ACE dance and music are delighted to announce the first two artists for the pilot year of Navigate, the programme for Black Choreographers supported by Dance Hub Birmingham. They are Nii Kwartey Owoo and Paul Steady Steadman.
Nii Kwartey Owoo is a choreographer and musician based in Leeds and Creative Associate at The Geraldine Connor Foundation. Nii has been creating contemporary choreography since he was eighteen, inspired by traditional cultural practices found in West Africa and the diaspora. Originally from Accra, Ghana, Nii draws on his Ga heritage, including spiritual beliefs, storytelling and symbolism, creating original choreography that blends tradition with current global dance styles. Nii incorporates his knowledge of West African music in his work, recording traditional rhythms, sampling sounds he finds and using live music as part of his performances.
Nii stated “As a young black choreographer, the Navigate project from ACE, the national and international leader in the field of contemporary and diasporic dance, will open doors for me to develop my practice with industry leading choreographers and to further learn from professional mentors and production teams.”
Founder of leading Bboy crew ‘Trinity Warriors’, Steady is one of the most sought out educators, performers and choreographers in this style in the UK. His education and dance teaching is rooted in history and consciousness, whilst remaining fresh, creative and inspirational for the next generation. He has an extensive background in Hip Hop, but fell in love with contemporary dance four years ago.
For Steady “The opportunity to take part in the Navigate programme, will allow me to discover something new about myself and realise fresh ways of working, collaborating with different genres/people/artists, all of which are huge passions of mine.”
For the Directors of ACE dance and music, Gail and Ian Parmel, “Navigate responds to the lack of diversity in UK choreography and the urgent need to develop the next generation of choreographers. We are excited to build on our long-term commitment to talent development by working on an ambitious, artist centred programme with these two highly motivated new choreographers for this pilot.
The programme is aimed at artists who have the potential to make a sustained contribution to the development of contemporary dance with roots in dance from the diaspora. The programme consists of mentorships, residencies with guest choreographers, opportunities to work with production specialists and to shadow the wider ACE team to observe the workings of a touring company.