The Can Fu Master

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An accumilation of reviews from my performance of “Don’t hate the Player, Hate the Game” by Kristen McNallly at Cloud Dance Festival 2011

Retox Magazine – M. Andre

“Tommy Franzen, as expected, gave a blasting performance to close the show – the best saved for the last.

Tommy Franzen turns the stage into a serious sizzler

The versatile hip-hop sensation Tommy Franzen, the first ever hip-hop dancer who was nominated for a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award earlier this year gave a heated performance effortlessly accelerating into top gear with his breaks, as always, in tact.

As we know, Tommy Franzen was an aerialist in the opening ceremony for the Asian Games, and in the closing ceremony Tommy played a lead character as an actor. Tommy Franzen also has a strong background in musical theatre and has previously taken dance classes in a variety of styles. Defining Tommy as a hip-hop dancer would therefore be a bit of an understatement. Much of what we saw during the So You Think You Can Dance series last year and even on Saturday night at Cloud Dance Festival where Tommy Franzen stepped into the role created by the Royal Ballet’s soloist Thomas Whitehead in Kristen McNally’s famous choreographed piece “Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game”, which he very much made it his own, not only shows Tommy’s passion for different forms of dance but continues to exhibit skill and talent. No wonder Urdang Academy offered Tommy a scholarship back in 2000.”

Thepublicreviews.com – Tony Stotts-Rates

“Festival headliner Kristen McNally’s enjoyable Don’t hate the player, Hate the game, was a worthy close to the night and hip hop dancer Tommy Franzen a very engaging performer. McNally is known for her use of pop culture music and references mixed with some exciting choreography to create fresh cutting edge pieces. In this she successfully merges various dance styles from breaking to contemporary ballet movement which is effectively explored and performed by b-boy Franzen. What makes this piece stand out for me was how palpably the dancer enjoyed dancing it, it was sexy and dangerous, humorous and fun, dancer and movement interacting with the music and lighting, bringing to mind James Bond, Cowboys, and suave and dapper gentleman partners at formal dances.”
Londondance.com – Libbo Costello

“Bringing Firefly to a close on Saturday was perhaps the most anticipated artist of the evening.  Tommy Franzen, of So You Think You Can Dance fame, performed Royal Ballet soloist, Kristen McNally’s Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game.  It was originally choreographed to Kanye West’s latest album, in the Apple Store, Covent Garden earlier this year.  With the audience helping to create the work, this was probably one of the first dance pieces to be made interactively in a shop.

Franzen took the place of Royal Ballet soloist Thomas Whitehead in this reworked solo and used his unique hip hop based style to ease through the movements.  At least part of the joy of watching Franzen is down to the sheer happiness he radiates when on stage.  McNally’s choreography saw him, with the help of the music, transform from gentry to city slicker in a few brief movements.”

Dance Ink

“Highlights of the evening included Kristen McNally’s work, Don’t hate the player, Hate the game, danced exquisitely by Tommy Franzen. The music, moves and charisma had the audience laughing for the mere joy of it.”

The Londonist – Lindsey Clarke

“Star billing goes to all round ace and SYTYCD star, Tommy Franzen dancing a solo by Royal Ballet soloist and groovy mix it up with hip hop choreography cat, Kristen McNally. Tommy is – as always – awesome”

Laura Dodge

“Known for her small-scale ‘indie ballets’ with modern cultural references, Kristen McNally’s choreography fuses numerous dance styles to varied sound accompaniment – from music to the spoken word. Don’t hate the player, Hate the game was an utterly engaging piece and a comment on people’s need to conform rather than dare to be original. Hip-hop dancer Tommy Franzén was exquisite, especially in robotic body isolations where he moved minute body parts with the utmost precision. He seemed to be testing out different identities in order to find one that fitted, always moving with a tangible pleasure and allure. At times bouncy, at others poignant and everything in between, Don’t hate the player rounded off the evening with a punch.”

” Sunday evening concluded with a second showing of Kristen McNally’s Don’t hate the player, Hate the game. Again performed exceptionally by Tommy Franzén, this rounded off Cloud Dance Festival’s weekend of choreographic treats wonderfully.”

Celia Moran

“Kristen McNally’s Dont hate the player, Hate the game performed by Tommy Franzen left no dance genre unturned. Franzén sauntered from popping, to breaking , mime and contemporary seamlessly. However, writing this made me question: why is this noteworthy? If a breaking move fits in the music alongside contemporary, why should it be out of context? It’s all dance, isn’t it? Although McNally will admit: ‘it was based on my interest in the Stanford prison experiment and our nature to conform to a perceived ideal. As always it ended up a million miles from this!’ I’ll forgive a tangent when it’s this enjoyable to watch!”

Kim Lofthouse (Cultiv8 Arts)

“The night culminated with Kristen McNally’s “Don’t hate the player, Hate the game”, an edgy indie ballet performed by hip-hop dancer Tommy Franzén. The exquisite choreography is peppered with pop culture references from Reservoir Dogs to Michael Jackson and this is reflected in the modern score and the urban edge that Franzén brings to the classical ballet movements within the piece. The themes of conformity & control that inspired McNally quickly become evident as the dancer shifts seamlessly between conforming to and resisting the demands of the music. Franzén personifies this character wonderfully, engaging the audience throughout and leading us on the same adrenaline-filled journey that he is going through on stage. The blending of the classical and the modern is the true genius of this piece, making it endlessly engaging to a modern audience of dance lovers and dance first timers.”

“The climax of the night was Kristen McNally’s “Don’t hate the player, Hate the game”, an edgy indie ballet performed by hip-hop dancer, Tommy Franzén. Normally, I struggle to watch dance pieces more than once and still feel the same sense of excitement as I do the first time, but this was definitely not the case for this one. The pop culture references and blend of humanity & urban edginess that Franzén brings to this piece resonated as loudly the second time as it had the first, enthralling the audience. It was truly a joy to be able to watch this piece a second time and pick up on the subtler nuances of McNally’s choreography that underpin the tangible energy of this piece and its dynamic blend of old and new, urban and classical.  It is this mixture that sets the piece apart from its rivals as something truly original. A wonderfully high-octane end to a fantastic weekend of dance.”

Michelle Harris

“Closing the show with a work that in contrast brought some light relief to the evenings more serious offerings was Firefly’s festival headliner Kristen McNally. A soloist for the Royal Ballet, McNally presented Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game, a quirky animated solo, reworked for the BBC’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ finalist and ZooNation’s star Tommy Franzén. Although originally based on McNally’s interest in the Stanford prison experiment, it’s not this narrative that ultimately shines through during the dance, but Franzen himself, with an absorbing and charismatic performance.

Whether a debonair hero, cowboy or enthusiastic Elvis impersonator, Franzén struts, body pops, leaps and windmills his way through the material, gloriously imitating the melo-dramatic intro to Michael Bubles’ ‘Cry Me A River’ and then a beaty, up-tempo electronic track. A fusion of Street Dance, Contemporary and Balletic styles, McNally’s witty, cutting edge choreography sits well on Franzen, effectively showcasing his talent for versatility and musicality. If there’s one criticism for McNally it’s that this enjoyable escapade seems to end too soon.”

Susanne Allen

“The evening drew to a close with an outstanding performance by Swedish-born dancer Tommy Franzén, with choreography by Royal Ballet soloist Kristen McNally. Don’t hate the player, Hate the game was truly worth the wait as Franzén plays out numerous styles from classical ballet to body popping and hip-hop, a style Franzén is renowned for, which was utterly superb.  There has been a buzz of excitement surrounding Cloud Dance Festival this year like no other Festival before it, and for me, this performance was the reason. McNally’s unique choreography and Franzén’s mesmerising performance was breathtaking.”

© Jonathan Hughes

© Jonathan Hughes


First review of Cloud Dance Festival – Firefly on www.thepublicreviews.com

It was been a great weekend performing and watching the other brilliant dance acts. Cloud Dance Festival is created to celebrate contemporary dance and we sure did that for the last three days.

This was my first collaboration with Royal Ballet soloist Kristen McNally and I loved performing her solo “Don’t hate the Player, Hate the Game”. Outside The Royal Ballet Kristen is mostly known for her choreographic work  in the style of “Indie Ballet” but maybe when I perform it should be called “Indie Hop”? 😉  I hope there will be more future collaborations with Kristen and I.

Here is the link to the first review I’ve found so far and below and outtake from the article.

http://www.thepublicreviews.com/cloud-dance-festival-firefly-pleasance-theatre-london/

“Festival headliner Kristen McNally’s enjoyable Don’t hate the player, Hate the game, was a worthy close to the night and hip hop dancer Tommy Franzen a very engaging performer. McNally is known for her use of pop culture music and references mixed with some exciting choreography to create fresh cutting edge pieces. In this she successfully merges various dance styles from breaking to contemporary ballet movement which is effectively explored and performed by b-boy Franzen. What makes this piece stand out for me was how palpably the dancer enjoyed dancing it, it was sexy and dangerous, humorous and fun, dancer and movement interacting with the music and lighting, bringing to mind James Bond, Cowboys, and suave and dapper gentleman partners at formal dances.”

Photographer: David Clerihew


I’m performing a promo of Some Like It Hip Hop with ZooNation at Magical Of The Musicals tonight.

We are performing a 17 minute promo from ZooNation’s new show Some Like It Hip Hop at Canada Square Park tonight at 7.30pm and it’s FREE!!! Why not come down to see what this new hip hop show, that I am partly choreographing and performing in, is all about?

The event is called Magical Of The Musicals and will be an evening full of entertainment.

We are opening Some Like It Hip Hop at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre on the 20th October 2011 until 19th November 2011.

Buy your tickets here http://www.sadlerswells.com/show/ZooNation-Some-Like-It-Hip-Hop

Here is the trailer again for anyone who hasn’t seen or anyone who wants to see it again 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRtG8NL41Q




Cher Lloyd’s debut music video Swagger Jagger that I choreographed is out

After a long suspense of waiting for what Cher Lloyd’s first music video will be like…It’s finally here!

It was a pleasure to work with Cher and I’d like to congratulate her on her debut video. I think she looks fantastic in it. I would also like to give a special thanks to my assistant Maria Swainson from RiRi Productions plus all my amazing  dancers.

Choreography dancers: Stephanie Sit, Jack McKenzie, Sarah Richards, Lindon Barr, Sarah Jane Aboboto, Libby Hall, Daniel Uppal and Nader Musharbash.

Breakers: Bboy Lil’ Tim, Bgirl Roxy, Kay Banner, Bboy Ling and Bboy Silk.

Hope you like the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IetUcNRcWj8


Production Company: The Found Collective

Post Production: Mainframe

Directors: Mike Sharpe and Marcus Moresby

Choreographer: Tommy Franzen

Assistant Choreographer: Maria Swainson (RiRi Productions)


The Streetdance Spy’s interview with me about dance.

Tommy Franzen ‘Blaze’ choreographer: “I want to produce my own show.”

Posted on March 29, 2011 by admin

Twenty-eight year old B-boy and commercial dancer Tommy Franzén started out copying dance moves from sister when he was little back in Sweden. He took up a few classes and he’s never looked back.


Since those toe tapping days Tommy has gone on to star in musicals, appear in films, adverts, and dance talent shows like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ (SYTYCD) U.K. If you’re still trying to place where you may have seen Tommy – think back to the ‘Pepsi Can-Fu’ advert.

The ‘Urdang’ Academy graduate has achieved so much already, and is in talks to create his own dance show featuring ‘dancing and choreography’. He seems so passionate about this idea, he beams; “I really want my own project that I can put all my experience and heart in to.”  I ask if he is worried that as a result of all the success and coverage of street dance in recent years, whether audiences will get bored of it. Tommy explains “Yeah it’s possible but that’s the risk with everything, choreographers could take things so far that there’s no room to improve, but I think that’ll take at least a couple of years.”

The life of a dancer is certainly not all glitz and glam, Tommy recounts jobs where he has had little or no time to prepare and warm up “you’re just on and you go ahead and do it and you don’t have much time to take care of yourself.” While Tommy was in the bubble of SYTYCD he claims he had to ‘block out everyday life’ he said “you need to do that in order to do well, you can’t have your mind anywhere else but in that place.”

SYTYCD dancer profile shots

I imagine one of the hardest things about a dancers life is the constant physical pressure. Tommy explains there are other less obvious aspects where dance can test you; “it’s also the mental pressure that you go through, it’s the panic of whether your brain has got enough capacity to take in any more information.”It appears, not only do you have to be a positive healthy performer but you also need to be mentally strong. Tommy drives home the point “it’s such hard work to keep training all the time, you need to keep on top of it all the time even if you’re not working.”

No sooner had Tommy finished filming SYTYCD, then he was then snapped up by the smart people of Sadlers Wells to choreograph and perform in ‘Blaze’ the West End Street dance sensation. Used to dancing 10 hour days, the b-boying prince took it all in his stride. He explains that the unpredictability of dance is something he enjoys “you don’t know how much the next project is going to pay, but I kind of like that.

“The thought of not really knowing, I kind of buzz off that.”

When it comes to preparing for dance shows Tommy has rather unorthodox approach. Unlike most dancers he doesn’t hit the gym, oh no, Tommy prefers things a little more risqué, a spot of ‘cross training, rock climbing and sometimes gymnastics’ is more his thing. Despite Tommy’s penchant for dangerous pass times he makes sure he looks after himself and knows that dance injuries don’t just disappear, he laments; “injuries that you pick up are always with you.”

Franzén getting back to basics with rock climbing

I ask Tommy what he thinks of starting to dance at an early age, he agrees that training earlier means you’ll get more practise at the dance style, however ‘it could mean that you get bored of it earlier.’ You often hear people reminiscing about the past, sighing ‘I really wish I’d kept that up’. Tommy himself is one example of picking dance up at a young age and has years of experience.

One dance forum suggested that all dancers who want to go pro are expected to commit to about 15 hours a week of technique training i.e. ballet, and anything up to twice that during summer months. Tommy explains that taking up technical dance styles that are designed to ‘train your body to look unnatural’ at an early age can be ‘tough on the body in later years.’

The qualified massage therapist, yes you read correctly, feels most comfortable b-boying and conceptualising hip-hop choreography. We start discussing the topic of b-boying, or rather b-girling. He agrees that it is still very much a man’s game “I can’t really think of any female b-girl pioneers off-hand, it would be nice to see more women in that style” adding “you get a lot of b-girls that dance like men.

“It is nice sometimes to see men dance like men and women dance like women.”

Most of the male pioneers of B-boying are old school battlers who stand for the East coast or the West coast of America. The U.S. soul and funk movement is where b-boying was given birth. From the hot stepping feet of James Brown, to battle-zone’s like ‘Harlem World’ of 116th street, Harlem. “I Love dancing to old funk tracks, and I look up to East coast and West coast greats like Mr. Wiggles and the guys from Rock Steady Crew.”

Original Article http://www.streetdancespy.com/?p=34#more-34


Tommy’s Final solo on SYTYCD UK 2010

This is Tommy Franzen’s final solo from “So You Think You Can Dance UK”. Series 1 week 6 (final week). The song is “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake.

 


Physical Funk – Winners of UDO European Street Dance Championships 2011

Physical Funk  is the winning crew from Germany of UDO European Street Dance Championship 2011 in the category 18years+

Enjoy!!

http://vimeo.com/22229504


Tommy’s solo on SYTYCD UK week 5 – Variations

Tommy Franzen’s solo from “So You Think You Can Dance UK”. Series 1 week 5. The song is “Variations” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Julian Lloyd Webber on the cello.

http://www.tommyfranzen.com


Tommy Franzen at Karen Hardy’s Party Masquerade by Retox Magazine

Karen Hardy’s red carpet event “Party Masquerade” was a great night and this is Retox Magazine’s take on the night. There is also a link to Tommy’s performance in the article.

http://www.retoxmagazine.com/karen-hardy-party-masquerade.html


Tommy’s solo on SYTYCD UK week 3 – Beggin’

My solos from So You Think You Can Dance where taken off YouTube for some reason so I’m uploading them again and we’ll see if they stay on there. This one is from SYTYCD Series one, week 3. The song is Beggin’ by Madcon.