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Marlon 'Swoosh' Wallen on ... Flawless & ENB Against Time

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Flawless and the English National Ballet may seem like chalk and cheese. But these two very different sets of dancers are combining street dance with ballet in the new show Against Time. Challenging and designed to take each performer out of their comfort zone, yet still perform moves that both of them are famous for, the show has taken both teams on an interesting journey from rehearsal to the stage. The show arrives in Manchester in July and we caught up with Flawless dancer Marlon 'Swoosh' Wallen to find out more.

Who came up with the idea for the show and how did it come about?
I came up with the idea after seeing and meeting ENB at Buckingham Palace last year after a show we did for The Queen/Royal family. Flawless performed a piece on Romeo and Juliet fusing Street dance and contemporary which received incredible feedback, I met with one of the Directors of ENB suggesting fusing Ballet with Street dance as an idea to create something new to inspire people and challenge ourselves at the same time. The ENB team loved the idea so put forward a Choreographer Jenna Lee to work with us, we put on a short performance at the O2 Arena to give the public a taster of how Flawless and ENB can work together. We ended up with smashing reviews on the performance and decided to work on building a full show to go on tour together.

How is the tour going so far?
We had six weeks to create the show from scratch and to also bring the two different worlds together to create a collaboration. Two weeks of training teaching hip hop techniques - popping, locking, breakdancing with the ENB girls including pas de deux classes with the Flawless boys.

How do you hope to make dance fans like ballet and the other way round?
This show Against Time is not only a collaboration its educational and I feel this is the perfect time to educate fans/people about both genres because a lot more people are getting into dance now more than ever especially from the attention it has been getting from the media.
What types of music are you dancing to and who chose the pieces?
Flawless and Jenna chose all the music and added elements from both worlds in order to show a variety and fusion. The music ranges goes from Classical, hip hop, orignal music, commercial chart music to name a few. Our Music Director Danilo ‘DJ’ Walde pieced all the music together.

It feels like a perfect marriage to me as these are both disciplined forms of dance, but how will you win over non-converts?
Dance is a universal language that can bring anyone from all parts of the world together so it should never matter what genre of dance it is and I feel that this collaboration also allows both companies to shine within their own strengths which offers the best of both worlds.

Have you been checking out each other's shows before you perform together?
Yes we have, some of ENB came down to see our Chase the Dream Tour and we have been to watch ENB's Strictly Gershwin show.

What have you learned about ballet/dance that you never knew before?
I have learnt and understood more about how extremely technical ballet dance is especially having to work on pas de duex.

Who is the audiences for the show?
This show is targeted at EVERYONE and ALL ages!

Finally, why should people see the show?
People should see the show because it's the 1st of its kind with mixture of styles that will appeal to more than one audience and it also includes elements of fun and excitement, Against Time is an extremely high energy entertaining, educational show which has left people inspired.

 Marlon 'Swoosh' Wallen was speaking to Glenn Meads

Flawless & ENB Against Time at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from 6 - 7 July.

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