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Meet the choreographer tackling male suicide through dance

TABOO: Kloe Dean is trying to address male suicide through her work

Life & Style: Your piece at this years Breakin’ Convention has been described by the organisers as a solo work, blending movement, poetry and song. Talk a bit about it in terms of what people who attend can expect.
Kloe Dean: I think Breakin’ Convention have described it correctly. I definitely don’t want to give too much away, but I hope it will move people to taking action and talking more about the subject I am addressing. I have always loved and practiced writing and singing. With this piece, I have built up the confidence and knowledge to utilise and combine the tools to present a new approach from other work I have presented previously.

L&S: Dealing with loss and suicide can be a deeply personal period in a person’s life what gave you the desire to pour your own feelings into Man Up?

KD: I had an urge to share my experience, as the rate of male suicide is extremely high – it’s only in the past year or so that the media has picked up on it and I want to keep talking about it so it doesn’t remain a stigma. Twelve men die every day in the UK from deciding to take their own life and it’s one of the biggest killers of men under 50. I wasn’t aware of how high the statistics were until I started doing more research after my dad decided to take his own life.

L&S: Why did you call it Man Up?
KD: I’ve used ‘man up’ as I believe it is what has been installed into men, especially in the UK, from a young age. Society has continued to display men as the bread winner, the rock and that men do not and shouldn’t cry. I’ve heard ‘man up’ being used in reality as well as TV and films which portray characters who are based on the typical man or what a man should be.

L&S: From your own perspective, why is Breakin’ Convention an important part of the festival calendar? I know you’ve performed there a number of times, besides your own piece – what else are you looking forward to seeing this year?

KD: I have been blessed to have been a part of BC over the past 12 years, performing and creating work. I am looking forward to the new line up as I feel it has a great mix of artists, which is always a great attraction each year and creates a difference and new energy. I love that they have brought WorX back and I am excited to be performing a new approach to a piece I haven’t presented before at BC.

L&S: Jonzi said there aren’t enough black people that attend, mainly because the members of Sadlers Wells take up all of the ticket allocation and by the time our community are aware of the event, they miss out. What should or can be done to remedy this, and should this type of event be held more often?
KD: I think it would be great for BC to partner with Tobi Kyeremateng, who runs the Black Ticket Project, as she is running an initiative to get more young black people to the theatre and to see shows. It would be a great collaboration. It may also be good to hold some tickets in different categories – early bird tickets, general then maybe a last reserve?


CHIEF CHOREOGRAPHER: Kloe Dean

L&S: You’re the founder and chief choreographer of Myself UK Dance, what’s the main objective of the company and how can people get involved?
KD: Myself UK Dance is an all-female hip-hop dance company, who empower strong female dancers – creating eclectic and exciting work covering a range of topics and types of performances. Best way to check us out is on Instagram via @kloedean and @myselfukdance or our website, myselfdance.com.

L&S: You’ve worked all over the world, including on worldwide street dance sensation Blaze – The Show, Nike, The Brit Awards, The Jungle Book, professional cast member of London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and danced in videos and live performances with music artists such as Jennifer Hudson and Rita Ora to name a couple. What’s been your best experience to date and what would you love to add to your collection of experiences?
KD: I absolutely loved performing at the Sydney Opera House and performing as part of Sydney’s NYE countdown. I would like to continue to better myself and my company and share as much knowledge and support as I can to empower others to push for their best and the things they love. I would love to choreograph if not dance for Bruno Mars. I would love to do more work on movement for film and TV as well as artistic music videos – there’s not enough of them.

L&S: You’re resident teacher at Pineapple Dance Studios and Studio 68 London and Rambert – does passing on the knowledge you’ve garnered throughout your dancing career mean a lot to you?
KD: Yes, I definitely appreciate and hold passion over the knowledge I have gained so far in my career. And I wouldn’t of gained it any other way but doing – so I encourage anyone second guessing themselves to just do.

L&S: So, if the rest of 2019 went perfectly what would you want to happen?
KD: I would like to achieve all the goals and creations I have set for 2019 – you’ll have to follow my journey to see what those are.

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