November marks the first time all four members of pioneering US hip hop crew Elite Force will be on British soil – and it’s all thanks to a dance teacher from Hemel Hempstead.
Tania Diggory, who set up company United Grooves two years ago, is launching a cultural event in London designed to educate adults and youngsters alike on the rich history of street dance.
PHD events – which stands for Pioneers: A History of Dance – is a community-driven event in which Tania strives to promote and preserve the history of street dance.
She said: “A lot of people see people dancing on the TV and they think it’s a great talent, but they don’t realise that there’s a rich history behind it too.”
Elite Force, who originate from the Big Apple, were among some of the first dancers to perform for pop legend Michael Jackson and will be sharing their knowledge at Brunel University in Uxbridge between November 1 and 3.
The weekend aims to bring together all five elements of hip hop – dance, beatboxing, DJing, MCing and graffiti – and is a chance for enthusiasts to meet and learn from the best, as well as bringing together hip hop communities across the country.
Attendees will discover what sets hip hop apart from other dance forms, and their free pass will entitle them to enjoy a mixture of workshops, documentary screenings, seminars, panel discussions all topped off with a NYC vibe club night.
Tania has also secured another big name in the form of dance historian and practitioner Moncell Durden, who will be hailing from Philadelphia for the first screening of his feature-length documentary Everything Remains Raw: Hip Hop Dance In Context. Following the showing, Moncell will share his expertise with attendees in the form of a lecture and discussion.
Tania, who teaches dance classes at John F Kennedy School in Hemel Hempstead, said: “We are really excited about the launch of PHD Events. We have some incredibly talented UK artists involved and the pioneers we are featuring from America are not only teaching dance workshops but sharing their experiences and knowledge on hip hop as a culture.
“This is a really exciting time to educate people on the history of the rich culture of hip hop, especially since so many pioneers are still around today to pass on their experiences.”
With a line-up of inspiring activities and performances, Tania says PHD Events aims to provide the younger generation and hip hop enthusiasts with the chance to meet, learn from and interact with those who have lived through the culture from the start, and ultimately enhancing the standard of hip hop education in the UK.
PHD is also working alongside charity Danceaid, which cares for orphaned children in the UK, Africa and Asia. Artists will be performing over the weekend in a bid to raise money for the cause.