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Blackhaine: the bleak, brilliant Lancashire rapper-dancer hired by Kanye West

With references ranging from drug users to the Japanese avant garde, Tom Heyes has transcended a dull life in the north-west through explosive choreography and streams of consciousness First emerging as a surrealist reaction to the horrors of the second world war, the Japanese art of butoh incorporates violence, sacrifice and bodily mutilation: a captivatingly intense form of performance described by its founder Tatsumi Hijikata as the “dance of utter darkness”. For a teenage Tom Heyes, growing up in dreary, small-town Lancashire, it was an escape from the abject mundanity of his life. “When I was first starting out I didn’t really view it as performance art. It was just me being fucked up in my bedroom,” he says, reflecting on his early interpretation of the craft which drew as much from donk (the north-west’s spin on hardcore dance) as it did the Japanese avant garde. Often he would be left bruised and bloodied from these punishing dance routines, “but those ones back then were the most raw shit ever”, he insists. Continue reading...

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