Interview with Robert Hylton: I think, I’m a dance junkie!

Robert Hylton is an ‘urban classicist’… being continuously tainted with the virus called street art in its most refined sense…

As a youngster he was involved in the UK’s underground Hip Hop scene (break dance and popping techniques included), then jazz dance&stylez, and after a while he realized that contemporary dance might work for him too in a very coolish way…

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


As a very young artist he was a member of many street art crews, for instance Bamboozle; then he decided to blast himself to the next level by studying contemporary dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

In 1999 he founded Robert Hylton Urban Classicism which could be considered as a dance company, production crew and a training platform within whose Robert ‘transmits’ his knowledge and artistic vision.

As a real ‘gimme some tunes’ artist he often collaborates with respectable DJs, among them also with Billy Biznizz - UK’s well known DJ, producer and remix-maestro who did some stuff for the House of Pain, Jade, N.W.A, 4Hero and Mark Morrison.


Robert Hylton performed at many international festivals either as a solo dancer either with his own crew. He was a member / guest performer of several dance companies, such as: Jonzi D, JazzXchange and Phoenix Dance. Hylton is also well known for his hip hop/art/educational movies: Urban Classicism South Side, Two Sugars with My Hip Hop please…, The Real Thing, Frames, Urban Classicism, Urban Voodoo, Jaffaman, Simmetry, etc.

This spring he spent some time in Zagreb (Croatia) with b-girls and b-boys from the School for Contemporary Dance ‘Ana Maletic’ and the local company What Evaa in order to work with them… they successfully presented their skills almost two months ago where else but on the street…

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


I took few minutes of his time to chat a little bit with him at Dance Week Festival, and here is some stuff on street art from Jaffaman, ops… Robert Hylton’s perspective…

Yo, Robert! The blood in your veins is the blood of a street artist, somebody artistically raised on asphalt with urban background… those are your foundations… what sort of ‘switch’ has happened when you decided to accept other forms of expressiveness?

R:
I think I’m a dance junkie, you know. The challenge of learning to dance was good. Culturally, hip hop is in my heart and my brain. Contemporary as well, it’s just a part of dance and I found that I was able to learn it, so I kept it, but I always returned. I mean, I never left hip hop and it was always there. But I enjoy both paths and that’s why I bring to the next generations of contemporary dancers discipline and how to work in the studio. So, fortunate I’m able to kind of help other people. If they just wanna stay hip hop - often come straight hip hop dancers to work with me; but when you are in a rehearsal studio and you make them work, there has to be some rules.

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


It’s obviously that you take care a lot about soundz in your artwork… not just ‘gimme some beatz and tunez’ attitude… but a lot of classics, down tempo, trip hop, ambient… you mix it all… seems like they are all equal in your choreographic language? Basically, how do you treat sounds in your work?

R:
If I like it, I’m drawn to it. I think, even with hip-hop music… when hip-hop first came through, it was an amalgamation of many many different sounds. There was no formula, it was whatever the DJ thought could work for the crowd and listen to. Now, it’s a formula. It’s a straight-forward beat, and it loses its reliance it has back then. So, specifically for this project, before I came, because I didn’t know anyone, I just put a lot of different types of music in my computer and then when I met everyone I just thought: Well, this music makes a language to particular people to keep them in the comfort zone. And I think the music ballet is an important part of dance. If I like it doesn’t matter what it sounds like as long we dance to the music, whether it’s classical or ambient, as long it helps to those textures more then anything else.

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


How did you manage to get the street vibe in your choreographies to fit in your style to theatre stage? Do you even think about that? Does it concern you at all?

R:
I think it’s a part of a natural evolution. Hip hop is young, about 35 years in its growth from the first wave in the seventies, and then in the eighties it was like the big media hustle, now it’s defined like: who the body- architect is; what the vocabulary is; what the history is and I think that’s a rich culture. Self-expression, inventiveness and all this things. So, I think that now there are more tools and it’s a combat to any kind of cultural birocracy in a way of policy. So, like ballet was a peasant dance, was a folk dance when it started. Hip hop is now a folk dance that is changing. You know, it’s a stage of a natural evolution at the moment. Now teachers require knowing the name of every single move in hip hop like in ballet. When you know the name of every move, then you know what the vocabulary is. Therefore, you are building something. It becomes a dance that grows with a form and structure, now excuse to the old ways of thinking.

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


You run workshops and dance classes all around the planet. What do you want to accomplish with your dance classes?

R:
It’s an experience of teaching and developing. Again, wherever I was: New Zealand, Croatia, Indonesia, etc. going with the basic knowledge and vocabulary with the intention to get everyone to dance, to challenge everyone. It’s inside of me and it’s the challenge that I like and it’s always very successful. Then, this education challenge is here… And this is what it takes for me to get on stage, basically. When you come with the honesty, all the things you use are the fundamentals of dance and the experimentation. When people don’t know the fundamentals of dance I would teach them fundamentals of dance. I would challenge them with experimentation. My intention is, wherever they are, to try to push them further.

You get the satisfaction from it…

R:
Yeah, I think I get the satisfaction from it because the more they push themselves forward the more environment in the culture grows, the more it looks to be growing up, the more looks to be organized and I think it just helps the general development of dance, whether it’s fusion, contemporary, hip hop or whatever is hip hop in it’s purest form.

Photo: Robert Hylton Urban Classicism (c)


What do you think about Banksy, the graffiti artist… you probably know that some people are buying his artworks for a lot of bucks, an artwork that essentially belongs to the street and to all people?

R:
Yeah, I mean Banksy is a graffiti artist in a graffiti sense; he is not necessarily from hip hop background and all that stories. He is very clever, great political references and he does a great job. Banksy is definitely an outlaw, like the older graffiti artists were, when nobody knows who he is - in that sense is hip hop; and he takes big risks and gets away with it. But he is also a businessman. I know his manager; he is a good friend of mine.

It’s a good marketing…

R:
Yeah, it’s a good marketing as long he keep that outlaw that it’s all business and that street artist can be on that level. I think, back again to dancers, that hip hop performers even when they know they wanna be b-boys, they have to learn some business; which is a part of organization when you are professional: contacts, business negotiating and all this. It takes them away from not just dancing on the street. Banksy was not just painting on the walls, he has books out, and his work is in art galleries. If his work is not in the gallery he will sneak by himself and put it there (laughs).

Robert, TNX a lot!

This interview was originally published on Personal Cyber Botanica: www.lomodeedee.com)

Views: 58

Tags: art, break, choreographer, contemporary, culture, dance, hiphop, hylton, interviewlm, lomodeedee, More…performance, robert, street, theatre.

Comment

You need to be a member of dance-tech to add comments!

Join dance-tech

Close Collaborators

welcome to dance-tech.net

Welcome!

dance-tech.net provides movement and new media artists, theorist, thinkers and technologists the possibility of sharing work, ideas and research, generating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborative projects.

dance-tech.net is a social networking website connecting people concerned about innovation and experimentation on movement  arts  and collaborative creativity in our contemporary world,  its evolving embodied practices knowledge, its stories and histories.

We have developed a digitally networked community that has natured on other collaborative initiatives between local and global actors.

So, dance-tech.TV and .net are FREE...

but it is supported by the generosity of its members.

 

You must SIGN-UP to interact with dance-tech.net members enjoy the social networking features
It is FREE!!


questions?

marlon@dance-tech.net

dance-tech is produced by Marlon Barrios Solano

Creative Commons License
All content uploaded @
http://www.dance-tech.net
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

MEMBERS ARE RESPONSIBLE ABOUT RESPECTING THE LICENSES OF THEIR UPLOADED CONTENT.

LICENSE YOU CONTENT
LEARN MORE ABOUT CREATIVE COMMONS

 

DONATE!

The use of dance-tech.net and dance-tech.tv is FREE

You don't have to be a member to help!

Collaborate to keep it free of cost for all its members!

If you find any joy & value in it, please consider a modest contribution.

Monthly fee: $3.00 per month*

Use Paypal to support dance-tech.net

WOULD YOU LIKE MAKE A ONE TIME DONATION?
Support dance-tech.net making a single donation of any amount.
Thank you!

Contact:

dancetectv@me.com

for more information

USE THE INTERNAL DONATION SYSTEM IF YOU ARE A DANCE-TECH.NET MEMBER

watch dance-tech.tv

BOARD and ads:

DISCOUNTS FOR MEMBERS!!!



Promote Your Page Too