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SKILLS: Clash 66

DYNAMIC duo Sébastien Ramirez and Honji are Clash 66, an award-winning contemporary hip-hop duo.

Ballerina turned b-girl, Honji studied dance in Germany for 10 years before dedicating herself to the hip-hop technique of newstyle.

Perennially popular at Breakin' Convention, Sébastien Ramirez is known for his choreographic finesse. Here, he reveals what happens when two dancing cultures collide.

As Honji is from the world of ballet, can you explain how, as a duo, you devise your work?
We both look for our own language and expression and we feed back with each other. But it also causes conflict sometimes, just as much as our communication in everyday life. Honji grew up speaking Korean and German and I grew up speaking French, Spanish and Catalan. Together, we communicate in English yet add elements of our respective languages. Also we create our own way of communicating – this is how evolution works, no?

Can you tell us more about the piece you’ll be performing?
Our research was based on questioning cultural differences when making theatre, using verbal and physical elements and dance. We were also looking at the way we connect with each other in spite of, or thanks to our differences. We bring this together but in an extremely concentrated form, based only on movement.

How do you maintain core hip-hop elements in your work while pushing the boundaries?
The base of my moves are rooted in hip-hop, mostly in b-boying – this is the core element. When it comes to choreographic composition, we are in another medium and this wasn't originally part of the artistic expression of hip-hop dance. Even though Honji did not grow up with this culture, she practiced hard to an astonishing technical level. More than this, she feels hip-hop, when it comes to its values and interaction with others.

How did you find Breakin' Convention the first time around?
Breakin' Convention is one of the main events dedicated to hip-hop dance theatre. It is an amazing place. Sadler's Wells is huge and the audience seems limitless, yet Breakin' Convention is managed by a small crew of warm-hearted professionals and maintains the core values of our genre – and with no stress! Everybody just seems to chill and enjoy it.

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