Akai Struts His Stuff

We are super-excited that Into the Hoods is opening tonight at Royal Festival Hall. We found pint-sized sensation Akai – winner of Sky1’s Got To Dance – showing off his skills at Southbank Centre’s skate park. Impressive, no?

Into the Hoods: A London Fairytale runs from 30 July to 15 August. Find out more and book tickets here.

The Things We’d Do For A Blue Peter Badge

The success of Southbank Centre’s dance festivities have gone above and beyond our expectations. All girl dance troops from around the world and child prodigy Akai have graced Blue Peter with their astounding dance moves.

Insights into the history of break dance, hip hop attire, the position of women in break dancing and lessons on how to move with style were explored. 

Three days before the B.Supreme Festival, Blue Peter Presenter Helen, shadowed both acts to see how they prepared for the big event.  With their sharp poppin’, lockin’ spinnin’ and rockin’ coupled with elegance and flare Decadancetheatre from New York, proved the existence of girl power in the hip hop world.  After being roped into participating in a dance off, Helen called on Akai for a crash course and support on the night.

It was impressive to watch the 10 year old effortlessly bust his moves as well as choreograph. It was even more impressive discovering that Akai had received no training (other than what he’d copied from watching videos and websites)! It makes us wonder, if he’s this impressive now, what will he be like come July when he dances in our ‘Into the Hoods’ performance?

It’s fair to say that Helens Top rockin’, Floor work and power moves did not compare to the greats, but after mastering her signature move for the battle (which she forgot to do in the end) and a shopping spree with B-girl group Decadance she looked the part on the night and her first attempt at battling was really impressive!
Unfortunately, Southbank didn’t earn the Blue Peter badge (although we think we should have!). However, we came away feeling delighted that B.Supreme was such an inspiration and that once again, we were on telly!

Dance Like The Greats

WHEN we say ‘outstanding dancers,’ a montage of revolutionary movers rushes through your head. You smile as the floodgates of your imagination open, allowing you to reminisce on every flip, tap and turn they’ve graced us.  But what makes those people so special?

It could be studying the dance moves of others and revolutionising them as their own, much like what Michael Jackson did to create his distinctive moonwalk.

Perhaps it’s the ability to take a dance known by so few and make it a global phenomenon, as we’ve seen by way of MC Hammer’s funk-a-de-lick, vibrant , infectious ‘Can’t Touch This’.

Or maybe it’s precision and eloquence of traditional Bollywood dances complimenting Oscar Winning films and  bringing a style and culture to virtually every demographic, as has been demonstrated by the dance routine for ‘Jai Ho’ of Slumdog Millionaire.

Possibly, it’s the controversy and ‘breaching the boxes of society’ brought about by dancers like Madonna. Maybe it’s the celebration of curves and black beauty reinforced by Beyonce’s ‘Let your hair down and shake your booty’ routines, particularly in her ‘Single Ladies’ video.

Is it the idea of unity and energy bought by dance groups like Diversity and Beaux Belle?  Or perhaps the hopes for the future symbolised by young dancers like Akai?

Whether it’s one or all of these points, it’s good to know that the potential for you to be a pioneer is in reach.

For the chance of your moves being part of a routine choreographed by Artistic Director of Protein Dance, Luca Silvestrini, record and upload your moves to Dance Atlas

Here’s to those who did more than electric slide their way to the top. Hopefully the next one on this list will be you.

Sky1 Competition Winner Akai joins Into the Hoods

What happens when a selection of fairytales ‘evolves into a popular musical and transforms into a hip-hop inspired, funk-a-delic sensation?’

This summer, ZooNation graces Southbank Centre once again with their urbanised spin on the popular musical Into The Woods and this time, they are joined with Akai.

Akai is the winner of the popular ITV1’s reality show Got To Dance. With his outstanding, natural skills in breakdancing, ticking, pop n’ locking and waving, the 11-year-old from Kent will add to ZooNation’s fantastic performance.

‘I am so happy to be part of Into the Hoods. It’s an amazing opportunity and I am going to enjoy every minute of it!’
Akai

This hip-hop inspired piece provides social satire by way of dance as well as updated interpretations of classic stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. ZooNation’s Into The Hoods is not just ‘a show for the kids’ and not just a show you watch to ‘be down with the kids’. It’s known as ‘a show that shakes the seats and rocks the house.’ (Daily Mail)

We’re excited!
Buy tickets / More info >>

See what others have said about the show:

SOUTHBANK CENTRE INVITES YOUNG CRITICS TO REVIEW INTO THE HOODS

Into the Hoods

Five budding young critics mentored by Guardian dance critic Sanjoy Roy and Times dance critic Donald Hutera attended the press night of Into the Hoods for Play the Critic, an initiative of Mousetrap Theatre Projects, a theatre education charity that enables young people with limited resources or support to engage with the best of London’s theatre.

More info/buy tickets for the show (until January 10th)

Read the reviews and see what they thought of the show…

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What’s On Stage gives Into the Hoods 5 stars!

Last night’s performance of Into the Hoods recieves a five-star review from WhatsOnStage.com!

Into the Hoods is a fast, funny and hugely creative show from UK dance company ZooNation and director/choreographer Kate Prince. A year after its run at the Novello Theatre, it comes to Southbank Centre for a well-deserved Christmas run.

Into the Hoods is saturated with wit and parody. In a world of tired long-running musicals this is a fresh and exciting show that, especially if you didn’t catch it first time round, should not be missed.

Click here for the full review

Interview with Kate Prince
We also interviewed Kate Prince who tells us about the history of Into the Hoods, bringing it to Southbank Centre and getting today’s youth into theatre and street dance.

Click here to listen to the interview.

As Kate says, people from two to over eighty have seen and loved Into the Hoods. Don’t miss out on seeing it this Christmas… it is on for a strictly limited run! Buy your tickets now!

Londondance.com interviews Kate Prince

Londondance.com interviews Kate Prince, the choreographer and director of Into the Hoods (which opens in exactly a week!)

Below are some of our favourite questions or click here to read the entire interview.

You were the lead choreographer for the Beijing Olympics handover to London ceremony.  What was that like to work on?
Going to Beijing was an awesome and surreal experience. It was quite a pressured situation but ultimately very exciting and rewarding. Unfortunately I broke my foot in rehearsal whilst we were out there so it also had its down side.

Favourite film?
Father Goose – it’s an old Cary Grant and Leslie Caron movie, one of my mum’s favourites.

Are you going to do anything different with [Into the Hoods] at Queen Elizabeth Hall?
There have been a few updates and adjustments to the show for QEH but we’re going to keep them as surprises.

What’s comes after Southbank Centre’s run of Into the Hoods?
I am working on the first UK season of So You Think You Can Dance on the BBC, starting in January 2010. ZooNation are working on their new show Some Like It Hip Hop, an adaptation of Some Like It Hot. We hope to preview this next year.