Whilst working as a choreographer for music acts on television and in music video, Kate was distracted by the immense talent of the dancers backing the artists. She founded ZooNation as a company that could highlight the skills of these ‘backing dancers’ and give them their own platform as artists in their own right. At the time, the career path for a ‘backing dancer’ was limited whilst for a contemporary, ballet or musical theatre dancer, the breadth of employment opportunities was vast. Our first production, BoxBeat, was performed at Sadler’s Wells in the Lilian Baylis studio. It told a loose tale of three children who ran away from home and got lost in a new world of vibrant dance and music. This same idea was to be developed three years later to become Into the Hoods.
ZooNation was founded by Kate Prince in 2002 and is best known for its work in the theatre, creating full length narrative dance productions strongly influenced by hip hop culture and music. We fortify this work with an extensive programme of engagement and talent development, working with different communities and young artists to increase their skills, knowledge and confidence in our styles of dance theatre.
We have gained significant recognition of our artistic excellence through a variety of associateships which reflect the diverse facets of our work as artistic leaders, a trailblazing company and an enabler of the next generation of talent. Our current associations include:
- Kate Prince as Associate Artist and ZooNation as Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells
- ZooNation Youth Company (ZYC) as Resident Company at Southbank Centre
- ZooNation Academy of Dance (ZAD) West as Resident partner at The Lyric Hammersmith
- ZooNation being an Associate company at Southampton Mayflower
- Kate Prince as Associate Artist at Old Vic
Our portfolio of productions includes:
Into the Hoods
Into the Hoods was the first ever Hip Hop dance show and the longest running dance show in the West End’s history at its time. It re-tells classic fairy tales in our trademark innovative style – combining comedy with Hip Hop dance, physical theatre and a strong narrative. It opened in 2008 at London’s Novello Theatre and has since toured nationally. In 2015, Into The Hoods: Remixed returned to The Peacock, followed by a UK Tour to; Wolverhampton Grand Wolverhampton, The Grand Theatre Blackpool, The Orchard Theatre Dartford, Curve Leicester, Hall for Cornwall Truro, The Lyceum Sheffield, Brighton Dome Brighton, Mayflower Theatre Southampton, Marlowe Theatre Canterbury and HOME Manchester.
Some Like It Hip Hop
Some Like It Hip Hop is a story of love, mistaken identity and female revolution. Influenced by the themes from classic movies Some Like It Hot, US hit show Mad Men and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Some Like It Hip Hop is a complicated comical tale that has entertained audiences across the country.
Groove on Down the Road
This production, initially performed at Southbank Centre by ZooNation Youth Company, puts our unique twist on the well-known tale of The Wizard of Oz, with the underlying theme being the importance of creative subjects in the classroom. This production has been successfully remounted in Wales, Wolverhampton and Birmingham with a cast of young people from those regions.
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
The company’s latest work, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was premiered at the Royal Opera House in 2014 where it had a sell-out run. It was reimagined for the unique space of the Roundhouse in 2016. True to form, this dance adventure uses our energetic and accessible style to reinvent Lewis Carroll’s original story in a 21st-century way to explore perceptions of mental illness and what counts as ‘normal’.
After creating the show Some Like It Hip Hop, which had an original score played on a backing track but with the element of live singing, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company wanted to find an opportunity to take another step further into the realm of live music, and to create work with a full live band. Thanks to Sadler’s Wells and the Arts Council England, ZooNation: Unplugged was made possible.