’re honoured that they’ll be breaking from rehearsals to make a special visit to the Hippodrome to chat  to some of the regional media ahead of their new show The Last Tango.

It’s going to be a great day and we may even get the chance to learn a few tango moves!

We’ll be posting photographs from their visit early next week.

Keep Dancing!

The Last Tango opens here on 22 September.

We hear from dance company Jigsaw Collective ahead of their performance at Colour of Hip Hop this Sunday

Among the dance acts performing at Sunday’s Colour of Hip Hop event at Summer in Southside is Jigsaw Collective, whose young performers are aged between 12 and 18. Having formed the company with a very different line-up for last year’s Breakin’ Convention, director Nathan Lafayette spoke to our Hippodrome Ambassadors Heather and Sipho about how the collective came to be and what their Summer in Southside performance will entail.

“Jigsaw Collective started off with me and Rebecca Namgauds who is away in London now, and was previously in Italy for a good while. When she went off to Italy after Breakin’ Convention, I was left with no one to dance with, as sad as that sounds. I knew Jigsaw should continue, I just wasn’t sure what our direction would be, so I reached out to a few people for advice, people in London who had already set up something like this.”

Following a suggestion that he apply for Birmingham Fest, Nathan quickly assembled a team of seven other dancers and put together a show over a three-month period. Some members of the company are a little older and more contemporary trained than those set to perform at Summer in Southside, but in its various forms, the collective has continued to grow ever since.

“The name Jigsaw Collective plays with the ethos of it, because it’s hard to have core members when you’re starting out. Everyone everyone works and you can’t ask too much of them, but I know a lot of dancers who I can just ask to join in.”

They’re not, of course, to be confused with the Australian soul, jazz and blues band of the same name: Nathan explains that you’ll recognise the right Jigsaw Collective by their logo, which features the letters JGSW between the arms of a cross. No hint yet of any collaborations between the two, although Nathan suggests that maybe he ought to reach out to them…

Jigsaw’s Colour of Hip Hop performance will see the dancers freestyling to a single song.

“It’s quite straightforward,” Nathan explained. “It gives the kids a chance to show off what they can do and it’s good performance experience for them too. I see it almost as a form of training.”

Nathan is also looking forward to seeing how the rest of the Hip Hop event comes together, as certain aspects of it are a little unconventional.

“There’s often a big divide between people who do more choreography and people who do more freestyle, whereas here, there will be people doing choreography for performances as well as battles, so those two different groups will be coming together. I know some people who usually do choreographed shows will enter the battles alongside others who are battle-born, and for me, it’s really interesting to see how they’ll work with each other. I think it’s really good that this is happening because we can learn a lot from each other. Personally, I’ve always been a drifter between social groups…when people ask what I do, I always say my base is hip hop but I don’t know how to answer that question.”

More generally, he’s excited to see local artists and large audiences coming together for the festival as a whole.

“It’s always nice to see the city really alive. When we had City of Colours it was great because there was just so much stuff happening and so many people around. When you’ve put events and workshops together yourself, you know how hard it is to promote it and get the numbers in, so it’s crazy to so many people flooding in for something like this. People seem to just gravitate towards it, and it’s great to see that kind of support.”

Jigsaw Collective will be performing at The Colour of Hip Hop, taking place from 2.30pm on Sunday 30th August. To find out more about the company, you can check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, or visit Nathan’s YouTube channel here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Brum duo Transits chat to us ahead of their set at Summer in Southside afterparty MIX UP

Having formed just a few months ago at the start of the year, Birmingham duo Transits are already attracting more attention than either of them could have anticipated. Comprised of guitarist Elizabeth “Zeddie” Lawal and poet and vocalist Louisa Robbin, the up-and-coming band will be performing at MIX UP, Saturday night’s Summer in Southside after party.

To find out more, Hippodrome Ambassadors Heather and Sipho spoke to Louisa about her work.

We’re still kind of experimenting,” she explained, when asked about the band’s style and influences. “Zeddie comes from more of a rock background, so some of what she does is quite heavy, whereas I listen to a lot of soul and some indie music, so my style is much more mellow. Together we combine those influences. Zeddie plays electric and bass guitar, and I’m the lead vocalist. She also sings, so we do a lot of harmonising.

The pair originally met here in the city while studying at the University of Birmingham, but it would be some time before they began working together.

When I was at uni, I went to a hip hop, poetry and garage event, and we met there through a mutual friend. In January this year, I was asked to perform at a night a friend of ours was hosting. At that point, I didn’t really perform, and I didn’t think I knew any musicians, but then Zeddie was like, “I’ve been playing guitar for years! Why didn’t you ask me?” So we started rehearsing together, and after we performed, people said it was really interesting and that we should do more of it.

For Louisa, coming to Summer in Southside will be a new experience, but it’s one she’s definitely looking forward to having.

This time last year I was still just creeping into the arts scene, so I didn’t hear about it. This year has been the start of my ‘artistic career’, let’s say. But it looks really good! I’m especially excited for MIX UP. Tommy the VJ has really good taste in music, so I’m looking forward to that.

Though Transits’ online profile is still limited to Twitter and Facebook, they’re being booked up fast for gigs. Those wanting to hear more after MIX UP will be able to catch them at Sidewalk this Sunday, and then at Walkabout the following weekend.

We’re just trying to keep up with it all,” Louisa explained. “As of yet, we haven’t recorded anything professionally. Zeddie likes to just get stuff out there, but I’m much more of a perfectionist, which is probably why we don’t have any recordings online yet.

At the moment, the two are in the process of polishing up a song written by Zeddie some time ago, which they hope to have ready for Saturday night.

“It has some harmonies and a whole monologue  that Zeddie has written. The title at the moment is ‘Breathe’. Me and Zeddie aren’t that great at names. Most of our songs are still untitled, and we’re only Transits because we couldn’t decide on anything else!”

Transits hope that MIX UP will be a night full of “loads of things happening…loads of hugs” and “lots of love and fun”.

Make sure you don’t miss them: join us from 8pm this Saturday in the Stageside Bar and Restaurant.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.