In October 2022, Dance Base & Breakin’ Convention partnered together to bring Open Art Surgery to Edinburgh – a unique artist development project aimed at supporting hip-hop artists to develop their creative work.
The artists selected to join us for the week were Dorine Mugisha Mwesiga, Gabriele Bruzzese, Nadia Sewnauth, Nevil Jose and Oscar Ho and through a week in residence at Dance Base, and with mentoring from hip-hop artists Jonzi D and Jane Sekonya, the artists honed their work for the stage and then presented it at a live showcase event on the final day of the week.
This live event provided a supportive space for the artists to try something new, risky or revolutionary, and invited audiences to delve into the mind and souls by providing critique, feedback and questions to help aid the further development of each work.
Find out more on each of the artists involved below.
Dorine Mugisha Mwesiga
Dorine Mugisha is a dancer, choreographer and creative director. She has performed and competed across the UK and internationally with London based The Archetype (World of Dance UK, World of Dance LA, Hotstepper, Breaking Convention, Dancer’s Delight, Move it), then following her move to Scotland, she joined A.K.O, teaching, choreographing and performing at UEFA Euro 2021.
She is currently focusing on her individual path as an artist, primarily through W(h)aacking. She has been entering battles across Europe, learning, developing, sharing and unapologetically rediscovering her love for dance and the infinity of freedom in movement. She advocates that everyBODY can dance.
During this residency, Dorine will be exploring the theme of ‘indentity(ies)’. Originally Tanzanian, born and raised in France and living in the UK for the last 16 years, she constantly struggles to answer the simple question of ‘Where are you from?’. She will be developing what this means to her, inspired by sounds from the different cultures.
Gabriele is a 23-year-old Italian artist currently based in Edinburgh. His main art form is Breaking (also known as Break Dance/ B-boying). Dancing since he was 12, he has travelled the world learning and competing.
He is a co-founding member of TMRW Crew, formed in 2019 in Edinburgh by a diverse group of dancers with a wide range of cultural backgrounds, with the goal of rekindling the city’s freestyle community.
Gabriele’s focus is on letting his body flow through music and embracing the movement, feeling pride in his work and cultivating whatever comes out during the research process.
The Hip Hop community keeps saving lives and giving hope to many and Gabriele feels gratitude towards how the community helped him in his younger days. He hopes this Residency will give me the chance to create something new that will have the power to inspire someone else too.
The work will showcase the struggle that led to discovering his passion, that motivated him even when he wanted to give up and return to his forgotten village back home in Italy, where you don’t have to work or dance to earn a living.
Nadia is a Hip-Hop Dance Artist from Dumbarton, Scotland specialising in Funkstyles. She is a member of Dimestop, a Scottish Popping Collective formed in 2013. Her aim is bringing funkstyles to the local community and she has been sharing knowledge at her dance school Funk Forever since 2013. She is currently bringing her practice to a wider audience by exploring choreography and performance. This takes influences from her own life, her recent experiences of motherhood and broader issues facing women, mothers and multi ethnic people in hip-hop, dance, Scotland and society as whole.
My Maw is a Robot
The year is 1981 and a housewife/mother robot is trapped in a never ending cycle of mundane duties. Can it move forward into a funkier, brighter future by reflecting on and letting go of the past?
The work came about during her period of matrescence and was further explored during the lockdowns of 2020 /2021. Research consists of video footage of Nadia seeking solace in the home whilst bringing up two young children under 3. She sought sanctuary in the kitchen where there is space, optimum light and quietness in the late hours of the day. Feelings of pressure and guilt to juggle motherhood with a career and life outside of the home come to the surface. Can this robot ever be free again or is it bound for a life within 4 walls forever?
The piece will encompass movements from popping, locking, waacking and soul dances set to a soundtrack of hip-hop, funk, disco and soul music.
Nevil Jose & Oscar Ho
Originally from India , Nevil is a hip hop freestyle dancer . He initially taught himself from online videos, later moving to India and finding communities who taught him the real meaning of hip hop’s history and culture and bringing him the perspective that hip hop is about more than dance, and is about each unique individual. Nevil is a co-founding member of TMRW Crew, formed in 2019 in Edinburgh by a diverse group of dancers with a wide range of cultural backgrounds, with the goal of rekindling the city’s freestyle community as well as Dsouls dance crew (India). Recently, Nevil has developed and performed hip hop theatre pieces under Breakin‘ Convention’s platform and with House of Jack for Hidden Door Festival, as well as performing at many shows, club nights and festivals around Scotland and has been travelling around UK for different kinds of dance battles.
Originally from Hong Kong, Oscar is a dancer, choreographer and teacher specialising in Popping as well as having strong foundations and experience in hip hop and funk styles. With more than a decade’s experience, has travelled around Asia since 2013, training, battling and performing. He moved to the UK in 2021, and currently teaches regular adults classes in Edinburgh as well as training as part of TMRW Crew. Oscar aims to drill dance styles to improve his skills, and has a degree in Physiology and Chinese Medication from Hong Kong Baptist University, providing a strong understanding of the human body.
During this Open Art Surgery, we’d like to explore through dance the idea of different perspectives and how ingrained mindsets inform how we view, experience and judge the actions of others. The two dancers each have roots in a particular dance style – hip hop and popping – and while each dancer reacts to the music with fluid movements they understand, they judge the motion of the other dancer as ‘wrong’, or lacking in understanding, despite each reacting to the same music in ways that have the same essence of movement, but are fully informed by their own background and correct by their learning.