Live & Direct | Hip Hop Development Week

Live & Direct | Hip Hop Development Week

Monday 26 February – Friday 1 March

Image credit: Ursula Manandhar performing at Rock What You Got 2021, by Brian Hartley

Running from Monday 26 February – Friday 1 March, Live & Direct, Dance Base’s Hip Hop Dance Development Week, aims to support hip hop dance artists to explore, develop and present a new dance theatre work, with hands on support and mentorship from experienced hip hop dance artist and current Artistic Director of Dance Base, Tony Mills.

The chosen Artists in Residence for this week are Wayne Chang, Jennifer Cullen, Julia Lau, Joshua Effi and Ursula Manandhar.

Livce & Direct will take place at Dance Base in Edinburgh and will provide a supportive space for artists to take creative risks, test ideas and expand their artistic practice. At the end of the week on Sunday 3 March the artists will take part in a live performance in the Dance Base theatre, hosted by Tony Mills, to showcase the work they have been developing and discuss it with a live audience.

This week is about nurturing and showcasing the incredible talent of Scotland’s hip hop dance community, and creating a space for this performance work to be explored, shared, discussed, and celebrated.

Live & Direct has been made possible thanks to Targeted Funds from Creative Scotland.



Live & Direct Hip Hop Dance Showcase  | Sunday 3 March | 19:00 – 21:30 | £10/£8 | BOOK HERE

Join our Live & Direct Artists on Sunday 3 March for a live performance in the Dance Base theatre where they will each share the work that they have been developing in the studio through the week! Each performance will be followed by a vibrant discussion with the audience to help the artists gain valuable feedback on their work.

Wayne Chang

For this residency week, Wayne hopes to explore the themes of intersectionality, multiculturalism and belongingness, diving deeper into the connection between storytelling, dance and theatre. His goal is to invite the audience to experience the misalignment minority individuals often feel through a live stage performance, allowing them to compare through personal estrangement encountered and encourage all to help one another find a sense of belonging in society.
Image credit Claire Wang.

Wayne Chang is a Taiwanese-diaspora movement artist of a main art form merging street-style dances, namely hiphop and whacking, with fluid movements and experimental freestyles, to storytell and engage with a diverse audience around the world. His experience in choreographing, teaching, performing and competing resonates with his deep interest in creating multidisciplinary dance performances and advocating for voices of under-represented communities. He is also the co-founder of Peer Grooving Dance Collective, an Asian-led artistic group building open and inclusive dance communities in Edinburgh, and a member of WAMNAM, an eclectic and experimental dance crew incorporating digital visual arts. Some of his recent highlights include performing at ‘Scratch Night’ with Dance Base, ‘Mass Effect’ with Edinburgh Fringe, ‘Elevate Showcase’ in Glasgow, ‘Dancers’ Delight’ in London and ‘Battle of the Best’ in Thessaloniki.

Instagram: @wchang1000

Jennifer Cullen

The work Jennifer will be developing is based on the theme of ‘Anxiety’, its causes and the mental and physical symptoms for those who experience it. Jennifer has dealt with anxiety from a young age and more severely in recent years. She understands how it can impact a person’s life, making them feel trapped and helpless. During the residency week Jennifer will focus on creating a solo performance piece based on the mental and physical symptoms anxiety presents, and plans to choreograph using a range of street styles including hip hop, popping and Krump. Jennifer aims to create a piece that takes the audience on a journey with the dancer as they go through different stages of anxiety, and hopes they either see a reflection of themselves or someone they know, or are enlightened to the extremity of anxiety. She hopes that by showcasing anxiety through dance theatre, it will promote discussion amongst sufferers and help others to develop empathy.

Subject could be triggering for anxiety sufferers. Possibility of using strobe lighting and loud music in parts.
Image credit Jeannette Gonzalez, Makeup by Claudia Subiela.

Jennifer Cullen is a professional dance artist from Glasgow, Scotland. She graduated from Addict Dance Academy in 2020 with a BA Honours degree in Dance Performance. Prior to this, she attended West College Scotland, where she gained an HND Dance Artist. Jennifer has trained in a range of dance styles and has worked with Glasgow dance companies; Three 60, A.K.O, Pink Acid and Ace Tribe. She recently launched her own dance company; ‘Connect Dance Company’, providing Glasgow dancers with professional level training in a variety of styles. Professionally, Jennifer has appeared as a freestyle dancer in the line-up announcement advert for ‘Fly Open Air’ music festival. She has also been working for ‘Ace Tribe Dance Company’ since October 2022, performing at a number of different venues and events across Scotland as a dancer in different styles and characters. Further to this, she has also worked as a showgirl for ‘Pink Acid’ dance company and as a commercial backup dancer for the UK’s number 1 ‘Little Mix’ tribute band, ‘Little Fix’. Jennifer’s choreographic work includes working as Assistant Choreographer on ‘Three 60’s’ production of ‘World’s Evolution’ in 2022 at Glasgow’s Tramway Theatre, alongside directors; Levent Nyembo, Divine Tasinda, Adam McMillan and Kemono Lebe.

Instagram: @jenculllen

Julia Lau

During the residency, Julia would like to create a piece that explores the theme of a dilemma within a person, a dilemma between social construct and freedom of choice. The piece named ‘The Canvas’ explores how can one reconcile the norms embedded from a young age with the ever changing values in each life stages that leads to a personal choice of repainting the journey. By showcasing the piece with movements involving Hip Hop and Dancehall elements, this piece allows her as a dancer to explore her experiences of growing up as a Chinese kid who is obliged to a range of social constructs, encompassing the assigned values of self-identity, marriage, money and education.
Image credit Kim Morgan Wheeler.

Originally from Malaysia, Julia Lau is a dancer and choreographer who is currently residing in Glasgow, UK. Started dancing at the age of 13, she had explored many different street dance styles and found love for dancehall and freestyle movements. She had trained with different communities in Malaysia and UK and she is currently a member of THREE60 Dance Company, Connect Dance Company as well as a part of the AKO dance crew based in Glasgow. She has experience in teaching and choreographing as well as perfoming in shows such as Elevate Dance Showcase and had danced in a recent film project ‘John’ by Thomas Abercromby under Collective Edinburgh.

Instagram: @julialau

Joshua Effi

This piece dates back to the days of young Josh and his struggle with the African Nigerian culture that stereotyped dancers as criminals and deviants in society. It focuses on his fight against discrimination and resentment towards him becoming a dancer while putting a focus on him being acknowledged after many years. The piece explores an Afrocentric idea of dance and uses Afro-Hiphop as part of the style of dance used to portray the idea of this piece and the artist.

Image credit Josh Effi.

Joshua Effi aka Josheffi is a Nigerian born dancer and choreographer. Although his main art form is Hiphop/choreography, josh is also able to do 3 styles of dance, Krump, Breaking and Animation ( his first style of dance learnt is Animation). With over 10 years experience in dance Josh is known for his very energetic fast style of choreography. He established a dance group in 2017 known as DIVINITY DANCE COMPANY- it was created to be a place where youths can express themselves, feel free and unchained or bound by society. A place where youths can come to grow and develop themselves in the best way possible. It featured dance rehearsals, music classes, meditation, educational activities, games, exercise sessions and community development. The numbers grew within one year and divinity became a huge family and a part of the community. Josh’s main focus currently is on exploring his body’s limit, increasing his range in dance especially storytelling in dance.

Instagram: @Josheffi

Ursula Manandhar

“Duality in motion” is a piece that explores the intricate interplay between the feminine and masculine energies. This project aims to showcase the rich diversity within each individual, exploring the groovier, softer, more fluid attributes associated with the feminine and the powerful, assertive qualities often linked to the masculine. The performance gradually weaves these seemingly opposing forces together, creating a captivating visual and emotional journey that transcends gender norms. The choreographer’s process involves researching various dance styles, developing distinct movement vocabularies, and experimenting with modifications to represent femininity and masculinity.

Image credit Ursula Manandhar.

Ursula is a passionate dancer and versatile choreographer, she embarked on a dance journey from Nepalese traditional folk when she was young to diverse contemporary styles like Hip hop, Krump, Afro and Commercial styles now. With foundation in self driven training and participating in workshops and online classes led by renowned dancers. She is also part of the TMRW crew based in Edinburgh. She became a dance teacher in 2018 specializing in Hip hop and Open choreography. currently teaching weekly kids and adult classes at House of Jack and in Edinburgh University Dance Society, sharing her love for dance and fostering creativity among children and adults. Outside of teaching she has also performed in the List 100, Imaginate festival, Hidden door festival, Edinburgh Fringe and also got a chance to perform abroad in Hong Kong!

Instagram: @Ursula_mdr