ARTS AND FEATURES — 17 April 2013

Robby will be at Breakin’ Convention with two crews, Bad Taste Cru and the relatively new Kompany Rep

By David Hennessy

Breakin’ Convention has been producing the critically acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre at Sadler’s Wells since 2004. Bad Taste Cru, a crew of dancers all from Belfast, will be appearing at this event as it celebrates its tenth year, May 4-6. The Irish World caught up with Bad Taste Cru’s Robby Graham, AKA Raw-B, ahead of the event. Robby will also be there with his other crew, Kompany Rep: “I can’t wait, it’s exciting. It’s going to be a pretty intense weekend for me performing two pieces with two different companies and looking after the choreography of both. I’m excited about it.”

Now based in Newcastle, Robby has been breaking since he was 15. Bad Taste have long cemented their place in the UK’s bboy hall of fame having represented the UK at both The UK BBoy Championships and Battle of the Year world finals amongst many other accolades.

Involved with Breakin’ Convention since 2007, Robby explains how it inspired him: “2007 was the first time we did a hip hop theatre show. That was me hooked. I started breaking when I was 15, we all started together as mates, but when this whole new world opened through performing in a few hip hop theatre things, it was like: ‘Right I want to learn as much as I can and bring it as far as I possibly can’.

“With Breakin’ Convention then, we went to Battle of the Year and performed an Irish themed show, called Borrowing Heroes and it kind of took the piss out of the whole cliché of the Irishman that likes to drink too much and everything. It was all a bit of fun really, poking fun at ourselves but actually saying: ‘We’re not all lying about in pubs all the time, I think people are misinformed a little bit. Look at what we can do’. While poking fun at ourselves, we were showing our virtuosic skill with it. So we managed to get to the world finals of Battle of the Year with that in Germany which was fantastic. On the B-boy scene, it’s the biggest event in the world really. That was a dream for the whole crew.”

After such success, Robby asked what next and wanting to see a professional dance company operate, he toured for two years with 2Faced Dance Company. Robby has since worked with Ballet Lorent in a tour of La Nuit Intime and choreographed Faust for the Theatre Royal’s 175th Anniversary.

Wanting to incorporate elements from other disciplines into his choreography, Robby set up Kompany Rep who can also be seen at Breakin’ Convention. Robby explains that hip hop has given him a way to express himself: “To be honest it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. I know that’s little bit cheesy and it has been hard work. It’s not an easy thing to learn but I was lucky that I had a crew that was just dedicated to improving and getting somewhere. It struck a chord with us: Tried basketball, football, karate, gymnastics, I was into a lot of different things but none of them struck me as something I could run with. It’s given me a lifestyle, it’s given me a culture that I love, it’s allowed me to travel to places like Rio and Sao Paulo and all over Europe and over to the States, places I would have liked to have seen but I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity unless I was paying for a holiday or something. It’s always been my passion but it’s become my livelihood and everything that I do now.”

Robby choreographed his first piece in 2008 Incognito, which was followed by Council of the Ordinary in 2009. In 2010, he was commissioned to create Aftermath for the Place Prize, a piece informed by experiences of growing up during the Troubles in N. Ireland. He has also  choreographed Riots on Bad Taste youth company Battalions which was selected as the  YDE wild card and most recently created his first solo, All or Nothing as part of Open Art Surgery 2012.

So what is next for Robby? “I just want to continue learning as much as I can and developing as a choreographer. I look at the big choreographers and people whose work I really appreciate. I want to get to that level. I’m not there yet but I’m hoping that I’ll get there in the next few years.”

Breakin’ Convention is at Sadler’s Wells May 4-6. For more information on Robby, Bad Taste Cru or Kompany Rep, you can go to: http://www.breakinconvention.com/.

Print Friendly

Looking back, and forward

Looking back, and forward

November 21, 2014
Making Hayes

Making Hayes

November 14, 2014
Hatred on both sides

Hatred on both sides

November 14, 2014
Striking Gold

Striking Gold

November 11, 2014
Back to where it all began

Back to where it all began

November 11, 2014
Family affairs

Family affairs

November 11, 2014
Being Human

Being Human

November 11, 2014
Gossip girl

Gossip girl

November 04, 2014
Emigration songs

Emigration songs

November 04, 2014
In full Bloom

In full Bloom

November 04, 2014
Life is Duff

Life is Duff

November 04, 2014
Rookie moves

Rookie moves

November 04, 2014
In the name of the father

In the name of the father

November 04, 2014
Escape from the country

Escape from the country

October 31, 2014
Walking the walk

Walking the walk

October 30, 2014
The Crooked Road not taken

Share

About Author

david

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>