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Posted on July 30, 2013


fiveTommy Franzén and Theo “Godson” Oloyade join Boy Blue regulars Vicky “Skytilz” Mantey, Kofi “Klik” Mingo, Duwane Taylor and Frank Wilson in the London premiere of The Five & the Prophecy of Prana at the Barbican this autumn.

Choreographer Kenrick “H2O” Sandy and composer Michael “Mikey J” Asante of Boy Blue Entertainment are joined by award-winning Japanese Manga artist Akio Tanaka in the creation of this new narrative dance piece, combining hip hop, Manga and martial arts.

Featuring a company of 13 performers, The Five & the Prophecy of Prana is inspired by the world of Manga, with the production is steeped in the visual identity, quirky characters and impossible martial arts central to the comic book genre.

Five young troublemakers enter a rehabilitation camp run by a grand master of the Pih Poh Fu martial art and member of a secret group of warriors entrusted with the protection of an ancient spell, which maintains peace and harmony in the kingdom. Through rigorous physical and mental re-education the five must combine their newly acquired skills and lead the battle of good against evil.

Paulette Randall, associate director of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, will act as creative collaborator on the project, providing directorial support and more fivefurthering her artistic association with Sandy, who choreographed the “Frankie and June say thanks Tim…” of the Opening Ceremony.

To match the visual depth of Manga and the fusion of dance and movement styles, Michael “Mikey J” Asante will create an original soundtrack, crossing genres from electronic and hip hop to classical and Kodo drumming.

Akio Tanaka is one of Japan’s most admired and widely read Manga artists, whose long-running comic series Shamo has sold over six million copies. His illustrations for The Five & the Prophecy of Prana will form a storyboard for the development of the choreography and will inform the narrative and visual identity of the piece.

Yeast Culture, whose recent credits include design and video for Akram Khan’s Desh and the Royal Philharmonia’s Bluebeard’s Castle, will use video projection and animation to realise Tanaka’s world in 3D on stage, alongside creating various special effects for the fantasy scenes.

The Five & the Prophecy of Prana is co-commissioned by the Barbican and Derry ~ Londonderry City of Culture 2013 and co-produced by Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

The Five & the Prophecy of Prana is at the Barbican from October 22 to November 2.


Illustrations © Akio Tanaka



Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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