Celebrating the most innovative and inspirational artists working in hip hop today, Breakin’ Convention Presents brings world champion breaking Netherlands based collective The Ruggeds to Sadler’s Wells Theatre with the UK première of State Shift on Friday 26 & Saturday 27 May. State Shift is an intimate evening of two pieces from The Netherlands-based dance collective, both of which are choreographed by Roy Overdijk, including solo Turns and duet Waterbrothers. The evening is accompanied by music by Jessy ‘Boi Beige’ Kemper.
We catch up with Roy Overdijk to find out what to expect.
What inspired you to create the choreography for The Ruggeds performance at Sadler’s Wells, and how did you approach the creative process?
The relationships I have with Lee and Virgil were the main inspirations for this piece.
I felt the need to zoom in and create something that was more intimate and personal. To really extract the essence of the individual dancers instead of trying to find common grounds all the time. I wanted to show how crazy the capabilities of my brothers were and how we understand each other not only through movement but also in life.
We grew up together, work together and travel the world together so this bond we have is very special. The creation process was very organic and felt natural, the way we interact, how we communicate and come up with ideas and make connections is something we do everyday, in the studio but also at the office and when we are chilling or travelling.
Can you tell us about the concept and themes behind Waterbrothers and Turns, and how they relate to the broader theme of State Shift?
In the solo Turns Virgil shows how he adapts and overcomes what seems like restrictions but turn out to be tools for finding his freedom. With Waterbrothers we show how to adapt to your surroundings and what it’s like to have someone by your side who fully understands you. Through our concepts and movement, we show different shades of the human being’s adaptive ability.
How did you work with the dancers to bring your vision for the pieces to life, and what
were some of the challenges you faced during rehearsals?
The biggest challenge was to choose the material because we made a lot… like a lot a lot.
I think we maybe used 20% of all the Waterbrothers material we’ve created. It was simply too nice to really dive into the ideas and concepts and this is endless. The same goes for Turns where we had a lot of help from Shailesh Bahoran. His way of creating and his approach opened another realm of movement and ways to capture the important moments.
What role does music play in your choreography, and how does FORTBEIGE’s score enhance the performances?
Music is key in setting the mood and we use it in different ways. Where it sometimes has the lead and we adapt our movements to it, we also use it to amplify the material’s emotional layer and as a partner in dialogue. Why FORTBEIGE is the perfect person for this piece is because he is a dancer himself and understands us like no other. Also being a part of our childhood and upbringing, he can predict where someone is going, why and how he can guide or highlight it with his music. With soundscapes created by percussionist Dominique Vleeshouwer and his own creations he paints a landscape we move in. Everything is live, in the moment and in sync with the dancers and that makes it so amazing to hear and watch.
What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing State Shift, and how do you think it fits into the wider context of hip hop and breaking in theatre?
I hope it adds colours and flavours to everyone’s pallet. To spark an interest of the people inside our bubble to see and experience what is possible in the realm of theatre, and for people outside our bubble to get a better understanding and appreciation. That everybody sits next to someone they normally would never meet but can have a good conversation about the evening with and inspire each other to try their favourite theatre or companies.
Can you talk about the significance of the Indonesian cultural influence in Waterbrothers, and how it informed the choreography and performance?
With a history of colonisation, both of our families came from different islands of Indonesia to the Netherlands. Totally different environments so the element of adaptation is rooted in our families. The We is something we put above the I, this togetherness and family feeling is something we carry with us and is what you see when we perform together.
With theatre typically being High Brow, how important is it for you to be in a space like Sadler’s Wells?
Sadler’s Wells putting their trust in Breakin’ Convention and with that in us, is something we appreciate and celebrate.
With theatres and companies like them we can create bridges between worlds, inspire and get inspired which all are a huge plus for theatre and art in general. I know how crazy and highly skilled everyone is, with qualities that you’ve never seen and moves you can’t imagine possible. This should be seen especially on a stage like this who showcases the most innovative and unique performances. Steps like these bring everyone in the theatre realm more together to enjoy all kinds of dope things instead of the usual split. So if you ask us how important it is…it’s very.
What are your favourite moments from the performance (without giving away spoilers!)?
In Turns I really like how Virgil takes you on a path from being very tense and not able to stand properly, to finding his way to turn everything around and releases all the tension in his body. The gracefulness and how he uses restrictions as tools to move more freely is something I really admire and like to watch.
On top of that, I’m offstage and am able to see FORTBEIGE and Virgil at the same time. How they are connected and react to each other is probably my favourite thing to see.
What are some of the most memorable moments from your time with The Ruggeds, and how have you seen the collective’s style and approach to breaking evolve over the years?
I think most of our first times doing something are the most memorable.
Travelling for the first time, winning our first battle, creating our first show, getting booked for our first international tour(S/o to Breakin Convention), getting our own spot, first time we got funded by our city and our country, doing our first big commercial job and becoming world champions.
Everything we do has an effect on the crew and the way we are as dancers and as human beings. We learn from all the different experiences and from each other, how we know how to create, how to perform, take our time, hurry up, how to organize and how to be organized, help and support everyone’s needs. All these tools made our crew evolve and became part of how we approach our craft and life in general.
Breakin’ Convention Presents: The Ruggeds
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, EC1R 4TN
Friday 26 & Saturday 27 May
Tickets: £15 — £48
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com