Southpaw Dance Company works under the artistic direction and unique vision of Robby Graham who, over the last decade, has been developing a distinctive and innovative new dance vocabulary. Drawing on the relatively unexplored vocabulary of b-boying, or breaking, the Company has developed a style that crosses the boundaries of what is defined as contemporary technique and hip hop movement.
Robby has a uniquely compelling choreographic vision, honed by years of performing to and inspiring audiences who have never bought a ticket to see contemporary dance, have never actively sought out dance performance, as well as to sold out festivals and theatres. He engages audiences wherever they are with performances that have been described as mesmerising.
To date Robby has created a wealth of outdoor touring dance work including the hugely successful Faust, Carousel, and the large scale spectaculars, Rush and Wordplay, as well as creating work for a conventional theatre context, notably having been commissioned for the Place Prize 2010. Robby creates work based in a strong physical movement vocabulary, with universal imagery and relatable content, whether working with a professional dance cast, with actors, or with large scale community casts.
Strong thematic elements have included growing up in the wake of a terrorist attack, the tyranny of body image, and here the prevalent global culture of protest and riot: accessible work, spectacular and intimate, reflecting larger issues through the magnifying glass of personal stories.
Robby has a passion for using b-boying in a different way that has inspired a particular interest in hip hop theatre to tell stories and relate experiences. Robby is profoundly grateful for the b-boy heritage: “the day we started doing backspins and freezes has shaped my life more than any day before or since; through b-boying we found unity, expression, the importance of hard work, respect and humility.”
Robby has performed, taught and choreographed around the world, including the Royal Opera House in London, the favelas of Rio Di Janeiro, and New York. In 2015 he was a Hip Hop Second Round Judge, for BBC Young Dancer of the Year. Also in 2015, Robby was the winner of the UK Dance Artist of Choice, Kevin Spacey Foundation and in 2017 was on the selection panel for the Kevin Spacey Foundation. Most recently, Robby was Movement Director for Marianne Elliott’s acclaimed production of Angels in America at the National Theatre.
‘Graham segues fluid B Boying danced with expressive skill into long-limbed contemporary motion; the effect is darkly mesmerising, beautiful to watch’ (Dance Tabs May 2013)