Feature: Recommended by... Sisco

Friday 12 March 2010

Sisco Gomez Sisco Gomez trained in jazz, tap and musical theatre before joining hip hop troupe Culture Shock at the age of 16. He toured Europe with Swedish street dance company Bounce and then moved into the commercial world, dancing with Madonna, Janet Jackson and Jamelia. Sisco now teaches and choreographs and was a judge on BBC1’s So You Think You Can Dance.

Lyndsey Winship asked him for his hot tips on what to see & where to go in London in the next few weeks…

'Blaze' I cannot wait to see Blaze, a hip hop show that’s going to be like the British version of Bounce – a real showstopper. Hip hop has had a negative reputation in the past but I think that stereotype’s been broken. Shows like Into the Hoods, Pied Piper, Bounce and now Blaze have shown that the culture is so much more diverse than guns and gangsters and bling.

Tommy [Franzen] and Lizzie [Gough] from So You Think You Can Dance are both in the show. I met Tommy when we were on the European tour with Bounce. He was one of the first dancers I met who was completely versatile – what can’t he do? He dedicates so much time to training, he takes it to another level. His body is so mature and the way he executes anything is awesome, he’s the epitome of a dancer for me and he’s got a wicked personality to go with it.

Lizzie is like the female version of Tommy. She’s a bit more new school in style but she trains in everything. She comes to my classes at Pineapple, she does ballet, yoga, running, she’s obsessive, and all that dedication shows. She’s an amazing talent.

Someone I would love to choreograph for is Lady Gaga, I can’t wait to see her show. You can expect something eccentric and amazing. She pushes all the boundaries, she’s so theatrical and her choreography really stands out. It goes with her persona – it’s crazy! Her choreographer is Laurie Ann Gibson and she pulls in a lot of genres. It’s old school jazz-inspired but it tends to have a lot of character-based moves. Lady Gaga moves quite quirkily so they’ve captured those movements and made them into choreography. It breaks the stereotype of what [commercial] choreography really is. *[Watch a demo of Laurie Ann Gibson’s choreography for Lady Gaga – left]*

Something else I love going to is Breakin’ Convention. My company Dance2XS performed there three times and I’ll definitely be going this year. Every year it gets a bit more eccentric and the stereotypes of hip hop are broken once more. Breakin’ Convention takes talent from across Europe and around the world and shows you what hip hop is now, gives you the new school flavour and still keeps true to its roots. [Danish crew] Big City Brains are there this year. I saw them battling at Street Dance Kemp in the Czech Republic – they’re really good.

Groove Sanctuary at Madame Jojos There aren’t many clubs where you can see serious dancers but Madame Jo Jo’s is one, although it’s turned more towards house dance now [a street style that combines influences from jazz, tap, lindy hop, vogueing and other forms]. House dance has broken into the British scene but it’s still not very well known. It has African influences, came from the States, went to France and finally came to us. The core of house dance is that you jack to the hi-hat*. You see them clucking their heads, so it’s got this bounce, and then they add their own style and choreography. You learn the basics and then you add your own ‘swag’, as they call it.

A great show is about everything ­coming together ­­ – the story, the lights, the costume, the makeup. But the best dancers are the ones where you can see it comes from the soul. You can tell when someone’s just there for the paycheck; I want someone who dances like it’s the last dance.

Tommy Franzen Links

Lady Ga Ga, O2 Arena, 26-27 Feb Groove Sanctuary, Sundays at Madame Jo Jo’s, 8-10 Brewer St, W1F 0SE. (The next House Dance Competition is on 28 Feb)
Blaze, Peacock Theatre, 11-28 Mar Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells, 1-3 May

* ‘Jacking’ is a repeated rhythmic rocking of the torso/pelvis (a bit like a contraction in jazz); the ‘hi hat’ is the regular ‘tss’ sound on the off-beat in house music.

February 2010

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