HUSH HUSH HUSH: history and artistic vision
The DC 10 – Wings for Arts organisation was founded in 1993. At the Berchem Cultural Centre the question of how contemporary dance and youth (culture) could be brought together was given careful consideration. This gave rise to HUSH HUSH HUSH, a makeshift dance company headed by Abdelaziz Sarrokh (b. 1972, Tangier, Morocco), with limited VFIK- project-funding. Together with Berchem CC and the Vooruit Arts Centre as co-producers, as well as artistic assistance from Alain Platel, HUSH HUSH HUSH set out to discover how contemporary dance and the existing diverse youth culture could meet on an intercultural level.
The fact that HUSH HUSH HUSH gets the adrenaline going with its brilliant crash dance hits, is not only evident from the interest shown by many Belgian and foreign organisers. HUSH HUSH HUSH is also able to attract a wild, young and varied audience that was previously disinterested in any theatrical form of dance. HUSH HUSH HUSH has opened to them the doors of the dance-loving cultural centres, and has also made its mark on this new trend.
In France, audiences have seen the results of hip-hop and contemporary dance coming together for some time now. Groups such as Black Blanc Beur, Aktuel Force, Compagnie, Azanie, Accrorap, Out of Control and many others go on extensive tours of the country (and far beyond its borders), and the theatre is often filled with the applause of an elated young audience. The necessity of having such projects in Flanders is mainly the result of a rapidly increasing number of subcultures, of which hip-hop is an important representative, which experience the need to develop. So far, HUSH HUSH HUSH is the only representative of this international trend in Flanders.
The words of Katie Verstockt, dance journalist in the ‘1998 Cultural Ambassadors for Flanders’ brochure, speak for themselves:
“Sarrokh is a young dance artist, but together with a handful of other talented colleagues, he is pressing to become the new successor... to what is referred to outside Belgium as ‘The Flemish Wave’... Sarrokh is all the rage... HUSH HUSH HUSH has travelled half way round the world in the last two years...”
The words of hip-hop expert Dirk Verstockt speak volumes:
“In Belgium there is HUSH HUSH HUSH and nothing else. As yet, Namur Break Sensation, Crazy Force, Belgian Hip Hop, Alliance and others are all part of the hip-hop circuit only. HUSH HUSH HUSH was the first Belgian dance company to open the doors of the cultural centres. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of their French colleagues, they make dance productions that aim to give a broad outline of the (Belgian) hip-hop scene.”
The artistic vision of HUSH HUSH HUSH is therefore clearly part of an international trend. In Flanders, this dance company stimulates the innovation of the dance landscape, as well heightening the interest of a new audience for dance in general. The power of the second production, Via, after the debut of Carte Blanche, and the response to K’Dar as HUSH HUSH HUSH’s third production under the artistic leadership of Abdelaziz Sarrokh, is sure proof that the enthusiasm of the very first fans was well-founded. Based on the achievements of the three previous productions, and well-resourced, it is hoped that the 2Pack production will achieve a further international breakthrough. Working with as diverse a group of dancers as possible, 2Pack is a dance production that will propel Flemish contemporary dance further into this new century.
In 1997 HUSH HUSH HUSH gave 49 performances in Belgium, and in 1998 26. In 1997 there were 30 performances abroad. Besides 15 performances in the Netherlands, there were also 2 in France, 7 in Germany, 4 in the United Kingdom and 2 in Switzerland. In 1998 the number of performances abroad increased to 43. Besides 18 performances in the Netherlands, there were 6 in France, 12 in Germany, 3 in the United Kingdom, 3 in Switzerland and, for the first time, 1 in Italy. The international successes of past productions have lead to the development of contacts with international co-producers (see below). Apart from the international tour, 2Pack is also an overall international breakthrough for HUSH HUSH HUSH.
As a Flemish company, HUSH HUSH HUSH is the only one of its kind that is also part of a European circuit that works hard to bring the performing arts to the youth. HUSH HUSH HUSH is also living proof that there is an interest in cultural diversity in Flanders. Permanent producers such as Berchem CC and the Vooruit Arts Centre, as well as the consistent support of Les Ballets C. de la B., assures HUSH HUSH HUSH of good care at home in Flanders that will help it to establish its position internationally. The success of the company is dancing proof of the cultural openness of Flanders, and an illustration of the growing emancipation of an increasingly diverse Flemish population.
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