Tuesday, 29 April 2014


There is no denying dance is beautiful and if you didn't know yesterday was the 32nd international dance day don't worry, your friends probably were not aware either. I got you because now you know.


"International Dance Day was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO, and is celebrated on April 29 every year. The date is not linked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, although incidentally it is also the day when the French dancer and balletmaster Jean-Georges Noverre was born.. The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance. Emphasis should be given to addressing a new public, people who do not follow dance events during the course of the year."


Every year, the president of the CID sends the official message for Dance Day which circulate in every country of the world. This year the message was from one deserving French Dancer and choreographer Mourad Merzouki!

Mourad Merzouki


Born in Lyon in 1973, Mourad Merzouki began practicing  martial arts and circus arts at the age of seven. When he was fifteen, he encountered hip-hop culture for the first time and through it, he discovered dance.
He quickly decided to develop this form of street art while also experimenting with other choreographic styles, particularly with other dance artists Maryse Delente, Jean-François Duroure and Josef Nadj.
The wealth of his experiences fed his desire to direct artistic projects, blending hip hop with other disciplines. It is what he did in 1989 with Kader Attou, Eric Mezino and Chaouki Saïd when he created his first company ‘Accrorap’. 

 In 1994 the company performed Athina during Lyon’s Biennial Dance Festival; it was a triumph that brought street dance to the stage. 

Merzouki’s travels have led him into unchartered territory, where dance can be a powerful means of communication. In order to develop his own artistic style and sensitivity, Merzouki established his own company, Käfig, in 1996.

In January 2006, the Company Käfig began residing in Espace Albert Camus in Bron. This linked theatre with the festival Karavel, created in 2007 by Mourad Merzouki, programming notably around 10 hip hop companies and other events in the city.

In parallel, he imagined and conceived a new place of choreographic creation and development, which led to Pôle Pik opening its doors in Bron in 2009. 

In June 2009, Mourad Merzouki was appointed director of the Centre chorégraphique de Créteil et du Val de Marne. He continues to develop his projects there, with an accent on openness to the world. In 18 years, the choreographer has created 22 productions, and his company gives on average 150 performances per year around the world. 

COURTESY OF www.international-dance-day.org


Every artist takes pride in his art.Every artist will always defend the art form whose encounter has changed his life.For that which he has sought and lost and for that which he has the burning desire to share: be it the echo of a voice, the discovered word, the interpretation of a text for humanity, the music without which the universe will stop speaking to us, or the movement which opens the doors to grace.

I have, for dance, not only the pride of a dancer and choreographer, but profound gratitude. Dance gave me my lucky break. It has become my ethics by virtue of its discipline and provided the means through which I discover the world daily.

Closer to me than anything else, it gives me strength each day through the energy and generosity as only dance can. Its poetry comforts me.
Could I say that I wouldn’t exist without dance? Without the capacity for expression it has given me? Without the confidence I have found in it to overcome my fears, to avoid dead ends? Thanks to dance, immersed in the beauty and complexity of the world, I have become a citizen. A peculiar citizen who reinvents the social codes in the course of his encounters, remaining true to the values of the hip-hop culture which transforms negative energy into a positive force.

I live and breathe dance daily as an honour. But I am living with this honour deeply concerned. I witness around me the loss of bearings and the inability of some of the youth from the working class, growing up in tension and frustration, to imagine their future. I am one of them; so are we all. I am driven, perhaps more than others, by setting an example, to help them fuel their lust for life. For isn’t society richer with the richness of each of us? Culture, more than any discourse, unites. So have courage and take risks despite the obstacles and the hatred with which you will no doubt be confronted; the beauty of the world will always be by your side. Like dance has been for me. With its singular force to eliminate social and ethnic distinctions, leaving but the movement of bodies in their essence, of human beings returning to their pure expression, unique and shared.

I would like to end by quoting René Char whose words remind me daily to not let anyone confine us to scripted roles.

“Push your luck, hold on tight to your good fortune, and take your risk. Watching you, they will get used to it.”

So try, fail, start all over again but above all, dance, never stop dancing!

Mourad Merzouki: so try, fail,start all over againbut above all, dance ,never stop dancing!

 Dance is undeniably beautiful and in its existence we break barriers and build strong societies with a definite culture. check out the video version of the message here, its definately a romance in movement.

Check out the reactions on DSI's status update on International dance day here

Fiona miller cyrus: Dancerz always bring the picture of music out...

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


His story is great. Francis Muturi Ng'ang'a aka Bboy shadow as he is popularly known in the dance realm is calm, composed and usually a man of little words. His movement is strong and courageously executed probably because he grew up in East lands. Evidently, he works hard and smart and though so modest in his outlook he is fierce in battle.


Hey man, where have you been?
BBOY SHADOW: around kuhepa nayo! hope you good lakini?
 Am cool man baridi na mvua tu.
BBOY SHADOW: ha ha cool man, me naelekea zoezi.
Hakuna kupumzika?
BBOY SHADOW:  Yeah hakuna iyo time jo.
Hee whats the plan man?
BBOY SHADOW: Got to work hard man to sustain this great gift. Big things coming though.
How long have you been bboying?
BBOY SHADOW: 7 years man.
Wow that’s from 2007
BBOY SHADOW:  just breaking started with power moves though then later on got the basics.
Where was this?
BBOY SHADOW: Around my hood. Kangemi is my hood.
Kangemi has produced some of the top Dancers in the country
BBOY SHADOW:  yeah it has and we pushing the upcoming ones to achieve even greater.
Did you have a teacher to school you in dance?
BBOY SHADOW: Nope never had one
How did the dancing start?

"It was this one time I was watching dance movies and started gaining interest in it and one thing lead to the other. I was watching YOU GOT SERVED and from there, I knew what I wanted to do."


What attracted you really?
BBOY SHADOW: seeing all those dance choreographers both new and old creating crazy moves and transitions made me come up with my new style.
New style?
BBOY SHADOW:  yeah of creating choreographies and free styling.
How different is it?
BBOY SHADOW:  more of techniques; took a lot of effort
So , 7yrs ago, what were the challenges back then?


BBOY SHADOW:  my biggest challenge was that I did not have to teach me the basics and space for practice was an issue.
But Kagemi is the home of street dance in Kenya or so I thought
BBOY SHADOW:  yeah it is and still is but when you starting something not all people are satisfied with your effort you know.
Yeah I know…so, are you a YouTube bboy?
BBOY SHADOW:  I don’t do YouTube that much.
How can you describe your training?
BBOY SHADOW: Its way intense…
BBOY SHADOW: …and fun too.
How did you get material for training?
BBOY SHADOW: I had to look everywhere; I had to do a lot of research on my own.
Did you get enough?
BBOY SHADOW: Not all but still can’t complain you have to work with what you have.
Are you a self made bboy?
BBOY SHADOW:  yeah because I try everyday to come up with my own flow, technique and style.
Your flavor is contained and fierce on the down rock. What  is the inspiration behind your movement?
BBOY SHADOW: it’s from within. Seeing myself from nothing to something really motivates me in a huge way bro and looking back its progress that keeps me wanting to do more.
That’s so powerful. Did you always figure you were a straight out bboy?
BBOY SHADOW:  I never thought of myself as real bboy at the start.
What changed?
BBOY SHADOW:  Guess it’s the hard work  I was putting in and didn’t want it to go to waste.
Where does your brother Dave pokaz come in all this?
BBOY SHADOW:  we all started working together up to now but for him he was a bit afraid with exposure but now he is crazy.
No Dave is just bonkaz man what! Is he your twin brother?
BBOY SHADOW:  Yeah he is.
I knew it, so now since you guys are twins. I must ask…do you feel pain when he is hurt?
BBOY SHADOW:  ha ha ha sometimes
Ha ha ha what crew(s) do you rep?
BBOY SHADOW:  Street pokaz, sisko, creative cooks and Team Kenya.
Absolutely dope. Tell me about street Pokaz.
BBOY SHADOW:  Actually we started the group just me and my brother Dave.


How many are you?
BBOY SHADOW:  Still two because the other members went back to school, studying, so time brought more issues.


What have you achieved with Pokaz Crew?
BBOY SHADOW:  Had a great experience and still doing great things because I don’t regret for a single moment having the crew. This is the best family a dancer would die to have.


*shaking my head in agreement* Great crews make great families. How did you join Sisko?
BBOY SHADOW:  I guess they saw the hard work we were putting in Dance; saw us appreciating and taking dance as a career.
True you do! Are you in Sisko With Daves?
BBOY SHADOW:  Yeah we in together. The inseparable twins (laughs Loudly)
How has it helped you working with Sisko?
BBOY SHADOW:  It’s been overwhelmingly educative. They respond whenever you need advice. It’s been great.
 Creative Cooks?
BBOY SHADOW:  it’s a crew made up of members from different places formed to create dances. They are a team of creatives in dance.
Aaah so you gather dancers from crews in different places to form a crew?
BBOY SHADOW:  Yeah we work together and I teach them.
Cool.Are You in the Kenya Team?
BBOY SHADOW:  *obviously excited*     That’s like the best place to be. Bboy full time man. It’s crazy. 


When did you join?
BBOY SHADOW:  I was there when they created and came up with the name Team Kenya.
For the two times you have gone to Uganda, how has been the experience?
BBOY SHADOW:  Way beyond my imagination. Getting to exchange ideas, knowledge and  seeing how Uganda appreciates their hip-hop culture made me feel like shifting from Kenya to Uganda.
What Is the one big difference between the Kenyan and Ugandan Dance scene?
BBOY SHADOW:  I terms of bboy, they are way advanced. They have a good working foundation that we are lacking.
The first time I saw you were in breaksession battling and I thought you had a great future. How was that?
BBOY SHADOW:  still working day and night bro.


Yeah, you have been absent for a very long time .What was up?
BBOY SHADOW:  Working on my graduation. I’m in a dance company and am set to graduate in May. That’s what has kept me in the shadows.
Good news. Tell me more about the dance company?
BBOY SHADOW:  They work on different styles or elements like jazz, contemporary dancing, ballet, African modern and all that.
Where are they based?
BBOY SHADOW:  Pangani but they are shifting. The next intake is next year.
How did you get in?
BBOY SHADOW:  A friend introduced me to it and had to audition for the same.
Has it changed anything?
BBOY SHADOW:  I am now one dancer who can fit in any element of dance. I can settle in any style of dance easier than before because I have a lot of dance foundation in me.


I respect that. So what else do you do besides dance?
BBOY SHADOW:  dance, dance and dance is a career for me and am earning good. Can’t complain.
That’s more than many dancers can say about dance. What are we doing wrong?
BBOY SHADOW:  A lot of dancers don’t know what path to follow. Some quit but as long as you have the right direction based on what you want, you can never go wrong. Trust me.
Simple and precise. This is inevitable…Are you dating?
BBOY SHADOW:  yes. She really supports me a lot in what I do.
That’s awesome man. Everybody needs a proper support system. So what’s your plan for 2014?
BBOY SHADOW:  Teach dance to as many people and crews as possible. Do a lot of choreographies, videos and in the long run try to effect change you know….
Spoken like the real hero you are. We wish you all the best. Any last words?
BBOY SHADOW:  Yeah thanks bro for the interview and remember that the only person you battle in life is yourself.
That I will never forget . This is was great and I really learnt a lot. Thank you.