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Freshmess - a fusion of styles

Company background

Founded in 1996 by artistic director Allan Irvine and fellow dancer Wallace Sulley, Freshmess perform and teach a unique blend of contemporary dance and hip hop.

Full company; Photo: Nico Major The company’s focus is centred on an interest in hip hop and street dance, and with a professional dance background the company has created an innovative and accessible form of movement which appeals to all age groups.

The movements Freshmess perform and teach are derived from the original hip hop styles, such as Toprock, Uprock, Bboying, Lockin’ and the many Poppin’ styles.

Working with a wide range of choreographers such as Frank McConnell, Paul Joseph, and Christine Devaney, who bring their own style and experience, has enabled the company to evolve and explore the merging of different dance styles which is unique to their work.

Since their start Freshmess have completed numerous teaching, performance and development posts in London and Scotland including five annual Choreographic Residencies (1997 – 2001) at Dance Base.

Freshmess performances

Performance projects by Freshmess have included:

Freshmess (1996) – a self-titled duet

Combo (1999) – a quartet exploring the connections between street moves, contemporary and hip hop, with music by Phil Bancroft. This production earned them a Herald Angel Award and a Herald Devil Award at the 1998 and 1999 Edinburgh Fringe.

Tables (1999) – created by Artistic Director Allan Irvine, saw the introduction of another hip hop element – the turntables.

Innit...Innat (2002/03) produced for the company by Scottish choreographer Frank McConnell with music by Martin Bennett. Freshmess toured this production through out Scotland and performed an extract of the production at the Scottish Showcasing event Off Kilter in 2003.

Company dancers Matt and Aljos; Photo: Nico Major

History of hip hop

The roots of hip hop are founded around a culture and a way of living, through which a dance style has evolved. hip hop originated in the South Bronx in the late 70’s/early 80’s, despite its recent founding, it has become a tremendous influence on not only American but also global culture.

Freshmess company dancers; Photo: Nico Major It has been a creative output for many people and gone down in history as one of the most important art forms to emerge in the last few decades. Hip-hop’s roots run deep in African dance, but it also shares steps with jazz

Hip hop glossary

Hip-hop dialects differ from dancers, cities, coasts and countries. There are however, some terms which are more widely spread, below glossary offers a sample of theses.

  • Bboys / Bgirls –  The ‘B’ is for breaking or break-dancing, and is the terminology used for a boy / girl, break-dancer.
  • Locking – Originally called the Campbell lock after its creator, West coast dancer Don Campbell. It is precise movements that ‘lock’ or stop in place before the next movement begins.
  • Poppin – Movement with elements of mime, made by flexing the muscles and joints to the beat of the music.
  • Spins – Turns done on an isolated body part e.g. head, knees, shoulders.

Freshmess 2004

Freshmess will be toured their production Triple Bill through out Scotland and England in October and November 2004 . This production was premiered earlier this year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to sell-out events.

For more information, contact allan@dancebase.co.uk.

 Supported by the National Lottery through Scottish Arts Council

See also
* Dance Base
* Citymoves Dancespace
* Scottish Youth Dance
* Dance House
* The Space
* Scottish School of Contemporary Dance
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