Boy Blue Entertainment

Boy Blue EntertainmentBoy Blue Entertainment is an award-winning hip-hop dance company founded in London by choreographer Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. As joint Artistic Directors, they work together on the creation and development of all of Boy Blue Entertainment’s productions and projects.

Acclaimed for presenting “the perfect marriage of music and dance” Boy Blue releases boundless creative energy in its performances, laying down the beats and delivering thrilling and raw dance sequences. The company is proud to be home to some of the UK’s most sought-after hip-hop artists.

Since its inception in 2001, Kenrick and Michael have worked to engage and inspire through the creation of first class work for the stage and screen. Always keen to take hip-
hop beyond the streets and clubs, Kenrick and Michael have been at the forefront of the UK movement
to present hip-hop as an art form in its own right, creating dance theatre productions from the outset. Their breakthrough into the mainstream came with the production Pied
Piper, originally presented at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, before transferring to the Barbican and touring the UK. The production won a Laurence Olivier Award in 2007.

The success of Pied Piper led to
Boy Blue being invited to join the Barbican as an Associate Artist, and support for two new commissions
- Over The Edge, A Nite With
Da Bratz and more recently BBE: Touch, a more intimate cabaret
style performance, allowing a rare opportunity to see Boy Blue in their rawest form, up close, broken down and unplugged, with both artistic directors on one stage.

In 2011 and 2012, Dance East presented BBE: Legacy, a new production featuring highlights from 10 years of the company’s work, and in Summer 2012 the company travelled to Hong Kong with Touch.

In 2013, the company returned to Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Breakin’ Convention, presented Legacy/ An Evening with Boy Blue at the Barbican, and in June 2013 wowed American audiences
in performances at the legendary Harlem Apollo as Breakin’ Convention made its USA debut.

Through the establishment of Boy Blue’s highly respected education and training programme in East London, the company has built a safe haven for young people who wish to come together, explore music and dance, and in engage
in the arts. Unique in enabling young people to train alongside professionals, the programme, as well as being an incubator for the development of new work, has discovered and honed local talent. Now boasting a company of over 40 professional dancers and a youth group of similar size, this unique model enables all members to be part of the development of new work, and professional performance opportunities in the various works. Open classes for all ages attract hundreds of people every week.

Created and directed by
Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy & Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante

Manga collaborator
Akio Tanaka

Video design, set and animation
Yeast Culture

Creative director – video design and animation
Nick Hillel

Set design
Sander Loonen

Lighting design
Mike Gunning

Sound design
Colin Pink

Costume design
Jane Dickerson

Creative collaborator
Paulette Randall

Phillip Burton

Associate producer
Hisashi Itoh

General manager
Rajpal Pardesi

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy
Kenrick ‘H2O’ SandyBorn in East London, Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy is Co-Founder & Co-Artistic Director of Boy Blue Entertainment, Associate Artists at the Barbican and one of the top choreographers and performers in the UK underground, commercial and theatrical scenes.

Kenrick’s credits are extensive and include theatre, TV and film, both nationally and internationally. He has created choreography for artists as diverse as Rita Ora, Plan B, Stooshe, Dizzee Rascal and Alexandra Burke. On screen, his work can be seen in Streetdance 3D as well as the BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance and Alesha’s Street Dance Stars.

For the stage, Kenrick choreographed Pied Piper: A Hip-Hop Revolution, An Evening with Boy Blue and contributed choreography to ZooNation’s Into The Hoods.

Last year proved a landmark
year, with Kenrick working alongside director Danny Boyle
as choreographer for the Frankie and June say…thanks Tim section of London 2012 Opening Ceremony, which won the Evening Standard’s Beyond Theatre Award.

Other events in 2012 included Legacy Re:Loaded at the Jerwood Dance House, choreography for the film
All Stars and performing in Jonzi D’s Lyrikal Fearta Redux at Sadler’s Wells. He also co-directed and choreographed Unleashed for the Barbican.

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Michael ‘Mikey J’ AsanteCo-Founder & Co-Artistic Director of Boy Blue Entertainment, Associate Artists at the Barbican, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante is a producer, composer, singer, dancer and DJ.

Mikey is at the forefront of the
UK urban music scene. It was his engineering work on street anthems including Sadie Ama’s So Sure and production on Kano’s gold selling Home Sweet Home including Mic Check, 9 to 5 and Sometimes that kick started his career, catching the industry’s attention. More recent projects include producing Delilah’s Inside My Love which featured on her debut album From the Roots
Up which went on to enter at #5 in the UK charts. He is also working closely with RoxXxan and Tanya Lacey. Other forthcoming releases includes Rascals (Virgin / Emi), Kano and some other soon to be revealed exciting major releases.

Mikey has produced music for TV, theatre and film including Boy Blue Entertainment’s Pied Pier: A Hip Hop Revolution, Touch and Legacy and the UK box office hits Streetdance 3D and All Stars.

In 2012, Mikey worked closely with Kenrick, director Danny Boyle and Musical Directors Underworld creating musical compositions for the Frankie and June say…thanks Tim section of London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Akio Tanaka
Akio TanakaBorn in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, in 1956, Akio Tanaka is one of Japan’s most admired and read manga artists and graphic novelists. He is the author of Neo-Border, Rivers Edge, The Deviant, and the long-running series Shamo which has sold over six million copies to date. His work is published in the bi-weekly Japanese magazine, “Evening”, which has a circulation
of over 200,000. He is considered
an inspiration by many young manga artists, thanks to his unique artistic and story-telling approach. He is particularly renowned for his outstanding ability to depict with great accuracy the human body
in a vast range of states, from the everyday to punishing physical extremes.

Akio has worked closely with Kenrick and Mikey on the development of the story The Five & the Prophecy
of Prana. The graphic work he has produced has been directly inspired by his interaction with the music and choreography characteristic
of Boy Blue. Akio has brought his atmospheric and unmistakable touch to the project, and his illustrations, as well as acting as a storyboard for the development of the choreography, have formed the starting point for the show’s theatrical design which has been developed and delivered by Yeast Culture.

Yeast Culture
Yeast Culture create original and immersive visuals and sets for
 live events and installations. With over a decade of experience the award winning company works across art forms blending film, live performance, animation, set design, projection mapping and sound. Their work has featured in classical performances, contemporary dance, theatre and galleries as well as visuals for live bands for world tours. Yeast Culture’s first major project was a collaboration with Nitin Sawhney on his fifth album Prophesy, with a feature-length film whichwas then remixed into a live show. Yeast has since worked with artists including Akram Khan, Jamie Cullum, Baaba Maal, Courtney Pine, Britten Sinfonia, Matthew Barley, Matthew Herbert and the Beastie Boys. Recent projects include working with the Philharmonia Orchestra to present Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring as a 25-screen video piece at London’s Bargehouse Gallery, and directing visuals and set design for a semi-staged production of Bluebeard’s Castle, also with the Philharmonia Orchestra, followed by performances in America with the San Francisco Symphony and Miami’s New World Symphony.

Nick Hillel
Nick is a video artist and film- maker based in London. His work has been profiled internationally on television, in galleries, as part of site specific installations, and integrated into live performances such as opera, contemporary dance and pop concerts. Nick graduated from Leeds University in 1999 having studied broadcasting and politics. He went on to direct
a number of documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 before, in 2000, establishing a digital media company, Yeast Culture.

Sander Loonen
After a six-year apprenticeship at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg in the 1990s, Sander has developed as a true all-round technician. Equally versed in lighting, sound, video and staging he fills the gap between artistic ambitions and technical feasibility. Working with international creative teams, in all aspects of live performance, he has developed
the ability to steer a production towards becoming a reality. He has designed and managed lighting, video, sound and staging for artists including Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Gregory Maqoma, Duckie, Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods, Productiehuis Rotterdam, Theatre de la Ville Paris, National Architectural Institute Netherlands and many others.

Mike Gunning
Mike has work on productions including The Drowned Man (Punch Drunk), Dangerous Lady (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, The Alchemist (Everyman Liverpool), The Wizard Of Oz (Southbank Centre), The
Jew of Malta and Aunt Dan and Lemon (Almeida), Julius Caesar and School for Scandal (Barbican and international venues), Medea (Broadway), Tales From the Vienna Woods (Olivier Theatre, RNT), Asylum and Hansel & Gretel (Kneehigh); The Man From Stratford (Ambassador Theatre), Kafka’s Monkey, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Brothers Size and Eurydice (Young Vic); Richard III, Twelfth Night, Henry V and The Blue Angel (RSC).

Colin Pink
Colin trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was a resident designer at the National Theatre for 10 years. He is now a freelance designer working in theatre, live events and film. He headed the sound operating team for the London 2012 Olympic Games. He has worked on shows including Derren Brown’s Svengali, The History Boys, The Secret Garden, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, the Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet live shows, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Herbie Hancock and many others, and on films including Stage Beauty and Alfie.

Jane Dickerson
Jane studied at Wimbledon College of Art. She joined the National Theatre’s painting and dyeing department before moving to the Barbican to work with the RSC. She has supervised costumes for shows such as Luminosity, The Black Rider, Julius Caesar and The Harder They Come. Her credits at the Barbican include Dick Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk as well as Pied Piper, Over the Edge and BBE: Touch for Boy Blue Entertainment. In addition to theatre, Jane also works on music and dance shows.

Paulette Randall
Paulette was the Associate Director for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and is the former
Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company. She is the foremost director of American playwright August Wilson’s plays in this country, having most recently directed Lenny Henry in Fences in the West End. Paulette has had an extensive theatre and TV career; among her theatre credits are Twelfth Night, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and Crossings. Her TV credits include Desmond’s, The Real McCoy and The Crouches. Paulette is a Rose Bruford School of Speech and Drama alumna and Associate Director at the New Wolsey in Ipswich.

Phillip Burton
Phillip trained in Theatre, TV and Film production at York St John University, following which he began work at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. After a period working with Education he joined the commercial team managing concerts and visiting companies to the Main Stage including Ravi & Anoushka Shankar, Björk and Sir Elton John. In 2003 he joined Sadler’s Wells where his producing credits include PUSH (Sylvie Guillem & Russell Maliphant). He left in 2008 to focus on producing dance and his credits since include two : four : ten and AfterLight (both Russell Maliphant) and th (Michael Clark). Film credits include Zero Degrees and Sutra.

Hisashi Itoh
Hisashi started his career working for a Tokyo music promoter in the 1980s. In 1986 he joined Music Plant Co and two years later produced a kabuki performance with the musicians Yo Yo Ma, Young Uck Kim and Emanuel Ax. Since then he has worked on many theatre and kabuki productions, films and with musicians and dancers, including Mikhail Barishnikov. He has produced noh theatre at the Edinburgh Festival
in 2005, kabuki for Sadler’s Wells and the Opéra National de Paris
in 2006/7, and 2008’s Sutra, which featured artwork by Antony Gormley. Most recently he has taken a
gagaku ensemble to Edinburgh and Amsterdam.

Rajpal Pardesi
Rajpal originally trained in performance at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and performed professionally until embarking onto production and management in the 1990s. He has worked across music, dance and theatre in a range of roles from stage management, production management, producer and as general manager. He has worked with artists including Ty, Nitin Sawhney, Julian Joseph, Tom Dale, DJ Pogo, Avant Garde Dance, Sheron Wray, Robert Hylton, Benji Reid and Jonzi D. Rajpal joined Boy Blue Entertainment in 2011 where he is responsible for the management of the artists, the company and their artistic work.

All photos from premiere production in 2013
Photography by Hugo Glendinning