Kwame Asafo-Adjei is a dance artist who fuses his hip-hop training with contemporary dance and his Ghanaian background, helping create a unique style of movement that tackles the day-to-day realities he faces in his social surroundings. Often exploring the development of black culture, themes of tension and release are ever-present in his provocative work.
Kwame gained an interest in creating work and directing artists through participation in development programs such as Open Art Surgery. By shadowing his mentors – hip hop pioneer Jonzi D and choreographer Jonathan Burrows – he was able to open his mental blocks and gain clarity on his identity within his work, which he sees as being blunt, ugly, beautiful and truthful.
Kwame is the Founder and Artistic Director of Spoken Movement through which he creates his work. As part of a Wild Card evening at Sadler’s Wells the company worked with a range of young people including a beatboxer, animator and sound composer. Drawing on his heritage and experience of growing up in London the pieces dwelt on issues such as cultural hierarchy and its impact on society as well as the concept of identity within black culture.
In producing his Wild Card pieces, Asafo-Adjei’s aim was to focus on the audience response and how viewers must abandon an analytical perspective in order to understand the culture from a black perspective. In Alistair Spalding’s words: ‘his choreography is often raw and confronting, but full of honesty and thought-provoking’.
Spoken Movement is a company that have taken the elements of street dance and contemporary dance to create their own vocabulary in movement. Using different genres of music, Spoken Movement look to push boundaries by undertaking concepts, issues and day to day life experiences, to create thought provoking pieces of work. Spoken Movement’s work ethic, mainly touches on the physical aspects, with training usually focused on intensity and endurance. Through exploring and making use of space, SM allows its artists to work and create new ideas for upcoming work.
Spoken Movement intend to implement and convey their style of dance, to a wider audience by provoking a guttural response from their work. They aim to inspire and aspire the youth through building businesses and creating relationships with different platforms. The company have presented their work both nationally and international within the UK and Europe. i.e. The Place, Sadler's Wells and Theatre De La Ville-Paris.