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Ajani Charles visits Red Bull Flying Bach in Toronto [Review]

Toronto, ON – On Wednesday, October 15 and Thursday, October 16, I had the honour of spending time with and photographing the incredible dancers behind Red Bull “Flying Bach” in Toronto.

“Flying Bach” is an impressive dance-based collective, performance and workshop series that combines classical music, breakdancers and contemporary dancers from across Europe, including dancers from France, Holland, Norway, Germany and Sweden.

On the Wednesday, I attended the “Flying Bach” free contemporary and breakdancing workshop at Canada’s National Ballet School. There, Sweden’s Anna Holmström led the contemporary portion of the workshop, while Michael Rosemann of Germany led the breakdancing portion.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to observe the breakdancing portion, but I was quite impressed by Holmström’s enthusiasm and professionalism while leading her students during the contemporary section of the workshop. [More]

Ajani Charles visits Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com


She led a group of professional and amateur students with ease, treating them all with the same level of respect and attention, regardless of whether a student had five years of experience or more than a decade of experience.

Moreover, I was impressed by her focus on the philosophy behind dance and how intertwined it is with mindfulness.

Holmström continuously reminded her class to disregard what happened earlier in the day and to disregard what could potentially happen after her workshop. She emphasized the fact that only the moment that her and her students were experiencing mattered, which I found to be incredibly profound and insightful.

All in all, the workshop seemed very physically taxing and challenging for the students involved and both the instructors and Red Bull organizers brought their A game.

The next day, I attended the “Flying Bach” dress rehearsal at Massey Hall in Toronto, where I got to document the totality of the critically acclaimed show.

None of the dancers involved performed at 100%, simply because they needed to preserve their energy for the night’s performance and I knew that they were simply going through the motions of Michael Rosemann’s choreography.

However, what struck me the most about the “Flying Bach” dress rehearsal was how incredibly strong, dexterous and talented the breakdancers were despite their reservations. Even when exerting only a fraction of their total levels of strength, I knew that they were some of the best breakdancers that I had ever witnessed, which says a lot since I have documented hundreds (if not thousands) of b-boys and b-girls.

Furthermore, I was intrigued by the novel choreography throughout the performance and how seamlessly Anna Holmström fit into the piece, despite the fact that she was the only female and the contemporary dancer involved that didn’t specialize in breakdancing.

I found that Holmström’s presence added a much needed and novel dynamic to the performance, along with the Baroque period music that was playing to support it.

Overall, Red Bull “Flying Bach” was an impressive, sold out production that successfully merged contemporary dance and other contemporary ideals with classical music.

Clearly, between an astronaut jumping from the earth’s stratosphere and “Flying Bach”, Red Bull is one of the coolest organizations dancers.

Words and photography by Ajani Charles for HipHopCanada

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

The Red Bull Flying Bach was in Toronto between October 16 and October 19 at Massey Hall. The tour is currently in Montreal at the Theatre Maisoneuve until October 26. Click here for tickets. Click here for the remaining 2014 tour schedule.

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

Ajani Charles visits the Red Bull Flying Bach In Toronto [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

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The @Redbull #FlyingBach #contemporary #dance workshop in #Toronto. cc: @flyladydi #dancersbelike

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The #dancers are getting busy. @Redbull #FlyingBach's workshops are #legit. #dance #contemporarydance

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Out here with some Swedish #breakdancers rehearsing their routine for @Redbull #FlyingBach. #performingarts #breakdancing #redbull

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Rehearing part of the intro for @Redbull #FlyingBach. #dancers #performingarts #moderndance #artists

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Don’t forget to check out the official website, Flying-Steps.de.


Twitter: @AjaniPhoto

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Ajani Charles is a professional photojournalist, advertising photographer and cinematographer based in Toronto -- the Canadian city famed for its cultural diversity and the creative dynamism of its artistic community. A graduate of the nationally acclaimed Claude Watson Arts Program, Ajani also apprenticed at the Toronto School of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and at 235 Films. Though his images bear the distinctive stamp of his unique regard and sensibility, his work evidences an eclectic panoply of influences which includes Markus Klinko and Indrani, Jill Greenberg, Yousuf Karsh, Ansel Adams, Alexander Rodchenko, Richard Avedon, Nabil Elderkin, André Kertesz, David LaChapelle, Steven Spielberg, Hype Williams, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz and Jamel Shabazz. Ajani is also the founder and executive director of The Young Visionaries – a Toronto-based photography and cinematography program, providing education to youth from the city’s priority neighborhoods. In addition, Ajani has gained considerable notoriety in the Greater Toronto Area through his first photographic documentary, “Project T Dot” -- a visual chronicle of the city's Hip-Hop culture and community in its entirety through a wide-ranging collection of intimate and dramatic black and white photographs. In production since 2007, “Project T Dot” is currently scheduled for an early 2015 publication date.

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