Learn to dance with Project X

Voice caught up with Scotland based dance company Project X about how they have weathered the COVID-19 storm, and their upcoming projects, as part of the Artist Workshop with Voice series, funded by Arts Council England.

Learn to dance with Project X

Project X was created in 2017 by Mele Broomes (director, organiser producer), Ashanti Harris (visual artist, researcher, workshop organiser), and Rhea Lewis (creative director).

Project X is a platform for African and Caribbean Diasporic dance. They have collaborated with a plethora of international artists as they champion the importance of learning the history and perpetuating a narrative on their terms.

"It's never just what the three of us want, we collaborate. [We] make people aware of the uniqueness of everybody's individual experience, and how it doesn't look a certain way, and how it isn't always the same thing: it's vast and wonderful," says Ashanti as she talks about the reason for creating Project X and their mission.  

Project X was partly born out of the anger of being told that essentially there was no room for what they were trying to achieve, because "it doesn't exist here [Scotland]". Mele and Ashanti were not being heard as Black artists in the dance and performance industry. Instead of turning away in the face of adversity, they turned that anger into excitement to champion what is important to them.

Since 2017 Project X has collaborated with artists internationally, including artists in South Africa, Nigeria. They have spread their message throughout Glasgow, performing in some of Glasgow's festivals including 'Let's Dance', by teaching workshops in schools and delivering easter and summer programmes in the community.

Mele and Ashanti are two extremely talented individuals who are a testament to the fact that obstacles should not stand in the way of making your artistic vision materialise.

Interview with Project X

Voice interviewed Project X members Mele Broomes and Ashanti Harris on Instagram live on 8th October. Catch-up with the full interview here: 

Learn to dance with Project X

Following the Instagram live interview, Ashanti and Mele joined us on Zoom to host a 30-minute workshop where they demonstrated dance warm-up exercises and a dance routine they choreographed whilst instructing participants on how to move like them.

Mele and Ashanti are great instructors. In a pre-COVID society, you can imagine the front of the studio is where they are in their element. With a natural flow and accessible dance routines for all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities, they have made their art form accessible to everyone, whilst being visually unique.

They do not subscribe to your typical warm-up manoeuvres, you can see the incorporation of dance in every element, whether they are demonstrating a stretch or merely raising their arms to the ceiling.

When Mele and Ashanti performed their routine to Starboy's 'Soco', it was a small demonstration of what you can imagine a packed studio with them would resemble. You could see the Afro-Caribbean influence and the energy they put into every move. They aim to create dance that tells a story of their background, history, and influence, and that was evident from the brief demonstration we were able to enjoy on Zoom.

Project X dance work

For more of Project X's work, previous workshops, and upcoming work, view the link below:

https://www.projectxplatform.co.uk/


More artist interviews and workshops

Thanks to Arts Council England, we're excited to be offering you a whole series of artist workshops. Join us as we interview creatives and then hand over to them to run a workshop! Perfect if you're doing Arts Award and need to find out about an artist's work and career.

Author

Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

25-year-old writer/blogger living in London. I have an MA in publishing, a BA in creative writing & journalism and am a featured author in The Women Writers’ Handbook. I write about all kinds of things but nothing beats a good opinion piece!

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