Computerised Characters Inspire Hip Hop Dance Spectacular

It is all getting a bit retro in Reepham as some classic computer games are providing inspiration for the premiere of a new hip-hop dance.

Young people from the Norfolk-based Parallel Dance Studios are meeting there weekly to put together a performance which pays homage to some of the best-known computer game characters.

And the finished piece gets its premiere at Norwich Theatre Royal on May 13 as part of the international hip hop festival Breakin’ Convention.

The idea comes from Parallel’s owner and choreographer Lucy Cook who saw her nephew playing Super Mario and the idea expanded from there. “I was thinking about how many of these games are legendary and never go out of fashion, and decided to put some ideas together to tell a story,” said Lucy.

The piece will actually begin with two children playing games before the audience are taken into a cyber-world inspired by a lot of characters. Lucy said: “Some of the characters are a bit tricky to portray. Mario is very robotic so we needed to show that, and there is lots of hip hop in the Donkey Kong section. There are lots of funny moments too and we wanted to keep it moving.”

But with some of the performers as young as eight, there was also a bit of education needed about some of the more established stars of computer and arcade games. Lucy laughed: “Some of them did not know what the games were so we had a retro gaming session so they could have a go at them all. It has been a lot of fun putting this together and something really different for them.”

And the finished piece will form part of Breakin’ Convention which will see Parallel joined on stage by two other East Anglian hip hop crews after all three got through a tough audition. Also onstage showcasing their work will be Legacy, the Norwich-based all-male dance company, and Cambridge’s Fly No Filter.

The show itself will also see a number of top international acts flying into the Theatre Royal to perform as well including South Korean poppers and b-boys Just Dance, Canadian urban duo Tentacle Tribe and South Africa’s comedic contortionists Soweto Skeleton Movers.

Lucy admits this is a fantastic chance for her students to show what they can do. “I keep telling them about the magnitude of being part of Breakin’ Convention. It is such a big deal. This sort of thing does not normally happen to a small Norfolk dance school like us.”

Breakin’ Convention is here on 13 May, and tickets are available now.