Hip hop dance pioneers impress

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Decandancetheatre - Blackpool Grand Theatre

It’s not every day a Blackpool Grand Theatre programme starts off with a video medley of Queen Latifah, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Roxanne Shante and Gang Starr Foundation member Bahamadia

Then again it’s not every day that the frequently firmly traditional venue plays host to a leading Brooklyn-based female dance company.

For almost 10 years Decadancetheatre has been redefining the image of women in hip hop – taking its exponents from the streets to the theatre stage and from the background of videos to the forefront of mainstream theatrical performance.

The first part of the evening’s opening work, 4, premiered in New York less than five months ago, the second made it debut last month at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and combined two of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with music from the Hilltop Hoods, mixing street dance with more traditional disciples to produce an angular yet flowing piece carrying a strange militaristic undercurrent of violence.

Its robotic influence was echoed in City Breathing – a 2012 remix of a 2005 work with Filipino-American DJ Boo mixing the music as the dance floor beat played host to silhouetted dancers and flobotic illumination.

Boo was back for the award winning When The Sky Breaks 3D, a piece which depended for much of its impact on the effectiveness of the accompanying 3D glasses. At its best this fused the dancers with their backdrop, making them seem to float, slide and spin as they merged with images of architecture and the elements. At their least effective it made for a blurry image of movement and did little to enhance the enviable skill, adventurous choreography and sheer enjoyment of artistic director Jennifer Weber’s exciting company.

The Grand’s dance season continues on October 22 with David Hughes Dance: The Chinaski Sessions.