Post date: 06 September 2013

Following last year's line up of experimental commissions from leading dance artists, Sadler's Wells has another series of Wild Card, handing three choreographers the keys to the studio.

Wild Card is a new Sadler's Wells initiative that gives artists the opportunity to curate a programme of work of their choice, whether it's their own material, or collaborations with other artists.

The hand we've been dealt this year includes Vicki Igbokwe, Anand Bhatt and Laura Dajao, three great dancers who continue to push the envelope in their respective disciplines. Why have Sadler's Wells telling its audience what to watch when active dancers themselves can programme work from artists they admire?

Along with the shows in the Lilian Baylis Studio there will also be a series of pre-show performances and installation pieces in the adjacent Khan Lecture Theatre.

Wild Card 2013 dates

Click images for more details! 

Vicki Igbokwe 

Anand Bhatt

Laura Dajao - Take a Closer Look 

Tickets to the Wild Card shows are £17. Transaction fees apply to online (£1.75) and phone bookings (£2.50). No fee in person at Ticket Office. Group Discounts Groups 8+ 20% off stalls seats for most performances. Not available online or in conjunction with any other offer. To book, call the Ticket Office on 0844 412 4300.

Post date: 03 September 2013

The UK B-Boy Championships is back, but for the first time bringing the breaks to Brum!

The 18th Annual Sony Xperia B-boy Championships World Finals 2013 in partnership with Dancexchange, will be held at the O2 Academy Birmingham after 17 years in London.

Once again the proceedings will be hosted by Crazy Legs and Afrika Islam over Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September to find the worlds best b-boys and b-girls, hip hop freestylers and poppers.

The B-Boy Championships has also partnered up with Dirty 30s on the Saturday to highlight our old school generation b-boys - those in their late 30s and 40s - to the newer generation of dancers.

UK BBoy Championships 2013 line up

Crews 
Morning Of Owl (Korea)
Massive Monkees (USA)
The Originals (Ukraine) 
5 Crew Dynasty (USA)
The Ruggeds (Netherlands) 
9 Stylez Connection (Russia / Berlarus / Netherlands)
The Floorriorz (Japan)
UK crew (coming soon)

Solo b-boy 
Kareem (USA)
Nasty Ray (USA) 
Taisuke (Japan)
Menno (Netherlands)
Sunni (UK)
Wen (Switzerland)
Hamza (UAE)
Ryuichi (Japan)

Popping
Franqey (France)
Hoan (Korea)
Brooke (UK)
Bruce (France)
Sun (USA) 
Yordana (Netherlands)
Dynamite Cat (Japan)
Yag Funky (Kazakhstan)

Hip hop freestyle 
Mufasa (France)
Valmira (Switzerland)
G-Haksoo (Korea)
Paradox (Netherlands)
Anthony (Netherlands)
Tracey (Japan)
Sandra (Finland)
Eastern Europe (coming soon)

UK BBoy Championships 2013 dates, times and other details

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 

O2 Academy Birmingham
16 - 18 Horsefair
Bristol Street
Birmingham B1 1DB

Day 1 (Knockout Jam) Doors 3pm Til 11pm
National Crew Championships (UK)
Solo B-Boy Qualifiers, Top 16 Battle and Quarter Finals
Solo Popping Qualifiers, Top 16 Battle and Quarter Finals
Solo Hip-Hop Freestyle Qualifiers, Top 16 Battle and Quarter Finals
Seven 2 Smoke Battle
Footwork Battle
Dirty 30s World Finals

Day 2 (World Finals) Doors 5pm Til 11pm
World B-Boy Crew Championships
World Solo B-Boy Championship
World Solo Popping Championship
World Solo Hip Hop Freestyle Championship
Crazy Legs Fresh Awards
DJ Leacy Chief Rocka Award

Hosted By The Legendary:
Crazy Legs (Rock Steady Crew)
Afrika Islam (Universal Zulu Nation)

Advance Tickets:
Weekend Ticket £25.00
Saturday Ticket £15.00
Sunday Ticket £17.50

Box Office:
0844 477 2000 / www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk / TicketWeb 

For Updates and Info:
www.bboychampionships.com 

Post date: 20 August 2013

To celebrate the opening of CAST, Doncaster’s new performance venue, Breakin’ Convention will be presenting an afternoon of battles, showcases and performances.

Hosted by Jonzi D local Donny dancers will get down for your entertainment and give you a taste of what the Breakin’ Convention atmosphere is like ahead of our leg of the UK tour in May 2013 (additional UK tour dates are still to be announced)!

Specially-invited competitors will be battling it out for your entertainment with popping and breaking battles, so sit back, relax, and enjoy what we have on offer in the run up to our return in May 2014, or why not join in some of the cyphers!

Did we mention that the day is completely FREE? Come down on Saturday 7 September and sample some of Breakin' Convention for yourself! 

Venue: Cast, Waterdale, Doncaster DN1 3BU
Time: From 12:30

UPDATE: This event has now taken place - check out the video!

Make sure to pick up a Breakin’ Convention flyer!

Breakin' Convention at Cast Doncaster schedule 

12:30 – 1:15pm (timings are subject to change)

Hosted by Jonzi D
Music by DJ Lamour

Open Freestyle Circle
Popping Battle Semi-Finals (solo)
Rationale Performance (excerpt from In My Shoes)
Breaking Battle Semi-Finals (2on2)

3:30 – 4pm (timings are subject to change)

Hosted by Jonzi
Open Freestyle Circle
Popping Battle Final
Jonzi D Performance
Breaking Final

Popping (Solos)
Ginger Bread Man
Kasparan (D-Star Poppers)
Pierre (Urban Jokers/D-Star Poppers)
React

Breaking (2 on 2)
Ghetlow Pirates
H.E.R.S Crew
Steel City Rockers
Streetbeats Dance Academy

Judges
Diggady, Dhalsim and Hero

Post date: 01 August 2013

Award-winning jazz and hip hop artist Soweto Kinch returns to the stage this September for a staged performance of his new album that tells the story of a young aspiring artist by the name of Mike Smith.

Inspired by his own experiences in music with influences from The Seven Deadly Sins and Dante’s Inferno, The Legend of Mike Smith comes to Birmingham Rep and includes choreography from long time hip hop theatre innovator and collaborator Jonzi D.

“Mike Smith is an MC about to get signed, who’s at the cusp of a big decision in his career, and he’s plagued by each of the seven deadly sins in turn,” explains Soweto.

Set in an altered reality charting his downward spiral into curiosity and temptation The Legend of Mike Smith is brought to life by creative visuals to illustrate his changing perceptions that affect his potential lifestyle choices and scored alongside Soweto’s improvisational jazz and lyrics.

“It’s really exciting because all of my previous albums have had a 'theatrical element,' be it storytelling within it, a narrative within it, but this is the time from the very inception I thought about the full staging of it as a story.”

Jazz and Jonzi D

Back with Jonzi D, with whom he has collaborated with for Aeroplane Man and Markus the Sadist and many other projects will see choreographic direction set to Kinch's soundtrack.

“It takes a lot of our working practice that I’ve had with Jonzi since being brought in as a dep on Aeroplane Man and Marcus the Sadist and my own work and allowing all those experiences to culminate, for me, in what is my most ambitious work, a chance to integrate a lot of ideas that I’ve seen happen and put into an over-arching album and of course a performance."

Kinch can’t hide his excitement: “It's gonna be immense, given I have my band, the combined dancing abilities of Ricardo Da Silva, Tyrone Isaac Steward and the choreographical directorial wizardry that is Jonzi, it’s going to be off the chisel!”

Soweto Kinch: The Legend of Mike Smith at Birmingham Rep from 12-28 September.

For more information and tickets see The Legend of Mike Smith in our events calendar

Post date: 30 July 2013

Edinburgh Festival season is upon us once again and this August the line up includes some great hip hop theatre work (amongst the comedy, music, exhibitions and stuff that isn't set to a beat!).

Breakin' Convention has flicked through the pages of the Ed Fringe brochure and found some of the best hip hop-ish shows worth checking out. Within its dense pages there are several Breakin' Convention-related shows including two created as part of our artistic development course and one from a Breakin' Convention rep!

NOTE: Some shows take place on the same day at various times - check the Ed Fringe website before booking for exact curtain times! Click each thumbnail for more show info!

Abandoman: Moonrock Boombox 
Udderbelly, Bristo Square
31 July - 26 August
Abandoman's Moonrock Boombox is a show where no two nights are the same: Every single rap Rob Broderick (Ireland's greatest rapper) and his band performs is completely freestyled, playing off the audience through games, call and response, and those unfortunate enough to be in the front row.

Room 2 Manoeuvre: Squish at Dance Base 
Dance Base
2-17 August
This new solo work from Room 2 Manoeuvre will tread the line between tragedy and comedy set in the confines of a squash court and told in Tony Thrills' trademark theatrical style. Following the theme of success, the path to take, but also the things he might lose on the way.

Status Anxiety and Piece of Mind 
2-17 August 
Dance Base
Ashley Jack of Jackin' The Box and Emma Jayne Park present works developed at Breakin' Convention's Back to the Lab artistic development course and Open Art Surgery consecutively, exploring the subjects of social networking in the modern age and sociopathy.

The Lock In (formerly The Demon Barbers Road Show) 
Zoo Southside
3-16 August 
Morris dancing and hip hop don't traditionally go hand in hand, but The Lock In's show is pleased to turn tradition on its head: Going since 2009 they've done several UK tours with their acclaimed barn stomping show featuring beatboxing, b-boys and clogs.  

Rannel Presents: Flhip Flhop  
Assembly Checkpoint 
19-26 August
Rannel's classic duet of one upsmanship is back and we couldn't be happier! Matt Bailey and Joey D apparently announced a last ever tour of Flhip Flhop (and it was followed up with the equally brilliant 2Deep) but thankfully they've brought it back for Edinburgh with its side-splitting laugh-a-minute comedy.

Brand New Ancients - Kate Tempest 
The Traverse
20-25 August

Poet and rapper Kate Tempest tells an everyday epic over an exhilarating live score played by tuba, cello, violin, drums and electronics, that finds the gods of today all around us and reveals that our true heroes are much closer that we think.

The Get Down B-Boy Battle 

Also check out 

Cambuyon from Spain features seven performers deliver a vision on how rhythm has been evolving through the different cultures that surround us. Also from Spain, She Dances With Fate is a "flamenco hip hopera."

Post date: 26 July 2013

Following their outstanding performance at Breakin' Convention at the Apollo Harlem, New York dance critics have nominated Compagnie Sebastien Ramirez for a Bessie Award.

Sebastien Ramirez and Honji Wang are up against 11 other nominees for the Outstanding Performer category in what the New York Times heralds as "the dance world's version of the Academy Awards" later this year.

Sebastien and Honji first performed at Breakin' Convention in 2011 as Clash 66 with Amor & Psyche and went on to tour with us around the UK in 2012 with the reworked piece, AP15.

When choosing companies to bring to the Apollo there was no doubt about taking them with us to NYC to showcase the best in international hip hop dance theatre. With their on stage love-hate chemistry and pushing the dynamics of hip hop dance the Apollo was awestruck by what they saw.

Notable other mentions include Ephrat Asherie for the piece A Single Ride, also performed at Breakin' Convention at the Apollo, nominated in the Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Musical Composition/Sound Composition categories. 

Joanna Haigood from Dancing in the Streets, the company that kicked off the cypher activities under the Apollo's marquee and in the foyers, for Paseo. 

The 29th annual Bessie Awards will take place on Monday 7 October at the Apollo Theater, Harlem, NYC. Hopefully it will be a chance for Sebastien and Honji to return to the world famous stage once more!

Post date: 19 July 2013

In the last few years Breakin' Convention has been increasing their commitment to the development of hip hop theatre as a genre and in particular the support of UK-based companies. Through their education and professional development strands they aim to offer a range of opportunities and platforms as well as connecting companies with Arts Council England, other funding bodies and arts organisations.

Update: Check out what people had to say on Twitter about #OpenArtSurgery here!

Watch the Open Art Surgery Birmingham trailer

One of our courses is Open Art Surgery, a unique intensive masterminded by Breakin' Convention Artistic Director and hip hop theatre pioneer, Jonzi D for professional hip hop artists to engage and understand hip hop theatre better. Open to dancers, DJs, beatboxers, emcees, musicians and graffiti artists, participants receive training, mentorship and studio space to experiment and create new works in progress.  This culminates in the Open Art Surgery performance at the end of the week where the results are shared to a live audience who are then invited to critique, question and feedback to the artists.

Here's more info from Jonzi D...

Birmingham Hippodrome continues their dedication to supporting hip hop by partnering Breakin' Convention to deliver Birmingham's first ever Open Art Surgery in July. Jonzi will be joined by co-mentor Soweto Kinch and will feature local artists including Mad Flow, Marso Riviere, MelishaNeneTaps (MDK), Marius and Andrei (MDK), Pilgrim, and DJ Psykhomantus.

The live event will be hosted by Jonzi D alongside Birmingham's award winning jazz musician Soweto Kinch as they introduce the fresh new work developed during the week. Expect to see the very best in breaking, popping, locking, rapping and turntablism chewed up and given a theatrical overhaul.  Birmingham Hippodrome and Breakin' Convention's commitment to offering high quality theatre at an affordable price is evident in the £5 ticket price.

The audience is then invited to a free post show party, featuring DJ Psykhomantus, at Stage Door, Thorp Street, where they can meet the artists and talk to them about their work. The Open Art Surgery performance is the place to see the work of the future first!

Open Art Surgery Birmingham tickets 

The Open Art Surgery performance takes place on Saturday 20 July 2013, 7.45pm at Patrick Centre, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5, 4TB.

Tickets are priced at £5 and are available online at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or by phoning 0844 338 5000 or in person.

 

Post date: 16 July 2013

Just a stone's throw from the seaside Bournemouth Pavilion hosted B-Town Get Down this weekend celebrating the hip hop elements on its terraces and in the dance studios.

Outside in the blazing sun over 5,000 people were treated to performances from local dance companies along with battle competitions, beatboxing and live art from 11am until 7pm allowing everybody to spectate and get involved with some impromptu call-and-response and easy to follow routines.

Partnering with All Elements, Vile Style 9 was Saturday's big b-boy battle organised by Second To None and hosted by Jonzi D and Lacemaster.

Coincidentally dancers from the two crews in the finals also made the solo finals with B-Boy Noe winning against B-Boy Marius in the solos and Mad Skills taking Mad Dope Alliance in the finals. Dymes took Sunday's popping battle in a seven to smoke.

Vile Style 9 results

Top 16 solo b-boys
Gerry v Khanage
Andrei v Will 
Noe v Fon
Marso v Silk 
JDK v Charlie Locksmith 
Marius v Boot 
Bugz v Ribbon 
Stefin v Beczoo 

Quarter finals 
Khanage v Andrei 
Noe v Marso 
Charlie Locksmith v Marius 
Bugz v Stefin 

Semi finals 
Andrei v Noe 
Marius v Bugz 

Finals 
Noe v Marius 

Crew battles 
Criminals v Style Never Stops 
Mad Skillz v Research and Development 
MDA v Special Mix
Just 4 Funky Breakers v Random Crew 

Semi finals 
Criminals v Mad Skillz 
MDA v Just 4 Funky Breakers 

Finals 
MDA v Mad Skillz 

Later on a Secret Walls art battle saw four local artists attempt to pain a mural using only black markers in 90 minutes. Check out the finished results below (it's a video, press play).

Bournemouth Pavilion is also supporting Jonzi D and Ivan Blackstock with a residency to create a new piece of work, Broken Lineage, for Lyrikal Fearta this October in the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells, and will later tour the UK.

B-Town will be back next year on 6, 7 and 8 June 2014. In the mean time watch out for our an Open Art Surgery at Pavilion Dance later this year!

Post date: 12 July 2013

With high streets suffering from boarded up shop fronts and disused retail spaces somewhereto_ is looking for people age between 16-25 to take over with whatever creative project they can think of and transform delapidation into inspiration. 

Five empty shops across the UK in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bangor are looking to be occupied as part of the campaign running over six weeks throughout July and August and supported by somwhereto_ to make them a success. 

The spaces can be used for anything creative, from exhibitions and screenings to pop up shops or as space to train and rehearse, rent-free. So if you're a dance crew happy to turn your rehearsals into a public performance so shoppers can see how motivational your classes are, or you've been looking to do some experimental installation work, what you propose to use the space for is up to you! 

What they really want to do is restore some energy into town high streets and put the young people first making it something people will really talk about - an opportunity dancers and other creatives in hip hop shouldn't miss - and they'll help you make it work by negotiating a time and location. 

somewhereto_ is calling for people to apply ahead of its launch on Thursday 18 July - let's get some dancers involved. Apply here to express your interest! 

You might already have an event planned but need a location to hold it, or you might already have made your name in the scene but want to branch out to new audiences - your idea can be as basic or detailed as you like.

somewhereto_ is a service that helps young people to find access to find space to practice, perform and showcase for free, in disused space across the UK. Hit them up at somewhereto.com 

Post date: 09 July 2013

Let's hark back to the good old days of hip hop in London, or the golden era if you will.

Back in the day Covent Garden in London was the spot to go experience hip hop, in person, on the streets. Three decades later there are two filmmakers looking to re-tell the story of the then emerging American subculture of hip hop hitting the UK for the first time through archive videos and first hand accounts with those that witnessed its rise in Unstoppable: The Roots of Hip Hop in London.

Giuseppe Pipitone, a published author who has spent the past twenty years documenting the previously unwritten stories of the Black Panthers and of hip hop artists worldwide, and Lidia Ravviso, an independent filmmaker and music video director with a taste for socially engaged topics, are looking to document the early days of hip hop culture in London. Told over 52 minutes and four closely linked sections it'll be a feature length documentary with scores of old school heads telling their story.

Using the crowd funding website Indiegogo they aim to raise £15,000 in cash to finish the project. In exchange for gradually increasing denominations of cash support, backers can fund the project in exchange for goodies such as a copy of the finished documentary on DVD, posters, t-shirts, or even associate producer rights.

Though Covent Garden's cobbled streets is now a tourist spot with boutiques and high end retail stores with street performers entertaining tourists and passers by, it was a different scenario in the 80s. The street performers back in the day were b-boys and the coppers weren't averse to chasing off the apparent 'troublemakers' actually battling one another for respect. 

Although to talk about it, you had to be there instead of reading our second hand account. Unstoppable will feature, amongst many more, talking about those early days: Family Ques, MC Mello, Rodney P, Cookie Crew, DJ Fingers, Yankee, Fresh Ski, Dave Cash C, MC Duke, Dolby D, Pervez, Halit, Fraggle, Skam One, Pride, DJ Devastate, Sparkii Ski, Jimmy Beat Box, Alex Tomb, and of course, Jonzi D. Check out this video of Freestyle 85 (not in the documentary, just for illustrative purposes).

Unstoppable is going to bring many of the old school cats together and make sure that London's early history is set in celluloid and old memories don't go forgotten. 

So while the scene was emerging in NYC, London was studying the grainy VHS tapes of Rock Steady Crew and any other footage it was possible to get your hands on to discover an American culture similar to the social climate in the UK under Thatcher's government expressing themselves in a whole new way. From picking up a mic or a marker to writing their first 16 bars, or tagging up the subway cars, the earliest pioneers of London hip hop made it their own. Unstoppable will be a sentimental look back on the early days with untold stories and long-forgotten anecdotes from those that lived it.

If you're interested in donating you can see the progress of the campaign below and click to contribute.

 

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