Break-dancing at Loch Leven

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HIP HOP: An unusual collaboration occurred at Loch Leven last weekend, as a local Edinburgh music group and African break-dance dancers combined for a nature-inspired dance workshop.

An unusual collaboration occurred at Loch Leven last weekend, as a local Edinburgh music group and African break-dance dancers combined for a nature-inspired dance workshop.

The visit to Loch Leven national nature reserve was hosted by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), and featured a young music group from Muirhouse in Edinburgh and Tabu Flo, a Ugandan breakdance troupe which is currently performing around the UK.

The work is part of “Shared Territories”, an Edinburgh Mela Project supported by Creative Scotland’s Partners Fund, SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland. The project has been developed by Edinburgh Mela Artist in Residence, Rocca Gutteridge. Rocca has gathered kids in the area from a wide range of backgrounds to form a hip hop break-dance inspired group.

Craig Nisbet, Scottish Natural Heritage’s reserve officer at Loch Leven, took the singers and dancers on a tour of the reserve before the performing started. Craig focussed on the sounds of nature, bird song, water, and wind during his tour.

He said:“We had a terrific time exploring around the loch and there was plenty of inspiration, as usual at Loch Leven! Many of the group weren’t familiar with the sounds around them, so the voice of a singing willow warbler fresh from his long journey back from Africa was a real treat, and the sight of shovelers and mute swans was a new and remarkable experience. It was a terrific event to be part of, and the story ofthe birds’ migration was woven into the dance. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and the groups’ performance was outstanding. I feel really fortunate to have been part of this unique event.”

Rocca, who recently joined the Mela Festival for a 15-month programme connecting artists and community groups with Scotland’s natural environments, co-ordinated the workshops.

She said: “This project is just the start of a series of activities that will explore how the Scottish outdoors can influence, contribute to and inspire artistic work.”

Throughout the programme, culturally diverse groups will visit forests, lochs, hills and green areas around central Scotland. The visits will explore responses to natural environments and will be used by the artists to inspire new work with the aim of encouraging a deeper appreciation of Scotland’s natural environment.