14 August 2020


Shailesh Bahoran/IRC/Illusionary Rockaz Company | NL

Share this show

Boulevard wholeheartedly connects with the city and its inhabitants, particularly now. We asked ten makers, whom we’ve trusted for years, to create something especially for ‘Powered by Boulevard’. These projects are made for and sometimes with specific groups from the city. Their progress can soon be followed online by everyone.

Nieuwegein must have some fertile soil. It once was the hometown of Spinvis and Sanne Vogel, and now it’s that of Shailesh Bahoran [1983]. Beautiful name, beautiful track record: as a choreographer, hip hop dancer and theater maker he collaborated with – among others: Het Nationale Ballet, Don’t Hit Mama, Conny Janssen and ISH Dance Collective. He has an immense loyalty to popping – which originated in the funk scene – and breakdance, but that doesn’t rule out flirts with for example Indian dance. At Boulevard he surprised audiences with Ignite and Heritage.

For Powered by Boulevard Shailesh hooks up with likeminded spirits from Den Bosch this summer: Arjuna Vermeulen [1990] en Jeffrey Hoofs [1990], who both come from the northern part of town: “When I think of Den Bosch I think of them. I’ve known them for ten years, from battles and training sessions. We share a love for hip hop and have the same mind state. Their crew is Cypher HQ, which has its headquarters at Tramkade.”

Shailesh wants to research their connections with Den Bosch, but also their link to their Asian roots. What will they harvest? A portrait in video and dance, in which their past, present and future resound. Together with a camera crew Shailesh follows these two in their hometown, which evokes mixed feelings in them. “They have fled Den Bosch quite a few times. Jeffrey lived in Los Angeles for five years; Arjuna looks for hip hop culture outside his own town. But you won’t hear one bad word about Den Bosch from them: they are both proud to represent their city. “For the grass may be greener in your neighbor’s garden, but in the end we all prefer to be surrounded by our own weeds.

And yet they’re globetrotters, as their dna reveals. Their ancestors left their traces: “Jeffrey is known as ‘Chinese Indo’, Arjuna’s family history goes back to India and the African island of Mauritius. They don’t have a direct connection with these regions. But they haven’t closed the door either. They might even walk through that door one day – and back again. They both have one Dutch parent, but when they start talking about Asia, you see something in them change. In their mode, as well as in their mood.”

His own heritage? Shailesh lived the first three years of his life in Suriname. “When I was 25 I visited it, as part of my own personal journey. Later on I wanted to take a step further back in time.  In 2016 I went to India, where my great-grandparents came from. When I landed there and walked around, it felt very familiar.”

Hip hop culture
During Powered by Boulevard the video documentary about Jeffrey and Arjuna will be shown, as well as their own dance presentation. It’s going to be good, Shailesh predicts. He is also considering interviewing people from the inner circle of his Den Bosch buddies – family, friends, and crewmembers. One thing is certain: geographic differences don’t play any role in hip hop culture. “I used to live in Amsterdam, now I live in Nieuwegein. But I don’t see any difference with Den Bosch. What hip hop stands for is crystal clear to everyone: authenticity, the street and respect. We all drink from the same well.”

Concept & choreography
Shailesh Bahoran 

Arjuna Vermeulen en Jeffrey Hoofs

Remses Rafaela (Curve Tv), Railey Martina (Myvisioncounts) en Rajiv Bhagwanbali

Thanks to
Cyper HQ 

Location Verkadefabriek/ Kleine zaal, Locatie: Shailesh Bahoran
Running time 60 min. (including an aftertalk)
Theaterfestival Boulevard thanks:
  • Gemeente 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Den Bosch Partners
  • Provincie Noord-Brabant
  • Fonds Podiumkunsten
  • VSBfonds
  • Fonds21
  • Vriendenloterij Fonds
  • Creative Europe Programme (EU)
  • Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds
  • Dioraphte
  • VandenEnde Foundation
  • Fonds ZOZ
  • Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur
  • Jan van Hoof Galerie
  • Apap
  • Feminist Futures
  • Performing Gender