Drum the Bass in Association with Dance Umbrella Presents ASSEMBLE
'ASSEMBLE' is collection of emerging dance and music makers aged 14-19 from Croydon who have been mentored over the summer by Croydon-based production company, Drum the Bass, and Dance Umbrella, the UK's longest running international contemporary dance festival.
Auditions were held in June for aspiring dancers, choreographers, and musicians and, over 12 workshops and rehearsals over the summer holidays, 12 hard-working young dancers and musicians developed their skills, worked with each other and created a brand new cross-arts work that will be performed in the Sun Lounge at Croydon's newly opened Fairfield Halls on Saturday October 19th as part of Dance Umbrella's DU: Fairfield Takeover. The workshops and rehearsals were run by award-winning composer, musician and composer Shri Sriram, co-founder of Drum the Bass, and the multi-talented choreographer, dancer and director Jose Agudo.
Beth Peters, Creative Learning Producer at Dance Umbrella commented:
"We are extremely excited to be a part of the Assemble project and are passionate about creating opportunities for young people to develop their creativity and artistic skills, especially in a collaborative context such as this. We are very much looking forward to having the Assemble performances feature in our two-day DU: Fairfield Takeover."
There will be 3 performances: 12.30pm, 2.30pm, and 4.30pm. Each performance consists of two pieces of music and dance and will last for approx. 10 minutes. Six dancers and six musicians have been involved in creating the pieces along with Jose Agudo, Shri Sriram, Milly Bianchini (music assistant) and Yukiko Masui (dance assistant).
"We were bowled over with the number of talented youngsters who came to our Assemble workshops in May and June in Croydon," says musician/composer/producer Shri Sriram
"We had put a call out to young musicians and dancers aged 14-19 who live in the Croydon area and who might be keen to get involved in our exciting new collaborative project with Dance Umbrella, the annual dance festival organisers. The auditions were fantastic - we were really impressed with the number of creative young people who turned up. It proved once again that Croydon is a seriously creative hub! Jose and I were particularly struck by the enthusiasm, ideas, dedication and the sheer energy of our Assemble applicants." (Photo: Shri Sriram, Jose Agudo; photo by Shirin Sriram)
"Once we'd decided on our Assemble cast," adds Jose, "we arranged for them to attend 12 practical workshops over the summer holidays where we helped them to develop their composition and performance skills and their choreographic ideas. They were also able to get to know each other and to learn to work together in creating a wonderful piece of new work that will be performed - for the very first time - to audiences at Croydon Fairfield Halls on October 19th as part of Dance Umbrella's Fairfield Halls Takeover. It's been an absolute blast working with such a talented team of young musicians, dancers, performers and creative people and I think Croydon audiences are going to be very impressed when they see the show."
Shri Sriram is a Croydon resident:
"I am based in Croydon as is my company, Drum the Bass, which Shirin Sriram and I founded 15 years ago. Croydon has loads of talent ranging across various genres, cultures and art forms and we love producing and directing projects that involves Croydon talent. Our pilot project for young people, Young Croydon Composers, was launched last year and culminated in an amazing live performance at Boxpark Croydon last December. Our Croydon Composers project, which puts together professional musicians, composers and performers, made its live debut at Scream Lounge in 2017 and Boxpark Croydon in December 2018. Now, with the fantastic partnership that we've forged with Dance Umbrella and Jose Agudo, we hope to extend the same experience to those involved in dance as well as music with ASSEMBLE performing at the Fairfield Halls on October 19th."
SHRI SRIRAM is a BASCA British Composer Award 2016 winner for his critically acclaimed brass band project 'Just A Vibration'. He pioneered the Asian underground scene with his electronic/triphop duo Badmarsh & Shri and has composed and produced music for theatre, dance, and films including Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi'. Shri is working on a bass-led album produced by the legendary Norwegian jazz musician and composer Bugge Wesseltoft.
JOSE AGUDO trained as a Flamenco dancer in Spain, developed his contemporary dance career with Akram Khan Company, and Shobana Jeyasingh, and studied Kathak under Akram's guidance, making work of his own with various companies. Jose is an international guest teacher with a unique dance vocabulary that sits comfortably between east and west.
DANCE UMBRELLA is London's longest running international annual dance festival which celebrates and presents 21st century dance, choreography and performance from all over the world. Since 1978 DU has been bringing outstanding contemporary dance to London presenting more than 750 artists from 35 countries to over a million people at theatres, libraries, ice rinks, car park rooftops and parks. Dance Umbrella's DU: Fairfield Takeover will present new work in the recently re-opened Fairfield Halls.
FAIRFIELD HALLS is an arts, entertainment and conference centre in Croydon which re-opens on September 16th after a £30 million redevelopment. Since 1962 Fairfield Halls has been a major venue for music, film, theatre, comedy and TV and radio broadcasts. The venue is regularly used for community events, by schools and local performance companies.