Hip-hop specialists have the Rationale for Plymouth's Barbican Theatre
MALE-inspired dance season The Boys Are Back In Town continues next week with the most macho of styles put potentially the most poignant of stories.
In My Shoes examines a troubled father-son relationship as hip-hop innovators Rationale mix b-boying with theatre on their visit to Plymouth.
What's missing between the males of the family is respect – a big thing in hip-hop culture – and understanding.
To save their relationship, they attend an extreme therapy session. This makes them consider the difficulties faced by others to develop their understanding of how it feels to be in another person's shoes.
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Hip-hop is the ideal vehicle for exploring male relationships – and for getting boys into dance, says Rationale artistic director Nathan Geering.
"A lot of boys have struggles over dance because it is perceived as quite soft.
"But there is an urge inside all of us to move to music. Hip-hop is fantastic at drawing boys in because it is perceived as urban and cool."
Rationale members came through the informal route to form the collective in home city Sheffield: they met through a community class.
The inclusive spirit of the genre helped their development. Don't fall for the idea that the posturing associated with hip-hop means the style is aggressive and individualistic. "In hip-hop the philosophy is, 'each one, teach one'. You get that even in more formal classes.
"It's not competitive. You share your knowledge and your movements.
"It gets them into other dance. We don't only do hip-hop. It's good practice to familiarise yourself with a variety of styles to inform your decision of what's best for you.
"In ballet classes you learn about how important a tight [strong] body core is. That will transfer into your breaks and freezes – you need a tight core for them."
Dance forms the tight core for In My Shoes, but the audience doesn't have to be 'dance literate'. Whatever draws them to the Barbican Theatre for the show next Friday, they won't lose the plot.
"It has a very strong narrative," says Nathan, who is one of the five dancers.
"It's about 50-50 between dance and spoken word including hip-hop poetry."
He promises that In My Shoes has a strong appeal to sons, fathers and grandfathers – and daughters, mothers and grandmothers too.
"We've had audiences from the age of five to 65, right across the spectrum," says Nathan.
"It's for anybody and everybody who's interested in theatre or dance."
In My Shoes is at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth next Friday at 7.30pm. The Boys Are Back In Town season continues at the Barbican tonight with Company Chameleon's Pictures We Make double bill, also from 7.30pm.