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A series of bespoke micro-commissions specifically for Midlands-based Hip Hop dance artists as part of Gallery 37 North (G37n) and the renowned Birmingham International Dance Festival (BIDF) running 17 June – 3 July 2022.

SONDER by Marius Mates

SONDER is a moving theatre performance inspired by conversations with Birmingham-based migrants and explores the challenges, experiences and issues of immigration. In SONDER, choreographer Marius Mates fuses Hip Hop elements with theatre and spoken word in order to capture ‘the mover’ and his journey. He struggles to fit in but celebrates every success and every failure he has.

About Marius

A complex dancer with over 15 years of experience, I am a local resident who established myself here back in 2010. Originally from Romania, I have experience in theatre productions, delivering indoor and outdoor performances. My background is in breaking, which I often fuse with theatre elements to create original, exhilarating work. I approach my style of dance with courage and find that experimenting with movement is such a powerful trait to have when being a dancer.

Previous experiences have helped me shape my dance style, and recent work includes research projects with Coventry and Warwick University. I am also one of the 15 cultural leaders of the Coventry City of Culture which allows me to focus on community work and my future prospect as an artist.

I am an avid breakdance competitor, winning several worldwide competitions such as RedBull BC One Romania 3 years in a row and the national Breaking Competition. I am also one of the semi-finalists in Romania’s Got Talent 2022.

This commission will allow me to celebrate my practice in an unexpected way. As an immigrant myself, I feel deeply connected with the piece which will honour the humbleness of being a stranger. As Commonwealth Games open their doors, this opportunity will honour artists talent. I will also have the opportunity to connect and work with new artists, challenging my choreographing skills and allowing me to build new relationships within the arts sector.

The Raw by Nathan Marsh

Exploring the notions of identity within the dance style of krump. Focusing on its stereotypes and the misconceptions they may hold. A challenge for the viewer to alter their perspective on what they initially see and feel. This is a piece based on community and emotion – a reflection of Marshon Dance Company, a reflection of Birmingham – Celebrating the multi-layered, character-filled, dance style that is krump.

About Nathan

Nathan Marsh is a dancer and choreographer from Birmingham UK, co-director of Marshon Dance Company – a Birmingham based company that provides high-level training for the community, specialising in street dance styles and choreography. Nathan’s specialities are hip hop and krump and has also trained in house dance, popping and breaking. With a long list of performance and choreography credits, Nathan has stepped into the world of developing work for hip hop/street dance theatre, all the while focusing on the dance community of Birmingham.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to create and express through a dance style that I love, with people from my community, in my hometown! I am excited to develop my practice as a choreographer, showcase work in a new setting, continue to develop my relationship with BIDF & Punch Records and to build connections across the city.

The Midlands Made & G37n opportunity builds on the success of our previous co-commissions in 2021, where artists Joseph Toonga and Emma Houston & Bellatrix received commissions to premiere new Hip Hop works engaging with communities in North West Birmingham.