Urban dance has been used in Venezuela as a way of bringing together the gangs and young people from popular neighbourhoods, whose main meeting place is usually the street, where they are exposed to daily violence and insecurity. Thanks to the contribution from the UK, local dancers have discovered the potential of dance in their personal and professional development, and this has made a difference in the way these expressions are perceived.
The British Council Venezuela in collaboration with Hakeem Onibudo, artistic director and founder of Impact Dance & Livevibe, designed a training programme for urban dancers that included face to face practical sessions, events production, professional artistic development and showcasing, offering a new and innovative approach to the urban dance community in Venezuela.
The project provided the perfect platform to link young talent from depressed sectors of society with local organisations and the best of the UK’s urban dance, in a programme that promotes professional development and values such as diversity, inclusion and mutual respect. The programme has been extended to different communities. As a result, two Venezuelan dancers went to London to receive special training and shared their technical skills with British peers.
In a country marked by a deep social, political and cultural crises, where violence and social exclusion are prevalent, Livevibe Caracas has created partnerships and cultural trade between UK directors- dancing studios and Venezuelan urban dancers. Through this project Impact Dance & Livevibe have obtained opportunities to develop an international outlook by supporting 3,297 young people from disadvantaged communities in Caracas. Livevibe has established that the UK has a global reputation for cultural relations with a high social impact in other countries like Venezuela.
The British Council in Caracas and Hakeem Onibudo organised the show in Caracas with Kenrick Sandy, from the dance company Olivier Boy Blue Entertainment, Yukiko Masui, dancer and choreographer of Two Gents Production and dancers Keanu Wilson and Ajani Johnson Goffe from Impact Dance.
Livevibe Caracas started with a training programme, which included workshops about Hip Hop and dancing techniques and routines. More than 50 Venezuelan dancers participated in the workshops and on 8th April, 2017 participated in the Livevibe show in Caracas, with talented UK Hip Hop dancers. The event was supported by the European Union, Universidad Central de Venezuela and Centro Cultural Chacao, where the event took place.
Rhythm and creativity were the main aspects of the show, at a time when the city was experiencing a volatile environment due to riots that were taking place in the city, lasting for more than five months after the show.
Livevibe brought hope and partnership to Caracas, using dance as a way to create cooperation between Venezuelan and UK dancers, despite the difficult circumstances. And the result meant the creation of new connections between cultures through dance.