Interview: Botis Seva - on his Wild Card programme

Tuesday 15 September 2015 by Carmel Smith

Botis Seva

East London based choreographer and performer Botis Seva started dancing with Avant Garde Youth at the age of 15. He also performed with Impact Dance – and has been making performance pieces across theatre, film and local community work with his company Far From The Norm since 2010. Next week (24 & 25 September) he presents an evening of work as part of Sadler’s Wells Wild Card – a series of programmes that opens the stage to a wide range of adventurous, emerging dance makers….

Your Wild Card evening is billed as ‘presenting hip hop in a new light’ – tell us about it…
It has been a challenging process but enjoyable to watch the work come together. InNoForm is an experience that presents some of the concepts and ideas I have developed over the last two years, in a more concentrated way. The work draws out social and political issues that we are challenged with today – other young Londoners like me, as well as others within the dance field and hip hop politics more widely.

What have you got lined up –and who is taking part?
As well as the main show, there are short, immersive experiences happening throughout the night in other areas of the Sadler’s Wells building. I am working collaboratively with two composers – Torben Lars Sylvest from London and Lauri Achté from Finland in both the Lilian Baylis Studio and the Kahn Theatre. And I have curated performances by three guest artists for the night – Mikey J Asante, UK producer and co-founder of Boy Blue Entertainment, and a British Council-supported collaboration between Lee Griffiths from Far From the Norm and Chouaib Brik a Tunisian b-boy artist and founder of Art Solution.

How did you first get in to dance?
I began dancing at the age of 16 through my school after being introduced to Tony Adigun from Avant Garde Dance. It’s here that I joined Avant Garde Youth and I started to pursue my career.

And did you have professional training?
I studied performing arts at Barking Broadway College before freelancing full time.

How do you describe your dance/movement style?
For me, my movement is uncensored and uncategorised. It is a raw language that is inspired by the content of my work. Yes, the language may have foundations in hip hop; but firstly it is true to the evocative nature of what I am creating. I am not limited by form or vocabulary. I find my own new language.

As well as being a freelance dance artist, you also have your own company – how does that work?
My company Far From the Norm was established in 2010. It has a core of six dancers who work creatively and collaboratively alongside me. Depending on the work and what I require, I sometimes bring in specific dancers who have additional qualities that we need for a project

You’re being mentored at the moment by Hofesh Shechter. What have you been learning from that experience?
It has been a learning curve being mentored by Hofesh, I have learnt to build my work spontaneously and allow everything to develop without being judged or judging it myself.

You’re still only 24 – how do you want your hip hop career to develop?
I want to be back in the studio with my dancers in creation mode, developing our ethos and direction of the work. Ultimately I want to build an international reputation that can allow my work to be seen by wider audiences.

You’re a Londoner – what does working and living here give you?
It gives me the opportunity to create! But also it gives me the opportunity to be stimulated by what is around us and you will find my work reflects this….

Check out the trailer for a taster of Botis Seva’s work…

Botis Seva’s Wild Card is presented in partnership with Breakin’ Convention
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, 24 & 25 September – return tickets only

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