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Projects Posted • 28 Sep 2023

Salaam’O’Salaam

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Salaam'O'Salaam is a pioneering dance project that has modelled and has begun to develop a highly skilled, supportive and confident network of UK-based Muslim breakers. After working together to form a dance crew, the breakers took to the streets and communities of Bradford and beyond. Offering live street performances, visits, workshops and dance activities, the crew has brought communities together through the power of dance.

Project Partner: Kala Sangam
Project Lead: Bobak Champion
Location: Bradford
Overview

As breakin' continues to thrive globally, making its debut at the 2024 Paris Olympics, dance artist Bobak Champion is building on the existing breakin' scene in Bradford by bringing local dancers together and creating a safe and welcoming space for Muslims to express themselves freely.

At the heart of Salaam'O'Salaam lies the breakin’ crew, a group of dynamic dancers forming the project's core, which comprises individuals from diverse backgrounds and skill levels. The project tackled questions like what does a Muslim dance crew look like? What stories could we choose to tell through our movement? And it created a new vibrant dance crew empowered to see this form of dance as a creative way to explore identity and heritage.  

Video credit: Oliver Parker

The crew organised many activities to enrich the Breakin' & Hip Hop scene in Bradford through local labs and jams. Workshops took place in venues such as the Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network. Additionally, arts venue Kala Sangam hosted drop-in sessions, where people from different communities participated in open-access classes. The crew will also be running mini-performance workshops in educational settings.


Being new to the art form but being encouraged as much as I have gave me the confidence to really push my boundaries and dance in both private and public spaces which is something I normally wouldn’t of done. Truly grateful.”
Participant – Salaam ‘O’ Salaam

The Impact

Salaam'O'Salaam has challenged preconceptions by celebrating Muslim identity and culture through dance. There is little opportunity for young Muslim men interested in breakdance/dance more generally. The project has provided that opportunity. Hip-hop dance styles are a compelling and appealing tool for expression with great potential for storytelling. Everyone involved in this project went away with wider understanding, confidence and ability having had dedicated time and nurture of their craft. The project has provided positive encounters with more than 2000 audience members over its duration.

Images credits: Amal, Mahshid Alavi and Anthony 'Izu'