Portrait of Flockey Ocscor, creator of the sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus

Interview with Flockey Ocscor, organiser of the Sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus

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"I want to create a place that brings people together."

Flockey Ocscor is a man of many talents – a dancer, musician, videographer, spoken word artist and the organiser of the Sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus, a series of events featuring dance, poetry, music and art performances. He has been teaching dance styles including locking and soul at Tanzhaus NRW since he was 17, and has won several European competitions with his dance crew. The 31-year-old has Congolese roots, but was born in Friedrichshafen, grew up in Ulm, spent a long time Wuppertal and is currently living in Solingen. But his artistic base is in Düsseldorf – which Flockey considers to be the German capital of urban dance.

Flockey, what does dance mean to you?
For me, dance means peace and relaxation. I like to switch off when I'm dancing and translate my own personal history into body language. Dance and music are like medicine for me – very therapeutic.

How did you discover dance for yourself?
As a young boy I always used to watch my father dance in the Congolese community in Ulm, which really inspired me without me realising it. But I really began to get the bug aged ten, when I discovered dance films and music videos by Usher, Michael Jackson and James Brown. I used to lock myself in my bedroom, or in the bathroom – that was my safe space – and copied the steps and movements I'd seen. I was the youngest of four siblings, so I was very shy back then and wouldn't have dared to dance in front of other people. That only came later, at school, when I used to practise choreographies with friends and perform them in the school playground at break time. This was soon followed by my first official dance battle in Mühlheim.

Was there a particular moment at which you knew that dance was your life?
I was 17 when I first took part in the world's largest dance battle, Juste Debout, in Paris. Me and my dance partner, Sugar Rae, were dancing in front of almost 20,000 people in Bercy. After that, everything changed. There were a lot of enquiries, and workshops in Germany and abroad. But that was also a great responsibility. All eyes were on us. Another milestone was when me and my partner won the UK B-Boy Championships. We were the first German dancers ever to win there. When I was young I'd always dreamed of taking part in this event. And then to stand on that stage and win as well? It was a dream come true.

A side-on portrait shot of Flockey Ocscor. His head is turned and he is looking straight at the camera.

You are known internationally in the dance scene. You’ve even caught the attention of soul singer Erykah Badu. How did that come about?
I was collaborating on a video clip with the Canadian band Bad-Bad-Not-Good. Those guys are friends with Erykah Badu, she became aware of the video and followed me on Instagram. That was a huge honour, of course, and it showed me how good social media is at connecting people globally.

You lived in Wuppertal for a long time, and now you live in Solingen, but you call Düsseldorf your artistic base. What would you regard as the city’s essential vibe?
Since I was 17, I have been teaching dance styles such as locking and soul at Tanzhaus NRW. I also studied communication design at the HSD. Düsseldorf is my base. All my dance events took place here, I often used to train here, and many of my friends live here. Düsseldorf is a very unique, artistic city with so much on offer. I have a great affinity with the Rhineland and I feel at home here. The African community is very close-knit. Whether it's in Wuppertal, Cologne or Düsseldorf, I'm able to dip into different cities and scenes and find exciting differences – both at a human and at an artistic level. As far as the urban scene is concerned, Düsseldorf is the artistic capital. We've got loads of history, a dance battle culture, Tanzhaus NRW and lots of international dancers, who learn from each other. It's really nice to be in Düsseldorf!

Twice a year, you organise the Sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus, a series of events with performances spanning a range of artistic disciplines. What was your inspiration?
I'm familiar with the dance scene and with communication design, and I know a lot about videography and directing. I came to realise that there is often a lack of communication between them. Videographers are looking for dancers or vice versa. There wasn't a place where all of them could come together. In addition to the live performances, that's the whole point of the Sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus, to bring people together to have a nice time. To provide a venue where different types of people can meet in their own space and afterwards do something creative together. There are very few events and venues that are enjoyable to visit by yourself. With the Sessions, I would like to break that mould. I don't necessarily need to come here with three friends, say. I may very well come on my own – and then leave with five people I've only just met.

What can we expect at the next instalment of the Sessions?
The focus is on a range of different live performances at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus that combine dance, poetry, music, spoken word and art. They are deliberately kept short, each is between five and 15 minutes long. And we will have exhibitions by painters, photographers, jewellers and other artists. For the first time there will also be hot food, as well as an after-party at Tanzhaus NRW.

How do you choose the artists for your Sessions?
I am quite particular and decide on instinct. Something needs to grab my attention. I can't even say what exactly. There has to be a certain aspect that I find interesting. I am very selective because I'm an artist myself rather than just a promoter. At the same time, I am open to a wide range of styles, and I have a team that helps me look for artists and see things in new ways.

Are there currently any Düsseldorf artists or talents that you’re particularly impressed with?
I happened to discover the Congolese guitarist Amuri outside Düsseldorf's main station. I was really stressed out, had a train to catch and I was wearing headphones. Then I suddenly heard this guitar that reminded me of my father and I stopped and listened to him properly. I was immediately bowled over, and he has now effectively become part of the family. He'll be performing at the upcoming Sessions at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus.

What places in Düsseldorf inspire you?
Volksgarten park in the summer. I spend a lot of time there and it allows me to be creative. Or Ruby Luna, a nice workspace, I can also be creative there. I'm generally a very quiet person, and I need quiet places that are also inspirational.

What are your dreams and goals?
My dream as organiser of the Sessions is to put on two different formats in Düsseldorf, a small, intimate event and a large festival in the summer that families, children and people who live abroad can come to. I'm currently working on an EP, a musical project with a few songs that I would like to combine with dance, short films and video. Because I'm a perfectionist, this is taking some time. Putting together that sort of musical dance project is my dream as an artist.

dhaus.de

Interview: Karolina Landowski
Photos: Ardelle Schneider
Sessions photos . 10/2023: With kind permission of Flockey Ocscor

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