Dance, Movement, and Storytelling: An Interview with Urban Theory
Urban Theory is making waves in the online world of dance for their Tutting style dancing and fascinating use of illusion. Based in Italy, the dance group has gone viral on multiple platforms, including Instagram and Tiktok, for their mesmerizing choreography. The group met while studying dance together, eventually forming the Urban Theory Dance group in 2016 under a love of Tutting. Managing Editor Hannah Chew spoke to Urban Theory about their unique choreography and stunning visuals.
Tell me about your group and your work.
We are Urban Theory, a dance crew and choreographers. TUTTING is our speciality, a discipline characterized by the creation of optional illusion and figure using hands, arms, and more. Before creating the Urban Theory group, dancing was just a passion, everyone was doing different jobs, from the bartender to the hairdresser to the gardener; but we believed so much in our creativity that now it's not just a passion but a reality. Our reality. A reality full of imagination, hard work and a little bit of funny and crazy moments!
What's the name of your dancing style?
Our dance style is called Tutting and is a style characterized by the use of the arms and body to create geometric shapes.
How did you (all) begin dancing?
We met in Jessica's Hip Hop Urban Theory school, where we started studying as dancers, and then formed our group in 2016 approaching the world of Tutting.
What does your creative process (choreographing to execution to film visuals) look like?
Everything starts from an idea. An idea can be inspired by anything that strikes us (movie, song, theme, location ...). Once the idea is confirmed, each member of the group gives his choreographic contribution and together we transform what we have in mind into reality. Finally, our Project Manager together with our Videomaker give their final support with advice on shooting and lighting, and make each video unique and special.
Your work emphasizes synchrony, why? How do you perfect synchronous movement?
The synchronization is given by the many hours of work done in the gym. Seeing us for so many hours, the body and mind get used to working at certain rhythms.
What has been your favorite piece to work on so far?
What a difficult question! It's like asking a mother who she prefers among her children, our favorite choreography is probably Hands Escalator, a choreo designed with a domino effect created by double face gloves.
Your work incorporates highly visual elements (props, glow in the dark pieces, masks etc.), how do you balance these with pure movement and dance elements?
We like to create optical illusions in our choreographies, in this way we leave those who watch the videos amazed and the imagination allows them to wander trying to never be monotonous.
In your eyes, how do storytelling and dance intersect?
Whenever you dance, you always tell something, consciously or unconsciously. As human beings it is in our nature to TRANSMIT. Even when we walk down the street, whether we want it or not, we transmit an energy, an emotion. Here, the same thing happens for dance: the body becomes speech.
How have you utilized social media to grow your platform? Does social media play a role in how and what you choreograph?
Social networks have become an integral part of our "success.” We started using Tiktok for fun, never would we have thought of such a vast response, and in such a short time! The rest was a consequence and today our contents on Tiktok is designed and created in a more professional way.
What advice do you have for young artists and dancers?
The advice we can give is to believe in your talent and immerse yourself 100% in your passion.
What's Urban Theory’s main project?
Our project is to grow more and more from an artistic point of view and to make our style known all over the world.
For more information on Urban Theory, visit https://www.instagram.com/urbantheory_/?hl=en