What sets Relay Dance Collective's upcoming show apart from the rest?Casey G., rocking an RDC T-shirt!
Well, first of all, there's the live music provided by Northwest hip-hop group The Bad Tenants. We'll talk with emcee and trombonist, Casey G., later on in this article.
But, more importantly, there's an interesting mix of art forms you'll see on stage: local hip-hop sounds, classical ballet technique, and movement that covers a range from the "stanky leg" to Broadway and Martha Graham.
This mix, we hope, will inspire and intrigue you, and pull in new audience members with a broad range of taste and aesthetic.
This isn't a hip-hop show, a typical show you'd see in the Seattle dance scene, or anywhere else for that matter. It's a collaboration of artists who think outside of the box in an effort to find new and provocative art (and entertainment too!)
Now, we invite you to meet a key collaborter of Relay Dance Collective, Casey G. of The Bad Tenants. The Tenants will perform three songs live in RDC's upcoming show, "Music + Motion." Tickets are on sale and going fast; click here to buy yours now!
Q. Have you ever collaborated with dancers before?
A. Nope. We've had live dancers during a set before, but have never provided accompaniment for a full, choreographed show. We're very excited to do this. It's definitely stretching our collaborative boundaries.
On a side note, while it’s new for the band, I got to do something a little similar last spring outside of the Tenants. I had the chance to perform some spoken-word in Bellingham Repertory Dance's Phrasings in Word + Dance. It was a collaborative performance held in honor of National Poetry Month. Each year, BRD puts out a call to poets and writers from around the country. Selected poets get paired up with choreographers, and the two work on a piece that culminates in the Phrasings performance. I was lucky enough to be selected and ended up working with choreographer Ella Mahler (of Catherine Cabeen and Company) to co-create a new work that combined poetry and dance. I have always been fascinated by words and what they can create together – rapping, poetry, even journalism (my former career). I’m never too far from a pen and a pad.
Q. What are some challenges working with dancers versus musicians?
A. They're going to kill me for saying this, but dancers are much more high- maintenance. Haha. But I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. They’re perfectionists; they are great at what they do, and they are very planned out. They are used to tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal, on top of regular rehearsals and dance classes. Whereas we tend to be more used to going with the flow. We live on our toes, and thrive on that and adapt to what’s going on as it comes. We're used to a constantly-changing environment where you don’t know what you’ll be dealing with. Different venues, soundmen, sound systems, crowds, ages, mixes, lineups, promoters, etc. It’s two different worlds colliding here, but that makes the end product that much more exciting to work on. I think because our working styles are so different, we can learn a lot from each other.
Q. What are you looking forward to about performing in Relay Dance Collective's upcoming show?
A. A new opportunity for our music to extend out to some people who wouldn't normally hear it. Creatively, it just adds a new experience that will be fun for us to try and learn from.
Q. What sort of music will audiences hear during the show?
A. We’re a hip-hop group fused with the blues. We play our own live instruments on top of everything else. It’s different and it’s dope and you’ll like it! Haha. But you'll also see dancing in the show from the same genres and more, which is really cool. Our band worked with RDC co-founder, Gabrielle Nomura, who hand-selected which songs she wanted us to perform. Gabrielle also worked with our DJ, DJ Idlhnds (pronounced "Idle Hands"), to create a medley of different songs for one of the pieces. Without giving too much away, you'll get to hear a song or two from our new EP, Eloquent Scoundrels Volume 2, which is getting ready to drop. The cool thing is you're not just gonna see hip-hop choreography going with a hip-hop band. I like that RDC is getting away from typical niches and trying some fresh mixes and combinations. We’re stoked on this project.
Q. What else is on the horizon for your group?
A. The new EP is pretty much taking up all our free time right now. But it’s so close to being done. It feels like we’ve been working on this forever, but we’re really proud of it and beyond excited to release it. Other than that, we just got back from another awesome tour through Southeast (Alaska), which was epic. It was the second time we’ve been up there and both times, it’s been an incredible experience. We'll be in Portland for the NW Hip Hop Festival at the beginning of September, and we're in the early stages of planning our fourth music video. Things are flying really fast lately. We’re trying to keep up.
Q. What's your impression of Relay Dance Collective?
A. Talented. Creative. On their toes (except not, 'cuz they're modern dancers!) They know what they're doing. They have a vision, they're going after it and making it happen for themselves.
Q. Why should people come and see the show?
A. Because it's going to be unlike anything they've ever seen. We would all really love to see some people come out to see this and support local artists of different fields and see what we've been working on. This is going to be fresh, creative, fun and new! Come check it out!