The Xperience is coming to Berlin.
This March, the Syncopation Society welcomes the Xperience to Berlin! An event created by Rémy Kouakou Kouame where different street dance communities come together to share and learn from each other. The lineup for this edition includes Marie N’Diaye, Felix Berghäll, Nils Andrén, Bianca Locatelli, Malcom Fazeuilh, Jimmy Yudat and Odile Lacides. Rémy is an emblematic figure in the global vernacular jazz community who likes to navigate between the world of street dance and jazz. A multiple solo jazz and lindy-hop champion, as well as an accomplished DJ, Rémy also promotes African-American culture, especially its artistic ramifications in Europe.
The core idea is to explore what many artists and researchers like Angela Andrew or Latasha Barners have called The Jazz Continuum. Jazz is not dead, jazz is alive and its influence is broader than we think. Beyond its own singular life, jazz today lives within the matrix of many other Afro-descendant dances. Hip hop has jazz, house dance has jazz, popping locking… They all have jazz in them, and you can trace how not only their steps but also the values attached to all these dances find their source in jazz culture.
The first step in exploring the jazz continuum at the Xperience is an artistic residency that takes place in the days leading up to the event. This residency brings together artists from different backgrounds and dance styles to share their dance, and their points of view, and to learn from each other. The result of all this exchange culminates in a collaborative performance to be presented on the first night of The Xperience event.
The impact of this residency goes beyond the swing dance community. All of the artists involved are professional dancers with busy careers in their own right. After the Xperience, many of them have expressed a desire to incorporate jazz into their classes and to pass on to their students the new knowledge they have gained about the roots of their own dance.
The second step of The Xperience project consists of a workshop where the artists will share their explorations with a broader audience. The workshop is designed for dancers from different stylistic backgrounds, and not only from the swing dance community. Specific classes will be dedicated to each featured dance style, along with group discussions to explore the existing connections between these dances. The result of their exchanges and their exploration will inspire the presentation for each evening.
Level differentiation is not required as the classes look more like a chill club session than a structured class, as one of our main goals is for the different dance communities to mingle and exchange while taking the classes.
The mix of communities continues during the night parties, The Xperience wants to bring the swing dance community to the club to “burst the swing bubble”. The idea is to have a place where different music styles, dance cultures, and value systems will exist simultaneously. For this reason, the Xperience always looks for connections with the club culture in the country where the event is hosted. In Paris for example people were invited to go to the legendary Parisian party, La Mona, which was celebrating its 15th birthday. And on Sunday the participants had the tickets to go to the Soulful Sunday party, a very much appreciated house dance culture party focused on the dance exchange through cyphers and battles. In Ghent, The Xperience took place during the Ghent Fest, one of the biggest popular festivals in Europe.
The European context
This event is co-financed by the European Commission as part of the Europe Creative program. To establish connections in a European context, every The Xperience edition has to take place in a different European country each time. The aim is to create links not only with the swing dance communities of each place but also open doors and create bridges with the local street dance communities and their culture.