Post date: 14 August 2012

Every legend has to consider their departure, and Crazy Legs is no exception in planning his retirement from his battling career after battling everyone at the Rock Steady Crew 35 Year Anniversary in New York last week.

Crazy Legs announced he was to retire from battling to a British audience at the UK B-Boy Championships in October 2011 with plans to get into shape over the next nine months ahead of his retirement.

Crazy Legs is an original member and current president of the Rock Steady Crew, the world's most recognised b-boy crew who also starred in the movies Wild Style, Style Wars and the two movies most old schoolers will remember them from: their appearances in Beat Street and Flash Dance.

Following a regime of hitting the gym, boxing and b-boy training he managed to get himself back in shape (while dropping 10 pounds) in order to battle the likes of B-Boy El Nino, B-Boy Ynot, B-Boy TekNYC, Abgirl, B-Boy Moy, B-Boy Dyzee, B-Boy Kid Glyde and anyone that decided to challenge him.

The result of his training reenbled him to re-learn moves that had his muscle memory forgot over time. Here he is talking to CNN...

Describing his excitement ahead of his last battles, Crazy Legs wrote on his website, CrazyLegsWorkshops.com: "I've been training for five months now and as each day passes I feel more anticipation and a greater sense of urgency. Every thought running through my head is about what that day will be like."

Crazy Legs reiterates that his 'retirement' isn't an end to his involvement in hip hop or b-boying and he will continue to teach workshops and do performances while presiding over hip hop's most recognised breaking crew.

"As far as the battle scene is concerned I've always wanted to have the opportunity to go out in my own way. Because of the injuries I've had over the past several years [...] it's put a damper on that and left me with a crazy, empty feeling of not having that finality to my b-boy life," he said in a video update. "This is my final bow [...] My opportunity to do it my way."

Post date: 09 August 2012

There's nothing Breakin' Convention loves more than a good festival - both putting one on and attending some of the best! Which is why we're proud to present you with a selection of hip hop inspired performances taking place at this year's Edinburgh Fringe that you won't want to miss, from performances that have graced the Breakin' Convention stage to artists that have worked with us in the past to brand new pieces of work.

Room 2 Manoeuvre - Watch It!

3 - 27 August - more info
At ZOO Southside 117 Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9ER

You'll recognise Tony Thrills as the Breakin' Convention Edinburgh and Inverness rep and host as well as from Breakin' Convention's Freestyle Funk Forum in London.

Now the acclaimed Tony Thrills will take you through a mind bending adventure through the channels on your TV set using dance and projection in a multimedia dance odyssey.

TrashDollys - Contains Spoilers

3 - 11 August - more info
At ZOO Southside 117 Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TrashDollys rocked Breakin' Convention Plymouth earlier this year with their duet DumDollyParade, a blend of breaking and contemporary dance.

Their approach is anything but conventional and Contains Spoilers is 50 minutes of intriguing imagery and dance theatre.

Flash Mob

2 - 27 August - more info
At Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LU

Starring Tommy Franzén who performed in Avant Garde Dance's A Classical Break, Flashmob at the Fringe stars the finalists from TV programmes including Got to Dance and So You Think You Can Dance in a feature length show including audience participation in keeping of the flash mob theme.

Maxwell Golden in Countryboy's Struggle

1 August - 31 August - more info
At Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ

While not 100% a Breakin' Convention artist, Maxwell Golden does reach back to the days of Jonzi D Productions and early Open Art Surgeries.

Maxwell Golden may have recently launched his Countryboy's Struggle online but it was originally a one man stage show as he assumes the character of over 40 different characters telling the story of his travels from his humble days as a hip hopper in coastal town Bude to heading towards the Big Smoke.

Castle Rocks BBoy Championships

11 August - more info
At City Edinburgh, 1a Market Street, EH1 1DE

The annual Castle Rocks takes place at City Nightclub and sees local b-boys battle against invited guests from around the world in a thrilling 2-on-2 battle. Last year Hurricane Ray and Sam of Team Scmetta emerged champions - will any of the local crew be able to wrestle the title from them?

Bad Taste Cru - Council of the Ordinary

14 - 27 August - more info
At Zoo Southside, 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9ER

Always committed to furthering hip hop theatre, Council of the Ordinary is Bad Taste Cru's triple bill of performances showcasing Aftermath, Tribal Assembly and The Mirror touching on the personal, historical and magnificence of their b-boying.

Set It Off Street Dance Championships 2012

18 August - more info
At City Nightclub, 1a Market St, Edinburgh, EH1 1DE

Produced by the team behind Castle Rocks Breakdance Championships, Set It Off! sees hip-hop dance crews an soloists competing for the title. Dancers will attempt to wow the judges and win over the crowd with their jaw-dropping routines and has Tony Adigun, Caramel Soldier and Allan Irvine.

Post date: 20 July 2012

Rarely if ever will you come across a rapper slash former drug slanger slash big screen and TV actor slash cop killa (in no specific order) that even after over 25 years in the rap game is taking the time out to make a documentary about the art of rap, which also happens to be the title of Ice T’s documentary which premiered at Hammersmith Apollo last night in London.

Even more rarely will you get Ice-T, Chuck D, Melle Mel and Raekwon answering questions from fans plus performing with special guest appearance from Ghostface Killah and UK rap pioneers Hijackers bringing the house down in a concert straight after a movie showing either!

Still rocking fresh since his first LP Rhyme Pays dropped in 1987 Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap is a tour de force of face to face interviews with almost every classic rapper from the golden era of hip hop (and a couple of newer faces like Kanye West, Eminem and Joe Budden), all researched and tracked down with the assistance of Ice T’s extensive rolodex of rappers.

Straight into the action, The Art of Rap doesn’t make any assumptions that you know each of the rappers’ back stories or anything about hip hop: This was made especially for fans and cuts to the chase with slick camera cuts and shots of local scenery.

A short sample playing as helicopter shots pan across NYC, LA and every other hip hop capital in between across the United States from each of the rapper’s best known track introduces each interview, and if you know who’s up next from the track then you can give yourself full marks in your old school exams.

Uncovering the science between Rakeem’s rhyme style of 16 dots at the end of each line marking 16 bars on a record, to how Eminem puts together rhymes within rhymes and the revelation that Dr Dre hasn’t left his studio for longer than two weeks in 27 years to perfect each hit he puts out, Ice T’s interviews each of the artists with the inside expertise you’d expect from an OG (Original Gangsta!) and gets straight to the point: "Where do you see your brush strokes on the painting of the art of rap?" This wasn’t just a documentary, but an insightful look into the art that artists put into their raps and a snap shot of how all of your favourite MCs worked. They don’t make music like this any more these days…


Melle Me at the Art of Rap launch performing The Message - photo by Paul Hampartsoumian

Rappers in The Art of Rap:
Bun B, B-Real, Afrika Bambaataa, Busy Bee, Joe Budden, Grandmaster Caz, Common, Treach, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Royce Da 5' 9", Dana Dane, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Eminem, Doug E Fresh, MC Lyte, Q-Tip, Immortal Technique and so many more...

So is this is it for The Art Of Rap? Hell no, Ice T tells everyone afterwards that there’s over 70 hours of additional footage that couldn’t make the cut before opening up the show for a concert that caused waves of nostalgia for the mature hip hop fans and impatient looking girlfriends as Melle Mel recited the lyrics of The Message acapella, Chuck D dropped Public Enemy's new single, marking the first time Public Enemy had performed in the Hammersmith Apollo since the 80s and Raekwon brought out Wu Tang collaborator Ghostface to join him before Ice T re-introduced The Highjackers, UK rap pioneers...


Melle Mel, Raekwon, Chuck D and Ice T at the Art of Rap UK launch - photo by Paul Hampartsoumian

Post date: 17 July 2012

In November 2011 Pervez of Live 2 Break and documentary maker Bret Syfert went to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to teach children how to break as well as how to teach one another in an ‘each one, teach one’ initiative organised by Catalyst Rwanda, set up by Nicola Triscott and Kate Scanlan

The project was captured in a short documentary by Syfert, Yes Man, which will screen in the UK this week at the Southbank Centre and tells the story of the healing power of hip hop in a recovering culture.

In a heart warming story of compassion with roots set in a history of devastation and dark times in Rwanda’s recent history, the essence of Yes Man goes back 20 years when two friends, arts producer Nicola Triscott met teacher Rafiki Callixte when she visited Rwanda in 1992, eighteen months before the impending 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The planned mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in this small East African nation saw six out of Rafiki’s ten siblings killed with Rafiki scarcely surviving the genocide himself, betrayed by a friend who shot him in the back and left him for dead. Years of silence followed until one day in 2010 Rafiki and Nicola were reconnected via Facebook after 14 years.

In that time Rafiki founded Les Enfants de Dieu, a residential care centre for approximately 130 boys between the ages of four and 18 in Ndera, a suburb of Kigali, to transform the lives of street children that had been affected by the genocide.

Nicola then went to Rwanda and met the remarkable boys at Les Enfants de Dieu. When Rafiki and Nicola asked the boys what project or skill they would most like to learn, they unanimously replied: ‘hip-hop dance,’ the means through which they chose to express themselves.

Catalyst Rwanda is an initiative setting up sustainable programmes of arts activities for vulnerable young people in Rwanda, including street children and orphans of the genocide and AIDS, and to organise artistic development programmes with emerging Rwandan artists in partnership with Ishyo Arts Centre.

Now with the Southbank Centre, Catalyst Rwanda is bringing two of the boys from Les Enfants de Dieu to England, Willy and Didier, along with Rafiki to discuss the project along with the rest of the Yes Man crew.

Yes Man screens at the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room as part of Africa Utopia on Thursday 19 July at 7.45pm with a free party afterwards with DJ Billy Biznizz

Post date: 06 July 2012

In My Shoes from Nathan Geering’s company Rational Productions is back after successful sell out run at The Crucible theatre at Sheffield Playhouse last autumn telling the story of a father who can’t find a bond with his son, a person with self confidence problems, a couple with marriage issues and an individual in need of anger management and a reflection on everybody’s innermost insecurities.

To save the cast of frustrated characters each must attend an extreme hip hop therapy session, allowing them to consider the difficulties faced by others to develop their understanding of how it feels to be in another person's shoes…

In My Shoes teaser trailer - Rationale Productions

“It feels wicked to be back. All our dancers are much stronger dancers and performers this time around. We’ve tweaked quite a few sections of the show to reflect our creative as artists, and we can’t wait to get on the road again,” said Nathan Geering, artistic director of Rationale Productions.

“The first run we did was at the Crucible Theatre [last autumn] we absolutely smashed it! It was wicked. The audience was really responsive to everything; a lot of the sections went down a hell of a lot better than what we expected” he continued.

The concept for In My Shoes came about during research and development for the production when members of the crew presented stories of what they wanted to express to an audience: darker moments in their lives, personal experiences and difficult moments. George Clinton once said “you can walk a mile in my shoes, but you can’t dance a step in my feet,” something the acclaimed Rationale Productions holds core to their hip hop theatre production.

“We all thought: We all sound like we’ve all been a little messed up at one time or another, so why not go for an extreme hip hop therapy session? Because then it’s the opportunity for the therapist to listen to every individual’s problem and try to fix it. That’s pretty much how the story got formed.”

Owing to the personal commitments of each of the group members having to juggle day jobs and study, Rationale rehearsed late evenings into to the early hours of the morning with little funding but lots of faith to bring In My Shoes together, and the work has paid off, developing them a relationship with Sheffield City Council, the Crucible Theatre, as well as the regional Arts Council.

In the past Geering was part of the cast for Jonzi D’s theatre production TAG: Just Writing My Name, and has used his years of experience to tailor In My Shoes into a well rounded production.

“The lessons I learned from TAG were invaluable in terms of work ethic and making sure that you try and explore an idea to its fullest rather than just having tonnes of ideas and only scratching the surface of them all,” explains Nathan. “So what we’ve done is put a lot of thought into each scene and each character and concept and explored them as much as we possibly can.”

In My Shoes comes to SquareChapel in Halifax on 10 July

Nathan Geering is the hip hop rep for Breakin' Convention in Sheffield.

Post date: 03 July 2012

Hip hop theatre artist, rhymer and comedian Maxwell Golden is coming to The Space, the online player for the arts on demand, in a series of hip hop comedy videos.

10 videos in collaboration with Contact Manchester have been produced of CountryBoy's Struggle: Online, an adaptation of the critically acclaimed and sold out one man show of the same name starring Maxwell Golden as himself playing over 40 characters in under two hours.

You can watch new episodes of CountryBoy’s Struggle: Online every Thursday from the 5 July until the 13 September at TheSpace.org.

Maxwell Golden Countryboy's Struggle Online: Video Preview

Inspired by Maxwell Golden's time growing up in the coastal community of Bude, Cornwall, CountryBoy's Struggle is about what it's like living in a rural area and wanting to make urban music, then moving to the city and finding it's not what you expected - especially when your heart and soul is on the golden beaches and with the community you grew up in.

CountryBoy's Struggle is written by and starring Maxwell Golden and directed by Baba Israel, Artistic Director of Contact and Richard Ramchurn of AlbinoMosquito, with music by Danbeats.

You can keep up to date with everything that is happening with CountryBoy's Struggle: Online on the official Twitter page @CBScontactmcr as well as @thespacearts for all news relating to The Space. You can also follow Michael Crompton's adventures on his Twitter account @countryboyMC or Maxwell Golden via @MaxwellGolden too.

Also: Don't miss CountryBoy's Struggle at Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

Post date: 28 June 2012

Two weeks ahead of the Breakin’ Convention festival in London we brought together youths age 13-16 to devise and create a music video and shoot it within a week.

From the storyline to the music, lyrics and art direction, everyone on the Future Elements course contributed to what was to become… The Influence!

Using the creative vision of Sebastian Thiel, the director behind short feature film Illegal Activity we took this year’s Future Elements video in a completely different direction since last year’s Zapp Town music video.

What happens when a guy and a girl goes to a rave on their first date? Do you really know them? Because things aren’t always what they seem, especially when you take your date to Club Eden, a rave decked out like a medieval dungeon…

Shot in a secret location somewhere in north London The Influence features references to Tales From The Crypt and an iconic Michael Jackson video - can you guess which one?

Gotta give a shout out to the creative team behind the video:
Music direction: Jonzi D and Kofi Ankrah
Choreography: Ukweli Roach and Ivan Blackstock
Art direction: Luke aka Mr Dane
Project management: Michelle Norton
Cinematography: Amarjeet Singh
Director: Sebastian Thiel of It's Upshot

Do you want a workshop in spoken word, graffiti or music production? Check out our Get Involved section for details on booking our education artists!

Future Elements next takes place in 2013. If you're aged 13-16 make sure you've signed up to our newsletter so we can notify you next time the project takes place!

Post date: 22 June 2012

Whoever said Hip Hop is a problem isn't part of the solution! On Tuesday 26 June at The Barbican in London Intelligence Squared is holding a debate about whether rap is an art form that gives the street a voice or is it all just money, misogyny and materialism?

To answer the question, Jonzi D went to the Bronx, New York and penned a rhyme to deliver his side of the argument

Jonzi D: Hip-hop isn't a problem. It's the solution. Check it:

This question will be answered in greater detail in front of a panel that includes the hip hop legend KRS-One, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and computer scientist and composer Jaron Lanier to speak in front of the world via a Google+ Hangout online.

It means that as well as the esteemed 'jury' heads such as ?uestlove from The Roots, Q-Tip and P.J. O'Rourke plus more can join the debate in the room while the attending public can also put in their two cents.

Plus, as you'd expect from us, we'll be tweeting the debate live on Twitter with the event's hashtag, #VsHipHop - can you dig it? Make sure you follow us below:

 

Meet the Hip Hop on Trial Jury

Web host
Jemima Khan - British writer and campaigner, associate editor of the New Statesman and European editor-at-large for Vanity Fair

Chair
Emily Maitlis - BBC Newsnight presenter

Advocate for the motion
Eamon Courtenay - Courtenay Coye law firm

Advocate against the motion
Michael Eric Dyson - Hip-hop intellectual and Professor of sociology at Georgetown University

Post date: 21 June 2012

If you think the work dries up for Breakin' Convention when our international festival and tour finishes you couldn't be further from the truth. Breakin' Convention is committed to supporting hip hop dance and the hip hop theatre genre all year round. Through our education and professional development strands we aim to offer a range of opportunities and platforms.

One of these is Open Art Surgery, a unique course led by Jonzi D for professional hip hop artists to engage in hip hop theatre. Open to dancers, DJs, beatboxers, emcees, musicians and graff 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.

Dance City continues their dedication to supporting hip hop by partnering Breakin' Convention to deliver Newcastle's first ever Open Art Surgery in July. It will feature local artists from Bad Taste Cru, Rice & Peez, Battalions and Sana Crew.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to support the dancers with whom we work to further develop their skills and expression," said Anthony Baker, Dance City's artistic director. "It brings leaders and creatives in the field of Hip Hop together to accelerate development and provide a meeting place of ideas for growth."

Not content with winning most of the UK's major b-boy battles, Bad Taste Cru entered the realm of hip hop theatre a few years ago and have already been finalists of the Global Dance Contest and The Place Prize. Keen to make the most of Jonzi's experience of rap and spoken word, Bad Taste's Conor 'Doke' O'Kane plans on using his time at Open Art Surgery to explore rap and spoken word theatrically. 

"Following a recent injury I'm currently unable to dance but I still want to perform. I'm also really keen to bring hip hop's elements together through theatre," said Doke. "I rap, so this is the perfect opportunity to experiment with this. We all have experience in dance theatre but introducing spoken word is something we want to learn about."

Nicola McCarthy is hot on the heels of Bad Taste Cru and brings a femininity to an often male dominated genre. She founded all girl hip hop group, Sana Crew as well as funkstyle duo Rice & Peez (alongside Will Freeman) and is looking forward to Open Art Surgery to learn new ways of approaching choreography/story telling and also to challenge her dancers to step up a level.

Robby 'RawB' Graham, also of Bad Taste Cru, is keen to push potential collaborations and try working with a range of artists outwith the disciplines he is familiar with. He goes on to explain: "What is great about Open Art Surgery is that there is no pressure or guidelines on what has to be created, which really opens up the possibilities."

Anthony Baker adds: "As part of our artist development programme Open Art Surgery will support an already creative community to take a big step forward and we hope to see new work developed to then be further supported at Dance City to become full shows in their own right, perhaps supported by one of Dance City's commissions."

The live event will be hosted, and feature a performance, from hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D. He will also 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. Dance City 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 Ken Masters, to 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!

The Open Art Surgery performance takes place on Saturday 7 July 2012, 7.30pm at Dance City, Temple Street, Newcastle, NE1 4BR. Tickets are priced at £5 and are available online at www.dancecity.co.uk, by phoning 0191 261 0505 or in person.

If you are a hip hop artist and would like to get involved in Open Art Surgery Newcastle please email peter.maniam@breakinconvention.com.  Following Newcastle, the next stops are London and Edinburgh.

Post date: 20 June 2012

PT3000, made up of Pop Tart, Plik Plok and A-1, coordinated by the 'immaculate' Bas 1 is a group of strutters from San Francisco that performed at Breakin' Convention 2012, interviewed here by Hakeem Onibudo and DJ Sara Love during their UK debut.

The city of San Francisco, California USA has a rich history of having a high concentration of dance groups that performed strutting dance routines for both individuals and groups - Breakin' Convention was honoured to have this original back-in-the-day group performing and teaching workshops in this old school and under-exposed popping and boogaloo style.

PT3000 featuring Demons of the Mind interview

Consider that when the media was excited about the Breakin' movies and Beat Street, no news cameras ever made it out to San Francisco to document this unique style of boogaloo dance defined by its quick counts, outrageous outfits and pumped up outfits, with only a handful of grainy home movies leaking onto the internet from community shows and 80s talent contests.

PT 3000 stands for 'Path Through 3000' (and not 'Pop Tart') aiming to honour the dancers that came before them - as early as the 1960s - as well as educating the children of the next generation of dancers. This is one of the longest interviews Breakin' Convention did, and one of the most historically relevant, shedding light on a dance lifestyle that might otherwise be unknown internationally were it not for the efforts of those wanting to keep the style alive to pass on to the next generation.

This is just one of many interviews we shot during our live stream on The Space - make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

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