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Defying Britain's tick-box culture: Kathak in dialogue with hip-hop

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Prickett,Stacey, (Author)
Journal Article
Publication Date:
Winter; Winter, 2012
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Dance, 76: Music and other arts, performing organizations, England, Birmingham, Sonia Sabri Company, Kathakbox
With questions of identity and multiculturalism remaining at the center of debates in the press, political, and academia arenas, a dance production tackles these issues head on in a surprisingly humorous and accessible way. Birmingham-based Sonia Sabri Company's Kathakbox is a collaborative production exploring the theme of ticking boxes, which sets out to challenge preconceptions about identity. Four specialists in kathak, hip-hop, African Caribbean, and contemporary dance are joined by three musician-vocalists who eschew instruments, utilizing their voices and bodies to create a vibrant rhythmic score influenced by a cosmopolitan mix of styles. Aesthetic and ideological meeting points occur onstage in the hour-long show, while counter-hegemonic possibilities emerge in associated workshops. The article explores how the narrative potential of kathak opens the way for Muslim women participants to delve into movement possibilities and improvisational potential of both the South Asian dance form and hip-hop.