INTERVIEW | Chaldon Williams, BirdGang.

Coming to London's Dance House, Sadlers Wells in February is Sampled. It's the theatre's annual celebration of Dance from all over the globe. It's the perfect opportunity to discover dance styles you've never seen before and be inspired by those you love too! Every year the quality is exceptional and this year is no different with the likes of Richard Alston Dance Company, Semperoper Ballet and Rambert2 on the bill for the two-night celebration. 


One of the companies you will not want to miss is BirdGang. BirdGang is one of the leading Hip Hop dance companies in the UK since it was established in 2015. The London-based company specialise in Hip Hop theatre and film. Their unique style excels at pushing the boundaries of dance. BirdGang tells us thought-provoking stories with their bodies and striking images that challenge social stereotypes with an aim to create positive social change. 

Chaldon Williams, one of the Creative Artists/Choreographers as well as Creative Director on the current projects from BirdGang chatted to me about their company as well as more about the style of Hip Hop that they use in their work.  Williams leads, creates and produces his own work too with the help and support from the flock (dancers). He's also very busy managing and teaching BirdGang's dance classes every other week!

For those who are new to Hip Hop, it is a broad category that includes a variety of styles. Chaldon Williams explained that "the older dance styles that were created in the 1970s include uprock, breaking, and the funk styles. Breaking was created in The Bronx, New York in the early 1970s. As breaking, locking, and popping gained popularity in the 1980's, hip-hop social dancing (party dancing) started to develop. Novelty and fad dances such as the Roger Rabbit, the Cabbage Patch, and the Worm appeared in the 1980s followed by the Humpty dance and the Running Man in the 1990s. Like hip-hop music, hip-hop social dancing continues to change as new songs are released and new dances are created to accompany them."




With such a broad category to work with BirdGang takes their influence from various aspects of the Hip Hop style but also integrate contemporary in there too. "They make an effort not to be influenced too much by one thing" Chaldon explains, "They focus on originality and identity". One of BirdGang's biggest influences is birds, which comes from their company name. "We use a lot of references like flying, flock, nest etc when creating our ideas".

"The main challenge I face is keeping the raw essence of what hip hop is, but at the same time evolving from the style to create something new".

Like with most art forms there are challenges in creating Hip Hop pieces, "with creating hip hop dance work the main challenge I face is keeping the raw essence of what hip hop is, but at the same time evolving from the style to create something new".

At this year's Sampled, BirdGang will be performing 'What is BirdGang?" which focuses on the new generation of BirdGang. Over 10 years ago the company performed a piece called 'Who is BirdGang' at Breakin' Convention. "That piece was iconic because no one knew who BirdGang were at the time and they definitely left their mark on the Sadler’s Wells stage" Williams explained, "As the years have passed by, BirdGang’s identity is very much known but as we are now the new generation, there is still a question of what we are. This new piece is a clear example of what BirdGang is to Hip Hop theatre and what Hip Hop theatre is to BirdGang".

What is BirdGang? will demonstrate a high level of various dance styles such as hip-hop, house and breaking with dynamic, unique and stylish choreography from Chaldon Williams, Kayla Lomas-Kirton and Kenji Matsunaga.


"Sampled is the place to step outside of your comfort zone and experience the undeniable beauty of dance,"

For those unaware of Sampled At Sadler's Wells in London in February, you'll see the future of dance theatre. "Each company that is performing is very different, so you're guaranteed to see something you've never seen before. Sampled is the place to step outside of your comfort zone and experience the undeniable beauty of dance".

Don't miss BirdGang and other fantastic dance performances at London's Sadler's Wells 8-9 February. You can check out what's on during the celebration of dance as well as book your tickets on the website.

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