This year, Breakin’ Convention celebrates 20 years of innovation and excellence with an extended festival weekend from Friday 28 April – Monday 1 May, lead in events across London and a nine venue UK tour.
Hosted and curated by UK Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention 2023 showcases the best of hip hop with local talents, top poppers, lockers, b-boys and b-girls, and a wide range of exciting international acts.
The stellar anniversary line-up includes:
🔥 La Diva aux Pieds Nus, a French dance collective made up of five Black women – Séréna Freira, Julie Laventure, Leila Miretti, Stéphie Téhoué and Mayvis William. The collective dances in unison across waacking, krump, popping, hip hop, house and Afro to celebrate women in their individuality and plurality.
🔥 b-boy Samuka, member of Ill-Abilities, an international breakdancing crew comprised of eight disabled dancers from around the world. Rather than seeing the negative limitations of “disability”, the crew focuses on their positive, or “ill”, abilities. Brazilian Samuka had a leg amputation at 14 and has since become one of the top breakers.
🔥 Ghetto Funk Collective, hailing from across The Netherlands, specialise in locking. Inspired by the 1970s era, the group came together through their mutual love for funk music and culture.
🔥 Justin de Jager, a Dutch threading artist presents a new piece for three UK dancers. Starting as a breaker, de Jager has been fascinated by “threading” in hip hop. He keeps pushing the concept’s limits to develop his own ideas in award-winning productions.
🔥 Boy Blue, east London’s leading street dance company and the multi award-winning brainchild of composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante MBE and choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE.
🔥Far from the Norm, led by Olivier award-winning choreographer Botis Seva, creates social and political work though hip hop theatre and experimental movement.
In a festival first, Breakin’ Convention will also present performances by its own newly formed Youth Dance Company. The group consists of young dancers aged 10 to 21. They are trained by choreographers Nicey Belgrave and Kelsey ‘Hydro’ Miller of award-winning hip hop dance company Boy Blue, and who also created EASTablishment in 2022.
Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D said: “20 years strong! We started big. We presented pioneering og’s from the US, breaking champions from Korea, and visionaries from France. We graffitied the mezzanine. We transformed the audience at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. We didn’t stop. We grew.
“20 years later, we’ve become the most globally recognised brand in hip hop dance theatre. Our artistic development programmes have nurtured hundreds of artists, and I’m proud to say that next year we will welcome the first cohort into our Hip Hop Theatre Academy in the new Sadler’s Wells East building.
“For the first time, the Festival spreads its wings to showcase artists in several London venues leading up to our bank holiday celebrations at Sadler’s Wells, providing more opportunities to engage with poetry, and text based performance. We will also spread the flava across the UK with our national tour! We’ll present world class crews from the Netherlands and Korea, and local dance crews from Brighton to Blackpool.
“20 years has flown by. Because our values have remained intact. Our goals are clear. The concept is the same as it ever was… ‘The best hip hop theatre from around the world, and around the corner.’”
Reflecting on the Festival anniversary, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sir Alistair Spalding, said: “Sadler’s Wells is so proud of what Breakin’ Convention has achieved over the past 20 years. It has grown to be an important reference point and showcase for talent today, consistently keeping a finger on the pulse of the dance world to present relevant acts that need to be seen.
It’s a big anniversary, and we are so excited to be opening the Hip Hop Academy Theatre in Stratford in 2024.”
For the first time ever, Breakin’ Convention will be on the road, celebrating this landmark year with a series of events taking place across London in the lead up to the Breakin’ Convention shows at Sadler’s Wells.
💥Breakin’ Convention presents Words Become Flesh at The Yard, bringing together spoken word artists and choreographers for fresh collaborations, on Saturday 11 March.
💥 At The Place Theatre, The Soweto Skeleton Movers present their show ‘Unbreakable’, exploring township trauma through Pantsula dance on Wednesday 12 & Thursday 13 April.
💥Breakin’ Convention presents Open Arts Surgery at The Bernie Grants Arts Centre, breaking down the fourth wall and showcasing raw talent and new work on Saturday 15 April.
The Festival’s Artistic Director Jonzi D is due to open Breakin’ Convention Hip Hop Theatre Academy in Stratford in 2024 as part of Sadler’s Wells East, a new cultural hub in east London.
In 2024, breaking will be performed as an official Olympic sport for the first time at the Paris Games. Jonzi D is Breaking GB’s Culture and Community Adviser.
Breakin’ Convention 2023 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre runs from Friday 28 April – Monday 1 May
Tickets available here: http://bit.ly/3RqAROx
More information on UK tour dates here: http://bit.ly/3WHfpWn