“Dandyism” is inspired by the gentlemen of the Congo. The appropriation of the 18th Century French and English Dandy’s flamboyance by African men was a defence and a provocation against slavery, described by some as a resistance movement. By the 1960’s African Dandyism had become a phenomenon. Through my choreography I want to embody the raw and unrefined energy and expressive dynamism of dance originating in East Africa. I want to celebrate life and cool as well as express a concern for humanism, gender and identity in our increasingly divided society. “Dandyism” is an expression of individuality. It is a statement of how African culture has and continues to influence Western culture and it says “we are here”.
Kate Craddock, Director, GIFT
Dandyism was such a vibrant and unexpected encounter, operating on lots of levels. It was both powerfully political and yet totally accessible and uplifting. It was wonderful seeing how the audiences around me were transfixed and how playful the performers were in their interactions. Locating the work in multiple public settings in Sunderland was really exciting, and ensured the piece reached audiences who might not have otherwise encountered this work.
Retail Liason Manager,
Bridges Shopping Centre,
I thought the performance was great. The artists themselves looked amazing with fantastically eye-catching costumes and they were very engaging with our customers too. They really brought a sprinkle of life and colour to the mall that day.
Helen Green, Director, Performing Arts and Tall Ships Sunderland Programme Director, Sunderland Culture
Dandyism was both a visual and choreographic treat that brought something really different to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens as part of Black History Month. The performance was high quality and engaged an extremely varied half term audience with many children fascinated by the dance and the costumes.
Brendan Murphy, Musician, Parent, Audience Member
I just wanted to say congratulations for your show on Tuesday. It really was a joyful celebration. Like no other dance show I've seen. The feeling of inclusion and generosity that the three of you give off was a lovely surprise. It would've been easy to create something self-congratulatory and egocentric with such wonderful costumes, but I really felt like we were invited to join the celebration with you three. Almost as though the clothes were ours too. It's a very subtle but important trait to find in a show. It's a fab show.
Carolyn Sayer, Benfield School
The performance and workshop yesterday were excellent, the kids really enjoyed it!
I think the students were really intrigued from the outset. From a cultural point of view they were getting a completely different perspective of masculinity and identity to what they are usually exposed to.