In June 2024, one of the most prestigious street dance groups in Finland, Will Funk For Food (WFFF), will create Finland’s first full-length performance based on the street dance style locking.

The work is inspired by the hypermasculinity and toxic machismo of western films and the genre's cavalcade of characters. A Fistful of Funk revolves around locking from which it begins to weave connections to the world of contemporary dance theatre.

The performance dives head-first into one of the main elements of locking dance: character. Ultimately, character is the distinctive feature that separates dancers from each other and contributes to the uniqueness of their individual styles.

The group seeks to dismantle the masculinity familiar from westerns and explore what masculinity and masculine encounters can be instead. In addition to exploring the themes of friendship and brotherhood, the performance uses the western setting as a platform for playful street dance duels, known as battles in street dance culture.

Locking, which was originally danced to funk music, was created by African Americans living on the West Coast of the United States in the 1970s. Locking is characterised by precise, sharp pauses and acrobatic tricks, combined with the grooving 'party steps' of the West Coast social dances.

In addition to locking, the performance utilises the movement language of contemporary dance, physical theatre, and clown techniques. The aim is to create an adventurous, narrative stage where each performer’s originality and uniqueness feed each other.

Will Funk For Food, founded in 2008, is one of the most internationally successful street dance groups in Finland specialised in locking. WFFF is making locking known in Finland and aims to establish street dance as part of the Finnish cultural scene and bring joy to all ages. The dance group has won three consecutive Finnish Championships and performed internationally in Japan, France, and Sweden.

The stage will feature Will Funk For Food's Wilhelm Blomberg and Akim Bakhtaoui, the initiators of the performance, as well as Teemu Kullberg, Jeffrey Kam and Sami Pajari from the group.

Wilhelm Blomberg is a stage artist trained in contemporary dance and physical theatre, and he has also studied clownery in France and Finland. Akim Bakhtaoui is an all-around street dancer who made his choreographic debut on the Zodiak stage in autumn 2022 with his performance Humanculus, based on the street dance style popping. A Fistful of Funk continues the series of stage performances showcasing street dance techniques launched by Humanculus.

 

Choreography: Akim Bakhtaoui, Wilhelm Blomberg and Will Funk For Food
Performers: Akim Bakhtaoui, Wilhelm Blomberg,  Jeffrey Kam, Teemu Kullberg, Sami Pajari
Participating in the creative processSami Harju, Joonas Kilappa, Kai Ruusuvuori (WFFF)
Stage design: Oscar Dempsey
Costume design: Justus Kantakoski
Lighting design: Jaakko Sirainen
Sound design: Sebastian Kurtén
Production: Zodiak – Center for New Dance, Will Funk For Food

PREMIERE