Founded in London in 2001, Boy Blue, the award-winning brainchild of producer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE, encapsulates the pulse of the city it was born in.
Weaving their frontline stage and screen work around the elevation of hip-hop culture, from the offset, artistic directors Asante and Sandy have created works that challenge common perception while delivering a new voice from the streets and clubs that have long inspired a generation.
It was just over a decade ago, in 2007, that Pied Piper propelled Boy Blue to new heights in the world of UK theatre; first performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, who had supported Asante and Sandy through its creation, it found a further home at the Barbican, London and won a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.
By 2009, Boy Blue had joined the Barbican as an Associate Artist, where the company is still based, going on to present Touch (2011), The Five & The Prophecy of Prana (2013), A Night With Boy Blue (2013, 2015, 2016, 2018), the Olivier nominated Blak Whyte Gray (2017) and Outliers (2018), Asante’s musical debut in the Concert Hall.
Blak Whyte Gray was nominated for Best New Dance Production at the 2017 Olivier Awards and in the Critics Circle National Dance Awards for Best Modern Choreography, while the UK Theatre Awards noted Dickson Mbi’s performance with a nomination for Achievement in Dance. Described in The Stage as a “searing triptych… with the precision and musicality of a corps de ballet…” The Guardian (featuring Blak Whyte Grayin their Top 10 Dance of 2017) found “Political dance with heart, soul and muscle” with “issues of loss, displacement and fractured identity central to Boy Blue’s powerful hip-hop work…”
Boy Blue contributed to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, where in collaboration with Danny Boyle, Kenrick choreographed hundreds of young dancers for the segment ‘Frankie and June say thanks Tim’, as well as staging the handover of the Olympic torch and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
With a company ethos befitting of the founders roots, and a long-term commitment to education, Boy Blue can be found running a highly respected dance education program in east London. Using a typically unique approach, they enable more than 100 young dancers to train weekly alongside professionals. In addition, their work Emancipation of Expressionism is a set work of the AQA GCSE Dance syllabus – the first hip-hop dance theatre piece to be included – and was recently filmed by Director Danny Boyle and screened on BBC2.