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.

 

Post date: 01 July 2013

Breakin' Convention embarked on its second Back to the Lab project earlier this year using four of the UK's top choreographers, specially hand picked to be part of our intensive training and mentorship programme.

Anthony 'Discreet' Bayou (Limited Edition), Kendra 'Kro' Horsburgh (BirdGang), Robby 'Raw-B' Graham (Bad Taste Cru) and Vicky 'Skytilz' Mantey (Boy Blue Entertainment) were the four artists selected to be put through their paces, tested, and push the boundaries of their hip hop theatre work under the guidance of Shobana Jeyasingh and Jonzi D.

The artists each presented a brand new short during the Back to the Lab evening at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells where members of the audience were invited to feedback directly to the artists, shaping their work for future research and development.

Check out this short mini-documentary on the project and find out what goes on in the minds of the UK's leading hip hop dance theatre makers...

Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director Jonzi D said back in January: "As all dance styles have foundations, Back To The Lab develops participant’s foundations for hip hop theatre." Having recognised a gap in training and support for experienced hip hop choreographers Back To The Lab seeks to plug that gap. Offering choreographers a unique opportunity to work with Jonzi D, other theatre aficionados, arts specialists and lighting designers there is no other course like it!

The course aims to give participants the means to approach work from fresh, new and interesting angles without losing the essence of what they do. Breakin' Convention is committed to the elevation of UK hip hop dance theatre and believe this is a valuable opportunity for even the most accomplished choreographer to go Back To The Lab!

Visit our Professional Development section for more information on the Back to the Lab course.

Post date: 25 June 2013

Following their premiere at Breakin' Convention at our 2013 London festival our 10 Tens troupe has been asked to perform at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival this weekend as part of the performance highlights. And you can watch it for free, in person, by going to Jubilee Plaza, Canary Wharf on 29 June from 1pm.

Choreographed by Vicky "Skytilz" Mantey and Bruno "Boom" Perrier of Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment, the 10 Tens performed in front of an audience of 1,800 during the opening night of this year’s Breakin' Convention in London. The 10 Tens collective is made up of individuals aged 10 (or on the cusp of turning 10) from all over the UK who applied following an open call out last November, scouted dancers and past performers also approached by Breakin’ Convention.

Here's a snippet of their performance from Breakin' Covention 2013

Programmers of Greenwich and Docklands International Festival liked the 10 Tens so much they had to have them for the line up! It's always great to see projects Breakin' Convention start go on to do bigger and better things!

Here's who else will be at Big Dance Youth Day...

13:00 - 14:15
Hightlight

10Tens 
Cando2 & Trinity Laban Youth Company

Programme 1
Sanskriti Limited
One Youth Dance 
SOH!
The Place CAT 
Re:Position 
Copthall School
New Movementz

14:15 - 15:00
Big Dance Pledge Workshop

15:00-15:10
Break

15:10-17:00
Highlight

10Tens
Cando2 & Trinity Laban Youth Company
Hosts talk to the Highlight groups 

Programme 2:
Ajadi Dance Company
Central School of Ballet 
Me.I 
Sanskriti Limited
Fully Functioning Individuals / Impact Dance
Brit School
Step into Dance - WanSTEADY Crew 
Inspire Youth Dance Company
PPL 
Spectra Dance Company
Da Bluez

Post date: 23 June 2013

Reckon you'd feel out of place at a ballet show, or your high tops couldn't hold up at a tango party, but you want to broaden your dance horizons? Check out Sampled at Sadler's Wells! 

Starring Storyboard P, Vagabond Crew, and a host of other dance companies as the dance flava gets served up in a set buffet of breaking and ballet served with sidelines of contemporary and Tango. It's a dance free-for-all!

This is your chance to 'sample' other dance shows at Sadler's Wells, the venue where Breakin' Convention takes place in London every year, with dance companies you know and others you may come to love.

With tickets starting at just  £8 for standing or £12 for seated this is the perfect opportunity to try something new. Buy them online now or call 0844 412 4300 to book!

Performers:
Hip hop favourites Storyboard P and Vagabond Crew;
Stuttgart Ballet performing Fanfare LX and the Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo and Juliet;
New work from exciting young contemporary choreographer Alexander Whitley;
National Youth Dance Company choreographed by Jasmin Vardimon; and
Facundo de la Cruz and Paola Sanz the Last Salon Tango World Champions from Argentina

Whatever your tastes, there is something for everyone to sample and enjoy.

"FREE YOUR MIND AND THE DANCE WILL FOLLOW"

Performance times
Fri & Sat at 7.30pm

Tickets
£8 standing
£12 seated

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. more »
Not available online or in conjunction with any other offer. To book, call the Ticket Office on 0844 412 4300.

Please Note: Under 5s are not admitted to this event.

Post date: 07 June 2013

Breakin' Convention will be touring to America this summer to one of New York's most iconic and historic music venues - the Apollo Harlem Theater!

The world famous Harlem Apollo will play host to our first ever international show - what better way to take Breakin' Convention's festival of hip hop dance theatre overseas than the birth place of hip hop itself? 

As with our UK festivals we'll be bringing our packed programme of main stage dance performances, film screenings, live aerosol jams, panel discussions, DJ demos and open circles. Across two nights on 15 and 16 June 2013!

Tickets, line up and further information can be found in our Breakin' Convention NYC section

Breakin' Convention NYC Line Up Announced!

The Apollo’s three-day festival will include individual dance artists and companies from across the globe. Just some of the artists include:
Jonzi D 
Company Sébastien Ramirez (Germany/France)
Boy Blue Entertainment (UK)
Rennie Harris Puremovement (Philadelphia/US)
Decadance (NYC/US)
FootworKINGz (Chicago/US)
NextLevelSquad (NYC/US)
Frank Ejara (Brazil)
Jane Sekonya (South Africa/UK)
Project Soul Collective (Korea)

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