British dance company ZooNation has one goal: to the change the misconceptions and negative stereotypes associated with hip-hop culture.
It’s a tricky mission, I’m sure you’ll agree; especially when US rappers like Lil’ Wayne and Eminem spout about drugs, violence and misogyny, climbing up the charts in the process. What’s so positive about that, you cry?
But anyone who knows and loves the genre, knows this: there is another side to hip hop. It is important both in its cultural relevancy and its innate ability to give voice to the struggle of those on the periphery of society. Hip-hop does something truly great: it creates a sense of community. The actions of young people in disadvantaged areas to channel their energy into creativity and self-expression in the form of music and dance rather than crime and indifference can only ever be seen a positive one.
Perhaps that’s why ZooNation’s first West End production Into the Hoods was so well-received. Loosely based on the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods, it mixed fairytale with humour and old school jams with contemporary culture to create an energetic and engaging piece that entertained whilst maintaining a socio-political agenda.
Their newest production, Some Like It Hip Hop, opens at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on October 20th. It tells a story of sexism, mistaken identity and revolution in a city where books are banned and draws from influences including Billy Wilder’s film classic, TV series ‘Mad Men’ and Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’.
Expect cross-dressing, big laughs, bad beats and the inevitable West End transfer once the month long run ends – and we cannot wait.
For more information and to book tickets, go to The Sadler’s Wells theatre.