Geneva and Zurich have hosted festivals of hip-hop culture, featuring dance styles such as popping, locking, krump, house and breakdance, for a decade. Olivia Hernandez-Candelaz heads the “Breakthrough” festival in Zurich, while Sébastien Boucher is responsible for Geneva’s “Groove’N’Move”. The next edition in Zurich is scheduled for 9 to 12 September 2021, while the twelfth outing in Basel takes place in March 2022. Alongside the familiar breakdance forms of battles, urban dance in Switzerland is increasingly finding its way into contemporary dance. In Zurich, the “Tanzwerk 101” university of stage dance offers a BA in urban and contemporary dance that Olivia Hernandez-Candelas also teaches. Sébastien Boucher, meanwhile, discovered hip-hop in the early 1990s, has mastered a range of styles, and has created works such as “Interstices” (2016), which was shown as part of Groove’N’Move at the Forum Meyrin.
Both festivals aim to offer a platform for urban dance that, in addition to staging performances, battles and parties, also enables exchange through conferences and workshops. Groove’N’Move staged a round-table discussion on urban and contemporary dance in early March 2020, with Anne Davier and Tamara Bacci from the Association de Danse Contemporaine (ADC). 2022 will see the festival open for the first time at the Comédie de Genève. In Zurich, venues include the Jugendkulturhaus Dynamo, the Rote Fabrik and the Tanzhaus. Both festivals promote the diversity and tolerance of hip-hop culture and aim to make the broad artistic spectrum of international and national urban dance accessible to a wider audience in Switzerland. Finally, both serve as a crucial springboard for dancers in this young scene.
For ten years now, there’ve been two festivals in Geneva and Zurich that offer an artistic and cultural policy platform for urban dance as part of hip-hop culture. Olivia Hernandez-Candelaz heads the “Breakthrough” festival in Zurich, and Sébastien Boucher “Groove’N’Move” in Geneva. Both offer exchange formats for professional dancers, programmes for future talents, as well as performances, shows and battles in theatres and public spaces for the general public. Along with their teams, Olivia and Sébastien have created two unique festivals that reflect every facet of urban dance, advance its development, and enrich the Swiss dance scene in the process.