Company in Residence: DMPC.
Associate Artist: Jack Robinson, Choreographer
DMPC. (Dope Male Performance Co.) are a Crewe-based, professional Hip-Hop influenced performance group, founded by choreographer Jack Robinson in 2012.
Jack’s passion for dance was ignited at the tender age of 10 and some of his earliest performance experience was gained on the stage of Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre.
Having gained experience through Cheshire Dance’s platform of development opportunities and through his own college studies, he went on to train professionally in California at the famous Debbie Reynolds and Millennium Dance Centers where he learnt from some of the world’s best choreographers whilst based in Los Angeles.
Company highlights to date include site-based Olympic Torch performances (The Moment When...); The National U.Dance platforms (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds and The Lowry, Salford Quays) and Big Up North Dance Theatre Festival (Dukes Playhouse, Lancaster) and as part of Cheshire Dance’s NOW Dance showcase in Chester.
The group’s success has seen Jack Robinson and Cheshire Dance create a dope development programme for younger boys wanting to build urban dance skills and grow into the company as well and a brand new girls’ crew ‘Fresh’ following high demand. Development programme members have recently appeared in Matthew Bourne’s production of Lord of the Flies for Re:Bourne (Liverpool Empire).
Under the directorship of Jack Robinson, DMPC alumni are currently undertaking third level training at LIPA, Falmouth University, Northern School of Contemporary Dance amongst others.
Jack Robinson reflects on his career & the influence of Cheshire dance
My first memory of Cheshire Dance was being in a school PE session with my trackies and cap on when this stranger walked into the sports hall. This was the early 00's and it was my first Cheshire Dance freelance dance class. I didn't know what to expect, and I never expected to make it my life. I was always into hip-hop culture and music but as I became immersed in the vibrant, fun atmosphere, movement immediately became my passion and I never looked back. I remember a class mate exclaiming “I need to soak my bones” at the end of the session, yet we were so full of energy..... From that day we became great friends.
I soon began to map my own personal movement journey through the variety of residentials, retreats and sessions Cheshire Dance had on offer. I became a member of Jam’d and the aptly named Vivrant group, where my animated spirit could thrive in these energetic environments. My curiosities were stimulated and I became committed to exploring my own movement & dancing in more depth. I began to see how dance could reach so many communities of people; it seemed to be a universal language that brought so many different people together. As I progressed my passion into a career, Cheshire Dance gave me the opportunity to work with underprivileged children, early years, older adults and disability groups. I learnt to facilitate not teach and to respect the participants for their individual contributions to each session. My delivery became my learning. This was such a vital moment in my life as I realised that dance is a far more powerful medium than I could have ever imagined when I started.
I went on to train with other crew’s, competing in competitions throughout the UK & winning the UDO World Championships. At college, my mum was ecstatic as I received 3 distinctions in Dance.
I decided to travel to California where I taught Dance for 3 months at a summer camp and went on to train at the famous Debbie Reynolds and Millennium Dance Centres, with many amazing L.A based choreographers. I was so inspired returning to the UK and so began my career as a freelance dance artist, working in education, community and professional contexts across the North West.
For the last four years I have lived and breathed DOPE* Male Performance Company. The boys came together from across Cheshire for Cheshire Dance’s Cultural Olympiad Performance project, The Moment When...in 2012. Seeing them remind me of my Jam’d days, eager to learn and perform, finding a common passion and having the best time with a group of new friends. DOPE was born!
The urban dance culture is so important to all of us and for the past 4 years, we’ve had the opportunity to share it with the wider dance sector and many and varied audiences through the support of Cheshire Dance. We’ve performed in U.Dance regional and national platforms, worked with professional artists on a range of outdoor, sited and film-based projects and been signposted to opportunities such as Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies, where I performed in the Liverpool show.
For Cheshire Dance, I have never been asked to perform, move or be like anybody else; my authenticity is welcomed and in turn each DOPE member is supported to grow to be an individual dancer & future leader. Most importantly, we are all seen as artists. We aspire to be a professional company and are making some steps towards this. To be logged in to the bigger picture is recognition of an intensifying commitment Cheshire Dance has on person centred practice and artistic excellence. My Story and DOPE’s journey is a grain of sand on the beach that makes up Cheshire Dance’s impact over the last 40years. They have got a lot of things right, they are warm and welcoming, and if you ask for advice they give you time and help. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without Cheshire Dance.
*Dope - A word that describes something that is extremely cool, such as music, clothes, people, etc.