FABRIC is committed to encouraging and supporting inclusivity within the creative arts sector. We want to use our platform to ensure a variety of voices and experiences within the industry are heard. Meet some of our staff and the amazing people we work with across a variety of our projects and discover their story and experience of working with us.
Introducing Omar Spence
Omar was an associate artist for ‘Roaming Dance’ – the Gallery37 North co-commission by DanceXchange (DX) & Punch Records as part of BIDF 2021.
Omar was paired with Joseph Toonga of Just Us Dance Theatre to complete a period of professional development, shadowing Joseph and the company to gain knowledge and experience of working behind the scenes on a commission of this scale. Omar also performed as part of the ensemble cast of local people for Just Us Dance Theatre’s ‘Born to Protest’, presented at Handsworth Park on 25 September 2021.
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Who is Omar Spence?
Kidd Ronin aka KiRo, started dancing at 18 initially inspired by his father and godfathers who were part of the first generation of breakers in the UK. He ventured first into breaking, initially joining up with a crew from Wolverhampton called Transit Trix who introduced him to other street styles such as Popping, Locking, Hip Hop Freestyle and House. This led to performing, battling and eventually founding the second generation to his father and godfather’s crew, “Reckless”.
I truly enjoyed and appreciated my time working with Just Us Dance Theatre. I think it was a piece that tackled some very core issues we face as black people today in a very clear, unfiltered and genuinely beautiful manner. It’s been a very enlightening and validating experience for me that I shall carry forward to inform all my work going forward especially in my wish to display my blackness in all it’s facets.
Who is Just Us Dance Theatre?
Just Us Dance Theatre is a forefronting Hip Hop organisation connecting dance communities internationally. It actively supports early career artists and up-skills young dancers who are generally underrepresented in the mainstream.
Committed to removing the geographic, economic and social barriers that prevent people from taking part in publicly funded activities, JUDT uniquely brings together dancers and creatives from broad variety of backgrounds including Hip Hop, Contemporary dance and the African diaspora, aiming to Inspire, Nurture & Support.
What is Gallery37 North?
Gallery37 is a creative development programme lead by Punch Records, investing in Birmingham and its young artists through masterclasses, hyper-local commissions, residencies and workshops. PUNCH successfully delivered Gallery37 programmes in 2018 and 2016, featuring public art projects including murals in Handsworth Park and Digbeth.
For Gallery37 2020 PUNCH partnered with Saathi House and several local organisations to commission six new artworks across North Birmingham during 2020-21. The Gallery37 North commissions brought artists from across the UK to north Birmingham for a programme of one off live performances, exhibitions and a first look at permanent art pieces which pay homage to the area and its rich culture and history. Roaming Dance saw two new commissions as part of BIDF 2021 – Joseph Toonga’s ‘Born to Protest’ and Emma Houston & Bellatrix’ ‘Like Mercury’. Find out more about Roaming Dance here.