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Published on: Monday November 1, 2021


An award-winning choreographic and talent development programme is in place for aspiring young choreographers and dancers from across the East and West Midlands, aged 11 to 19

The team behind Xzibit (pronounced exhibit) Young Creatives are delighted to announce that a new intensive programme for aspiring young hip hop dance creators will launch on Monday 1 November, as they look forward to providing opportunities once again for young people to develop and progress their dance making and choreography skills. Applications for the free project open on Monday 1 November and are open to all young people aged between 11 and 19 from across the whole of the Midlands region. Applications close on Friday 26 November.

Xzibit Young Creatives is an artist-led hip hop dance theatre project that focuses on developing the young creatives of the future through an intensive choreographic mentoring programme. It offers mentoring from internationally renowned choreographers including Gareth Woodward and Jasmine Eccles (Xzibit Young Creatives), Kenrick Sandy MBE (Boy Blue Entertainment) and Jonzi D (Breakin’ Convention), amongst others. The project is designed to provide opportunities for the young people involved to present their own work to live audiences in professional venues. It is suitable for those who have some dance experience and an interest in hip hop.

First conceived in 2011, with the very first talent development project taking place in 2012, Xzibit Young Creatives has successfully been rolled out across the East Midlands every year since. The team behind the project, Artistic Director and Mentor Gareth Woodward and Co-Mentor Jasmine Eccles, have worked to scale-up the programme with Executive Producer Amy Dalton-Hardy, using time during the pandemic to undertake significant development work on the future of the project. Arts Council England has now invested funding from National Lottery Project Grants, showing an unprecedented level of support for hip hop dance in the Midlands.

Xzibit Young Creatives Executive Producer Amy Dalton-Hardy said, “This is a real moment for hip hop dance theatre across the Midlands. With such a significant investment in the project, we’re very excited to provide opportunities for young people to develop and progress their dance making and choreography skills. Through mentoring from some of the industry’s leading hip hop dance theatre pioneers such as Jonzi D and Kenrick Sandy, I can’t wait to witness what the young people make.”

Emma Ponsford, Tour Producer at Breakin’ Convention commented, “Gareth has been instrumental in developing the hip hop scene in Nottingham and the East Midlands. This development programme will enable Xzibit Young Creatives to expand their reach, providing an incredible opportunity for young people across the whole of the Midlands to work with highly skilled hip hop artists in developing their choreographic skills. This activity supports the development of hip hop dance theatre makers across the UK, resulting in the creation of new work by, and relevant to, a diverse community that is so often under-represented in the arts.”

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE, Artistic Director of Boy Blue Entertainment and Guest Mentor added “Xzibit Young Creatives is a hub for the next generation of up-and-coming artists to push and preserve their artistry.”

Applications to take part in the talent development programme for 11- to 19-year-olds from across the East and West Midlands open at 9am on Monday 1 November, via the Xzibit Young Creatives website. Taster workshops and selection days for the project will take place in Birmingham and Nottingham in December for those two locations. From these workshops, ten young people will be taken on as choreographers, with more being selected as dancers.

Over the duration of 12 weeks from January 2022, a full day of workshops will take place every weekend in both Birmingham and Nottingham. The young choreographers and dancers will have their work showcased at the end of this at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham and the Patrick Centre, Birmingham in April. Shorter intensive projects will also take place in Lincoln, Corby, Leicester, Derby and Coventry between April and July 2022, where young creators and dancers can also apply to take part.

Xzibit Young Creatives’ Artistic Director and Mentor Gareth Woodward concluded, “Having developed Xzibit Young Creatives from the ground up over the past decade, we can’t wait for this next chapter in the project’s development. We have curated a team of renowned mentors in the field of hip-hop dance theatre to work with us in delivering what will be an incredible project, and I’m very excited to see the impact it has on this future generation of artists.”

Xzibit Young Creatives 2021/22 project is very kindly supported by the following organisations: Arts Council England, Curve, One Dance UK, Coventry City of Culture Trust 2021, DanceXchange, Inspire Youth Arts, Lakeside Arts, Dance4, Corby Cube, Deda, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Hub Dance.

The following organisations are also offering strategic and/ or sector support: Breakin’ Convention, Artists 4 Artists, Go Hard or Go Home, Marshon Dance, Coventry Dance, Ascension Dance.

Xzibit Young Creatives are grateful for the support of these organisations in inspiring the next generation of Midlands’ dance creators.

To find out more and apply for a free space at the Xzibit Young Creatives 2021/22 project

Click here