Generation’Z – A Show by Macaulay Nicholson

How Macaulay Nicholson’s Generation’Z unified our minds

On January 20th, Manifest Nation‘s Macaulay Nicholson curated his first dance platform, Generation’Z, with support from London Studio Centre. This may not seem a great feat until you consider these important points:

Macaulay graduated in 2019

Mac has, essentially, just graduated. His work ethic and relationship with the school and industry peers stood him in great stead when he suggested the dance show. It may be hard to fathom that a new graduate could manage a project of this nature, but Macaulay does not shy away from challenges.

Most performers are still studying

The vast majority of the cast are students at London Studio Centre and mainly first and second years. This meant that not only were most artists training all day, they also had to fit rehearsals around this.

Some artists were invited from outside LSC which added an interesting dynamic to the creation process. In our cast alone we had artists from University of East London, London Metropolitan University and elsewhere. This project was a learning experience for all!

Rehearsal for Macaulay Nicholson show Generation'Z
‘A Rite of Passage’ cast. L-R: Tia, Thaïs, Dyal, Elley-May, Charli-Jean & Daisy

The invited choreographers were an eclectic bunch

When Macaulay invited me in October to create a piece of work for the show, I was very honoured to have been asked. Other creatives on the bill included Poppydene Lingham, Vikki Clark, Ryan Sarpong, Ainsley Rickets and more.

Mac specifically aid to me, “Just do what you do”, and that was all the guidance I needed to come up with ‘A Rite of Passage’.

Rehearsals took place in the run up to Christmas

Please know that 16th-20th of December was quite an unusual time for me to conduct dance rehearsals with a group I’d never worked with before.

There were auditions in October where choreographers were able to see how most LSC dancers moved. The workshopping process on December 16th was the first time I got to work with my cast.

Daisy and Dyal work it out at Generation'Z training

My highlights from Generation’Z

Instilling belief in the team

A number of my cast had little experience in Street Style Dances. Considering the piece we created had full sections of HipHop, Popping, Waacking and Breakin’ and overt characterisation, it was a challenge.

With the addition of Dyal and Kadeem from Manifest Nation, it built a ‘stylistic backbone’ to the piece. I have to give special mention to Daisy, Amy, Tia, and Lucy, all of whom had to explore some pretty new movements. Wait til you see how these people moved!

Fleshing out a challenging concept

The stimulus for my piece was the word ‘Training’. An image which struck me was the early part of the cult classic film, ‘300’. Early in the movie, the narrator talks about the list of tests a young man must overcome to be a Spartan. I knew that in my piece I was going to need:

  • One main character to sew the narrative together
  • Some interesting costumes
  • A range of dance styles to reflect different characters
  • Some quite tall girls (!)
  • To sell my idea initially

It was pretty cool to create a narrative of this nature and , let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be an Immortal?!

The connection of spirits

I’m going to use these next 3 pictures to reflect how this whole process made me feel

This cast right here! L-R Elley-May, Tia, Kadeem, Daisy, Kayode, Austin, Sandra, Thaïs, Amy, Charli-Jean, Dyal, Dark Kent

Honestly, I cannot wait to work with these people again.

The moment Macaulay Nicholson let his hair down onstage

When you are in charge of something big, it can be hard to enjoy it, but Mac found this special time right here.

This portrait of Thaïs and Daisy (who had never met before this project) reflects an amazing sense of togetherness I RUSHED to capture in this picture

Conclusion

I’ll keep it brief.

Stay tuned for the video of our dance performance and visit the website of Macaulay Nicholson here. Generation’Z was a special show for many of us involved and there is a lot more that could be said. Enjoy the pictures and book my artists!

Much love to all,

Damien

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