Artists 4 Artists in partnership with DanceXchange and Dance Hub Birmingham are half way through the Artists 4 Growth development programme. This established programme gives 15 hip hop theatre makers the opportunity to gain essential knowledge in the artistic & business side of being a successful artist.
Birmingham-based participant Jamaal O’Driscoll talks about the programme and how it has prepared him for his upcoming involvement in this weekend’s BSide Hip Hop Festival 2019 at Birmingham Hippodrome.
How will you be getting involved in this weekend’s B-Side?
I have been very fortunate to have multiple opportunities & involvement in this year’s B-Side festival. I will be leading Hip hop classes on the 4 & 11 May, on behalf of DanceXchange. I will also be taking part in multiple categories at Break mission & taking part MDK x MDKYG exhibition taking part on the 4 of May in the bullring. Finally, I will be performing my new piece “Simplicity” on the 6 May as part of the B-Side scratch night.
What is your new work about?
The direction and creation of the piece are built around simplicity & how this plays a part in life, dance, the mind & society. Simplicity will be using the Hip Hop style of Breaking/ Bboying. It will be breaking down the style to its foundations & rebuilding in simplistic concept for the audience to see the building process of creating a footprint in the style. The piece will be in loving memory of my Father Jake O’Driscoll, who recently passed away.
How did Artists4Growth at DX help you prepare your commission?
Artist4Growth opened my mind to the other aspects of hip hop theatre from creating the music, Catering for an audience, spoken word, production & overall support an artist needs.
How important is artistic training for Hip Hop artists?
It’s really important for hip hop artists to receive any help that is out there as we need to establish ourselves more in the theatre or working in the arts as this type of work can be very different from training in the streets, jams & competitions. Never the less, there is also a need for the street element as it plays a key part & foundation in the styles of hip hop, such as the cypher.
The second part of the intensive is coming up at the end of May, what do you hope to take away this time around?
In week 2 of the intensive workshop, I am looking to learn more and go with an open mind. It also allows me to reflect on my recent work & communicate with others in the industry that have been working for a long period of time or that are also creating some of their first work.
The Artists 4 Growth development programme gave 15 hip hop theatre makers the opportunity to gain essential knowledge in the artistic & business side of being an artist. Sessions leaders included industry professionals: Vicki Uchenna Igbokwe Deci4Life Michael Mikey J Asante Lee Griffiths and Neus Gil Cortes
About Artists 4 Artists: Artists 4 Artists is the UK’s first artist-led initiative working to raise the visibility of the hip hop sector through artist development, producer support and wider industry conversations. Founded by Emily Crouch, Joseph Toonga and Lee Griffiths, Artists 4 Artists over the last two years has worked to commission new work, support research and development phases, broker conversations for work to presented at The Curve Leicester & Laban Theatre and ultimately propel the community forward through bespoke packages of support.
Jamaal O’Driscoll: Birmingham city native dancer who has been practising and teaching dance since 2010 in various styles but mainly in Bboying/Breaking. Jamaal is mostly known for being a Member one of Uk’s Finest Breaking crews called MDK, which was established in 2006. The last 7 years Jamaal has been working as a Freelance Artist providing workshops, Cover classes, Competition Judging and professional performances.