Tag Archives: Kofi

Kofi in a Blaze: Part 3

Written by Mariya Majid

Blaze is one of the most successful street dance shows in the world.  It is directed by Anthony van Laast, who has worked as a choreographer and director for a number of hit musicals, concerts, television performances and films, and he has also directed Bounce the Swedish break dance show.  The show aims to mix West End Broadway with the urban night club scene resulting in a 90 minute blast of highly energetic dance routines with the use of strange props, sophisticated video imagery and dramatic lighting. The show has six choreographers and 12 of the best dancers from the UK to Brazil, three of which are break dancers.

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Kofi attended the first London audition in 2010, a huge number of dancers had turned up hoping to be part of the Blaze cast. Due to there being so many dancers auditioning the elimination process lasted two days. The auditions consisted of learning most of the shows routines and ending with the dancers having to freestyle. After each section had been auditioned, dancers were told if they had been successful. Kofi wasn’t initially selected however the following year he was asked to do the Germany and Holland leg of the tour.

So far Kofi has toured in Australia, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Russia and Thailand, with the potential of more shows being added in Asia and some of these countries being revisited. Kofi found touring Holland and Germany most enjoyable adding that he has however learnt and grown as a dancer in every country he has toured in.

 Kofi and Machine workshop 17-01-13

The show begins with spot lights on a line of funky and colourful trainers, boots and dancing shoes. The dancers then stroll on to the stage finding different items of their costumes and changing their tops from a wall covered in half opened draws and wardrobes, full of jumbled clothes. They then gather at the front of the stage and together put on their trainers. From that point onwards there is a mix of group, duo and solo performances with the use of props such as fridges, televisions and even a large movable sofa that doubles up as a door. The soundtrack switches from R&B to Beethoven to add to the bizarreness of the whole show. At the end the dancers come together to free style, which of course is Kofi’s favourite part, as he is given the freedom to explore the different themes of the show and loves it when during the free styling a dancer performs a move that everybody has seen them practicing hard adding that at that point ‘the vibe, excitement and appreciation that we feel is incredible’.

 Rehearsing for the show is tough, for the first tour Kofi did he rehearsed for two weeks. This has completely changed now and rehearsal time depends on many factors like how close the last tour was from the current one or if dancers have been changed. Kofi has even been added on to a show two days after it had been fully put together! They usually rehearse for full days from 10am to 6pm and occasionally half days. Sometimes they have a half day of rehearsals followed by a show that evening.

Kofi describes working with the cast of Blaze as effortless as they have bonded well and created what feels like a family unit, which only grows stronger with every performance. They all encourage, support and learn from each other. ‘Each dancer that I’ve worked on this has been a very positive influence on my future as a dancer, we’ve all supported, shared concepts and styles, and developed whilst sharing the time on each tour’.

 

Working on Blaze for Kofi has been a fantastic experience that he greatly appreciates but says it’s important to be weary of all obstacles that come your way whilst on tour. So below is a list of Advice from Kofi for those of you that are hoping to one day be a dancer touring on show:

  •  Know exactly what you’re putting yourself into. A long time away may feel like a working holiday, so you have to be strong willed and constantly aware of the positives and negatives of touring.
  •  Pack carefully. Don’t over pack as you have to carry your own luggage
  •  Manage your own finances. Make sure your good with money and you know the worth (price) of your skills
  •  Always be humble. You’re not a superstar!!
  •  Try to travel around the country you’re working in. Hip hop is everywhere, so learn as much as you can if you get the chance to.
  •  Be fit for YOU, not the job. Train to keep fit in general, not just because your talent got you the job
  •  Finally remember it’s not just a job, it’s a passion. So take in each opportunity.

 

The Year so Far

Written by Mariya Majid

 We’re only coming to the end of the third month of the year and its already started in a blaze for Rain Crew, literally! with Kofi touring in Australia as part of the international sensation that is the Blaze dance show. The show features twelve of the best street and break dancers in the world, including Neguin, Skycheif, Lagaet and many more. Read K in a Blaze to find out where else they have been touring and more about the show.

January also saw Italipino take part in the UK qualifier for the largest International standup-dance event,  Juste Debout’s. Italipino entered the toprock category under the Judgment of Bboy Mouse, Bboy Spin and DJ Renegade. The eliminations consisted of eighty competitors, each with 30 seconds on the clock to showcase their talent and impress the judges. Out of the eighty hopefuls only eight were selected, Italipino being one of them. His first round was against friendly rival Short Bread from the all female dance group Boadicea.

Upon hearing the first few seconds of the track Italipino recalls ‘I don’t know what came over me, but something said go hard and burn’ resulting in an intense battle and a unanimous vote from all three judges pointing in his  favour, securing him a place in the semi finals.

In the Semi-Finals the Pinoy boy went up against Ed Spoons from Ghetlow Pirates with only one round to prove themselves.

 

Unfortunately this was the end of this particular journey for Italipino as the judges voted for Ed Spoons two votes to one. Italipino had entered this same competition two years earlier without passing the qualifying round and he believes that aside from training,  his change in mindset made a huge difference and helped him progress further than he had previously. He learnt that you have to ‘focus and just dance like no one’s watching, it’s just you and the music’.

While Italipino battled it out with some of the best in the UK; Clint, Chilly, FM, Jetlag and P-Star were performing the closing act for the hip-hop show that is Breakin Rules 2013 in Dundee Scotland. The piece titled, ‘We Get Down!’ was a high energy performance with each dancer expressing themselves as a unit. Needless to say, the audience was not disappointed.

February began on a high with the crew setting off on a road trip to Antwerp, Belgium for Raw Circles 2013. Explosif made is way from Paris France to meet the other Rain members Clint, FM, and Italipino. Raw circles is an international event with the main feature being a 2on2 main event against some of the best pairs in the world. This particular competition was a first for the group and it was the first Jam Rain student Dylan had ever attended and battled at.  Both Clint and Italipino entered the Toprock battle and were matched-up against each other in the preliminaries. Clint was successfully selected for the top 16 eventually making it to the finals.

The finals was an intense two rounds against Bboy Shuhei from Found Nation Crew (Japan)  and ended with Clint as the victor in a unanimous decision from the judges.

Wild G has also been very busy by performing a ‘powerful’ and emotional piece on series four of Sky’s Got to Dance.  Wild G brought judge Kimberley to tears and progressed him onto the semi-finals along with youth dance sensation IMD who he also mentors. With guidance and choreographed routines from both Wild G and Omar A. Awuah the dance crew IMD went on to become finalists of the show with their ‘energetic’ and lively routine.

Explosif who is currently residing in Paris has been training hard and developing a variety of different styles which he says is ‘opening his mind to new ways of thinking in relation to movement’ with his focus on ‘learning and sharing by exchanging in dance clubs and workshops with inspirational French dancers’. Its also clear that being in Paris also makes it easier to attend events taking place on the continent. As February drew to a close Chilly and FM visited Explosif attending Just for Fun Rockerz where they ciphered the night away and to Chelles Battle Pro 2013. Chilly found Battle Pro to be particularly inspiring and for him, it was a reminder of how much more he has to push himself. He also spent a few weeks training with VO in Madrid where he found his time there to be motivating to say the least. VO has been representing in Spain travelling the whole country competing in breaking competitions taking place there for the last year. As march draws to a close, VO will returning to the UK for a short while to spend time with the crew, battle and prepare for the future.

The rest of the year is set to be just as hectic and packed as the first few months have been. Now the crew have R16, Outbreak, Yalta, Summer Jam and IBE to look forward to in the coming months.

Kofi in a Blaze: Part 2

The Russian leg of the Blaze tour happened beterrn the 4th and 26th November 2012 taking the Dutch company and its cast to its coldest climates yet.

So far performances have been in Holland, Bangkok, Germany, Paris, London, Italy and our next destination in January 2013 will be Australia.

My 1st tour with Blaze was September 2012 in Holland for a one month stint and this was my 1st international tour.

Why Russia? Well after touring most of Europe, the Russian theatre really liked the package that Blaze put together and thought it would be a good investment as I think the case has been each of the other countries that it has toured in. The show itself is very fun, and tries to give the “wow” factor throughout. 3 world class bboys are always part of the cast, as well as a pool of experienced professional choreography dancers, Soloists, and freestylers.

Hopefully after watching the show, you’ll have a sense of not caring how technical each performed style has to be but instead be left with the desire and belief to ” JUST DANCE”.

 

Read Part 1 [HERE]

Kofi in a Blaze

So here’s an update:

8 shows in and the tour is going good. Moscow public are very stern in nature, but make it known (vocally) when they like the show which hasn’t fully sold out, but none-the-less, our performances doesn’t slip.

Between performances my time has been spent getting to grips with my body, while adapting to the climate and show as well as getting as much guidance on the techniques of moves I’m currently building. I can honestly say that everyone in the cast is on the same page with that.

the trick is to not overdo your training knowing that you possibly have 2 shows a day.

We have 6 shows left, then we head to Saint Petersburg.

The Show?… Blaze. The Place?… Russia. The cast?… Some of the best dancers imported from all over the world to put on an amazing must see performance .

 

 

Read part 2 [HERE]

By Kofi Mingo  see www.blazetheshow.com for more info.