On 25th January, Pop City UK, will host the street dance event of the year in our capital. Four hundred and fifty Hip Hop and Popping artists will compete in a day-long international dance competition which will be live-streamed using Instagram Live. As well as attracting the finest dance artists in the business, the event aims to attract aspiring dancers of all ages from our London communities.
*Popping artist, Dickson Mbi is Creative Director of Pop City UK. With his dance company, Fiya House, Dickson has done much to promote street dance throughout the world. He has been nominated for many awards, including ‘Best achievement in Dance’ at the UK Theatre Awards 2017 and for the ‘Southbank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award’.
Dickson Mbi Dancer and Creative Director PopCity UK
Were there any dancers in your family when you were growing up?
No, but my granddad, who was also named Dickson, was a musician and did do a few dance performances in his time.
Who and what inspired you to street dance in the first place?
Michael Jackson and many Hip Hop artists of the 90s and really, I did it to impress the girls. However, this all changed when I realized how much the dance gave me.
What do you enjoy most about street dancing? What type of dance/style of dance suits you best?
I enjoy exchanging and dancing with other people, who don’t believe they can do this as I was that person once. The style that suits me best is popping and I have been doing it for 16 years.
When did you set up Fiya House your dance company?
In 2012 with my dance partner Brooke Milliner
What have been your biggest challenges in your career up until now?
Staying current, making an event that caters for everyone, and always trying to remember to keep on having fun, as sometimes things can get really serious.
With your dancing – how much is set routine, how much improvised in the moment?
It all depends on the context. If I am in a dance battle or a club/party then it’s all improvised to music that I have probably never heard before; if it’s for a show then it’s all set routines with the freedom to improvise in parts.
Your most memorable performance?
Performing in front of 16k people at the Stade de Paris in 2007
Do you dance with other Hip Hop artists or solo? (In an ensemble?)
Both. There’s so much freedom in Hip Hop and so many opportunities to come together to perform with others in this community.
Have you ever done ballet? Have you danced with ballet dancers?
Yes, I did ballet in school (Lewisham College and London Contemporary Dance School) and I have danced with several ballet dancers.
Do you personally train dancers?
Yes, I do. On our Fiyahouse Friday training sessions at the Base Dance studio in Vauxhall.
What advice would you give an aspiring street dancer?
Keep on practicing and most of all keep on having fun.
In what countries are the hip hop and popping competitions held?
They are now pretty much held all over the world now. It is so much easier now to do that because of internet and social media.
How are the dances judged (how many judges are there?)
Every judge is different, contestants are usually judged on musicality, creativity, foundation, technique, confidence, flava, originality, quality of movement and the vim (the unexplainable feeling they get from watch). There can be as many judges as possible; I think the best is not to have an even number.
Any new projects on the horizon after Popcity UK 2020?
Yes, after Popcity we will be planning for our Easter camp training and jam at Fyia House.
Do you feel you have a mission? Have you achieved it yet?
Our mission is to develop, share our community with other communities and connect dance to everyone in the nicest way possible.
Do you have your favourite djs/music artists to dance to?
My favourite Djs are usually the ones that play music from the 90s and my favourite music artist is Michael Jackson.
No, not really, I just want us to keep on going, growing and connecting with the rest of the world.
Like music – do you think dance can create a better world?
Yes, I do believe dance creates a better world and gives people more confidence and self-awareness as it did for me.
*Popping brings together dance styles such as the Robot, Waving and Tutting and much much more. Popping is performed in battles and club settings, where participants try to outperform each other in front of a crowd.
Tickets for the event: Box Office: 0207739 6176. Online booking:https://shoreditchtownhall.com/book.html?ei=Popcity2020
Popcity UK vol.5 is presented by Fiya House, funded by Arts Council England, and supported by Shoreditch Town Hall and Team London Bridge.
Event 11am-midnight. Tickets from £10.00