Blog for The Independent: From London to Rio with Adam Deacon, TriN3rgy and somewhereto_

This blog can also be read on The Independent website here.

‘Life-changing’ is a term thrown about all too easily I think. A friend of mine once called his discovery of Guarana as ‘life-changing’. Granted, the drink is moreish but take the story of three young friends from London going from dancing pals in the playground to a standing ovation in the Olympic Park, before flying off to Rio de Janeiro to star in their own short film directed by Anuvahood’s BAFTA Rising Star winner Adam Deacon – I reckon their summary of ‘It was life-changing’ resonates a bit more than a can of Guarana.

Francis Ngahu, Troy Cameron-Eastman and Krrishna Sivakumaran (all aged 17) entered the somewhereto_ show off the back of a nationwide talent competition back in June. Going by the alias TriN3rgy, they had impressed already with their handheld camera entry, though were up against some stiff competition including musicians, circus performers, BMX riders, free runners, martial artists, fashionistas and even a guy doing lovely motorbike sound effects with his mouth – all with a keen eye on the prize; one of 10 performance slots at the Olympic Park, and one overall winner to get that spectacular Rio trip with Adam Deacon and starring role in the short film.

I travelled from London to Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff with somewhereto_, capturing the best (and at times weirdest) of young talent the UK had to offer. I play guitar myself, but never had the confidence (or sufficient talent) to perform anywhere beyond my bedroom, so already – credit was due.

Then came the huff, puff and scratch of the head challenge of whittling the hundreds down to a final 10 for the Olympic Park – and of course, TriN3rgy were in there. On the day I recall meeting them for the first time, all three of them nonchalantly stretching, body popping and flipping behind the Bandstand stage, and all already extremely appreciative and wearing champion badges. “We’re just so excited to be here. We’re in the final 10, there’s hundreds of people waiting to see us – so Rio or no Rio, we already feel like winners” – humble sentiments by Krrishna before setting the stage alight with Troy and Francis, and as the story goes – winning the competition, hand picked by head judge Adam who said, “I watched them perform, and thought their style and moves would definitely look sick with the Rio backdrops.”

On to Rio, and I somehow managed to get a seat on the plane for my own life-changer, six days working alongside the crew and TriN3rgy; who danced with trademark woolly hats and masks in 30 degree heat on Copacabana Beach, through an old school Copacabana market and Rocinha favela, down the Selaron Staircase, and opposite the iconic Christ the Redeemer. “It was special from the moment we flew over Rio and saw all the lights…” said Troy, “I can’t choose a favourite location; the whole experience has just been out of this world for us” added Francis.

Also basking in the ambiance was Adam: “City of God is one of my all-time favourite movies. To be here where that was filmed, with TriN3rgy and somewhereto_ doing our own film, I’m just as happy and excited to get tRio out there.” Meanwhile, I was flooding somewhereto_ Twitter and Facebook with everything I could grab a snapshot of – from the stunning scenery to TriN3rgy’s moves (simultaneously plotting my return ticket to Rio. Bring on the World cup 2014).

Back in London, and tRio (which you can now watch below!) had its premiere screening at the Brazilian Embassy (with the added bonus of Guarana on the menu), provoking a rapturous applause for TriN3rgy. I expected nothing less. “Watching it, I don’t think things will ever be the same. This spells a new chapter for us,” said Krrishna who with TriN3rgy, are now on the cusp of booking further dance shows in 2013. 
somewhereto_ is all about changing young people’s lives, and I’ve seen hundreds over my 16 months on the project who have found the space and channels they need to turn their ideas, skills and passions into outstanding actions, in turn formulating positive changes for their future. With TriN3rgy and the rest in mind, ‘life-changing’ may be a term I’m not sick of just yet.

Blog for Huffington Post: Taking Young UK Talent From London to Rio With somewhereto_

This blog can also be read on the Huff Post website here.

I can safely say my first year with somewhereto_ has been a hectic one. I joined the team just over a year ago under the presumption that the nationwide Cultural Olympiad legacy project that 'unlocks spaces for young people to do the things they love' merely involved getting future Justin Biebers into studios, future Wayne Rooneys onto football pitches, future Fearne Cottons on the air waves and future Damien Hirsts into exhibition halls (you get the point!). How very wrong I was.

somewhereto_ is all about that - and much more. Thousands have practiced and showcased their skills and passions through the thousands of spaces somewhereto_ has provided (and all for free no less), but highlights from my year have seen 'thinking way outside the box' occasions, each one illustrating what creative talent we can develop with young people if we open our minds with them just that bit further. Getting spoken word poets, free runners and boxers showcased in 10 Downing Street, animators with their work screened on the BT Tower's giant LED screens, and a dance crew performing at the Eden Project are pure somewhereto_ examples of how 'unconventional' can equal innovation.
This brings me to the latest instalment of somewhereto_ magic moments, as in October I flew to Rio de Janeiro with young dance crew TriN3rgy, who through a somewhereto_ nationwide talent competition, won a trip of a lifetime and chance to star in a short film directed by Anuvahood's BAFTA Rising Star winner Adam Deacon. The film called 'tRio', which features Francis Ngahu, Troy Cameron-Eastman and Krrishna Sivakumaran (all aged 17) showing off their moves on Copacabana Beach and a local Copacabana market, through the Rocinha favela, sliding down the Selaron Staircase, and opposite the iconic Christ the Redeemer, can now be watched below!
 "The whole experience has changed our lives. A year ago we were just three friends dancing in school shows. We've now been to Rio and starred in this film which we'll be proud of forever," said Krrishna. Francis added, "Every location was unbelievable, I'm still dreaming of Rio" whilst Troy stated, "It was special from the moment we flew over the city and saw all the lights. I'll never forget it."
Adam Deacon, who may be more used to working with professional actors than three boys with no acting experience, was full of praise: "TriN3rgy were amazing, always full of energy despite the 30 degree heat every day, and even brought their own ideas to the table. They were great to work with, the tRio looks sick, and I just hope everyone enjoys it."
Another chapter from the world of somewhereto_ comes to a close, but expect much more success stories_, especially as the project has recently been given £7million by Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to support the expansion of somewhereto_ over the next four years.

Interview with dance trio TriN3rgy on Rio's Escadaria SelarĂ³n (SelarĂ³n Staircase)

Grabbing a moment on Rio's famous staircase to interview the stars of 'tRio'.
Watch below to see the final cut of the somewhereto_ film directed by Mr Adam Deacon!

The full story is here.