Take a Seat With: Salah El Brogy

Meet the creator of Extemporaneous dance style

Marta Portocarrero,Costel Sandu
Saturday 29 April 2017 06:58
Sofa Workshop - Salah El Brogy

British Egyptian dancer, performer, choreographer and dance teacher Salah El Brogy struggled to remember choreography and so he had to create a system to help him overcome this struggle.

Salah was recently diagnosed with severe dyslexia, which affects his short-term memory and long-term memory.

But rather than see this condition as a curse, the former Akram Khan Company lead dancer, sees it as a gift and created his own dance style called Extemporaneous.

Salah left Egypt for the UK after celebrated British choreographer Akram Khan offered him to be the lead dancer for Vertical Road 

Extemporaneous is dance vocabulary Salah built from improvisation and remains improvised that he developed initially for himself in order to overcome his challenge of remembering choreography.

Now, Salah teaches Extemporaneous Dance Style classes and workshops in the UK and Egypt. He has taught in the UK’s most exciting dance hubs like The Place near King's Cross, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance as well as Siobhan Davies Studios and Kingston University.

(Salah El Brogy / Moving Cities

Extemporaneous is one of three elements that make up the founding signatures of Salah’s dance choreography. The others are drawing inspiration from his Egyptian, African, Middle Eastern heritage and his eclectic mix of other disciplines he trained in (martial arts, kung fu, yoga, whirling Dervish, Egyptian folklore, hip hop, capoeira, ballet, contemporary).

Salah is a graduate of the prestigious Cairo Opera House Contemporary Dance Theatre School, where he trained in dance, acting, singing, theatre and music – turning him into an all-round artist.

Starting his life with martial arts at the tender age of eight, Salah eventually joined his home city’s Ismailia Folkloric Dance Troupe in his teens. However, Salah has had a constant thirst for the next challenge and subsequently joined the Reda Troupe, the first and biggest folklore dance company in the Middle East.

After graduating from Cairo Opera House Contemporary Dance Theatre School, Salah worked with the Company for five years as one of its soloists.

He choreographed his first production in 2007 entitled Incidents Change but the Meaning is One. In 2008, the French Cultural Centre in Cairo (now French Institute) awarded him the Best Dancer Award for his part in The Newspaper and the following year he choreographed, performed and toured his solo Adrenalin in Lebanon, UK, France and Egypt.

The set for Incidents Change but the Meaning is One in 2007 as envisioned by Salah 

Salah moved to the UK when he joined Akram Khan Company‘s critically-acclaimed ensemble Vertical Road and upon finishing the production’s run, he opened Salah El Brogy Company in 2013.

Hurriyah (Freedom): Salah's first solo piece since opening his company 

Now a familiar face in the UK dance scene, collaboration is at the heart of the 2015 Dance London Emerging Choreographer Award nominee.

Performing arts photographer Jane Hobson is one of Salah's main collaborators 

And for International Dance Day 2017, Salah and two of his collaborators choreographers Anna Watkins (Tavaziva Dance, English National Ballet, Shobana Jeyansingh) and Neus Gil Cortes (Hofesh Shechter Company, National Dance Company Wales, Dance Works Rotterdam) for their current project, Organic Entity (a triple bill under the theme of mind, body and transcendence supported by Arts Council England and East London Dance), share in the video below why they dance.

I dance because - International Dance Day

With a massive stage presence combining athleticism and ethereal moves, there’s no doubt that Salah continuously gets the attention of the press.

US-based Trebuchet Magazine said: “If angels actually do dance on the head of a pin, it’s likely they all move like El Brogy.”

And the London Evening Standard said: “It’s Khan’s new muse — the hypnotically beautiful Salah El Brogy — who deserves attention…”

Take a Seat With was filmed in Sofa Workshop, 84 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4TG.