Walker's style is inspired by hip-hop and contemporary movement, and a huge passion for film, which translates to a highly cinematic experience on stage and TV. His versatility has taken him from working with pop stars such as Kylie Minogue, to international companies like Chicago's Joffrey Ballet. Walker is also the founder and Artistic Director of 201 Dance Company, and choreographer of 201's award-winning SKIN ("A masterpiece of human sensitivity" - ★★★★★ Ed Fringe Review), SMOTHER ("Taking Hip-Hop into thrillingly new terrain" - ★★★★ The Guardian), and most recently SAD BOOK, adapted from the award-winning novel by Michael Rosel and premiering at the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.See Full Biography
Brighton based LGBTQ+ led, 201 Dance Company has just released their highly anticipated annual Pride dance video. The video has already gathered thousands of views on social media, and has been shared by Sam Smith themselves. Over the past few years, the company's viral videos have captivated audiences with their creativity, flair, and unapologetic camp aesthetic. Each year, the videos have garnered increasing attention, reaching new heights of popularity for the company. The journey began in 2018 when the video featured pop icon Britney Spears who was the headliner for Brighton and Hove Pride, instantly capturing the imagination of viewers and amassing ground breaking views on social media. The following year, the queen of camp herself, Kylie Minogue, made a cameo appearance, further solidifying the company’s reputation for high quality celebratory videos. Last year, the dance company paid homage to the twentieth anniversary of Christina Aguilera's hit song ‘Dirrty’, wowing audiences once again in front of the backdrop of iconic Brighton locations. The theme of this year's video is "PRIDE IS A PROTEST". On choosing the track this year, ‘VULGAR’ by Sam Smith and Madonna, Director and Choreographer Andrea Walker said “Our rights as LGBTQ+ individuals feel very under threat right now. Up to this point, our Pride videos have had a happy-go-lucky sense to them. But Pride is a protest, and this year we felt it was more important than ever to drive a message of protest and defiance.” Described by Slant Magazine as a "glorious, no-f**ks-given bitch track" the song embodies transgressive, unapologetic expression that defies mass consumption. Its camp and queer vibes perfectly align with the spirit of the video, presenting a unique opportunity for creative exploration, sensuality, and an encapsulation of queer artistic expression and pride. “’VULGAR’ is a very queer track. The lyrics that really stuck to me were "You know you're beautiful when they call you vulgar". Both Sam Smith and Madonna have a strong track record of being castigated for wanting to express their true selves. It's a feeling that a lot of the community and I can relate to. I instantly also loved the lyrics "Say our f****g names!" (or "Say our, say our names" in the clean version). While strong, they instantly felt like a call to battle for queer people to stand up and say "We're here, we're queer and we're not going anywhere!". As well as love, I want this year's video to shout "no matter how hard you try, you can't erase us””. Andrea Walker, Choreographer and Artistic Director, 201 Dance Company Sponsored by esteemed organisations and brands, the production boasts the collaboration of Arts Council England, ICTheatre (Institute for Contemporary Theatre), local dance studio Marina Studios, and the effortlessly sexy brand Lounge, who provided some of the daring costumes for the video. Most notably, as meaningful sponsors the video features the participation of a group of NHS staff, who gave their free time outside of work to contribute to the celebrations, showcasing their support for this project. The video introduces Pearl Makayi (credits include dancing for Lizzo, Stormzy, Tinie Tempah, Miguel, AJ Tracey, and Big Zuu), a talented black female lead making her debut with 201 Dance Company. Alongside her, co-lead queer dancer Nicholas Piscedda will deliver a captivating performance. Nicholas Piscedda has been an integral part of 201 Dance Company for several years, demonstrating exceptional talent and dedication. Walker expressed his enthusiasm for their involvement, stating, "I couldn't think of anyone better to capture my movement and the sense of defiance and protest we wanted to convey with this year's Pride project. Both Pearl and Nicholas are powerful talents and a staple of the Brighton dance community." The video also features queer icons Dolly Rocket and Dave the Bear and Drag Artists Ex-Girlfriend, Alik, Ophelia Payne and King Sammy Silver. As well as the inclusion of a drag king, who are often unrepresented or overlooked by the media, the video features queer families, trans individuals proudly showing their scars from gender reassignment surgery, and numerous other proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Their inclusion in the video speaks to the importance of being truly representative of the diversity in the queer community and in today’s society, and a celebration of how far we’ve come. Capturing the essence of Brighton's beauty, the video is skillfully filmed and edited by videographer Josh Brady. The stunning locations chosen for the shoot highlight the city's vibrant atmosphere and scenic charm.
Watch the Pride Video here: