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!

Post date: 20 June 2012

Tony Adigun is both a jack of all trades and a master of many: An associate artist at The Place, running his own company that is touring the UK with pieces such as Taxi, The Bunker Thing and Silver Tree, a youth company, a junior company, Avante Garde Elves as well as performing his own solo performance at Breakin' Convention as part of WIP Villette in France, it's a busy time.

Tony Adigun interview

Avant Garde Dance has been around for 11 years under the creative direction of Tony Adigun and AG having performed at Breakin' Convention numerous times (check out Classical Break, referenced in the video, here). Always pushing the boundaries of hip hop dance theatre, Tony has always strived to "Innovate, Never Replicate" and go "AGainst The Grain," which is paying off as Dark Matter, Avant Garde's latest performance at Breakin' Convention, was one of the most unique and acclaimed pieces of the night.

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!

Post date: 19 June 2012

Earlier this year a crew of female dancers embarked on a journey together on a popular dance TV programme and became the only all-girl crew to make it to the live final. At this year's festival that same crew, Boadicea, performed together for the first time at a major show since finishing on the Diversity Digitized tour!

Boadicea Crew interview

Boadicea Crew is a collective of female dancers brought together by Rhimes LeCointe, and as a result of their individual professional background, many of them have performed at Breakin' Convention before with other crews.

Boadicea Crew was core to opening up Breakin' Convention's live stream online over the festival weekend, and this is their opening interview with Hakeem Onibudo, DJ Sarah and momentarily Jonzi D for your enjoyment! Make sure you check out Boadicea in The Reign on our videos page and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

Post date: 19 June 2012

Check out choreographer Ivan Blackstock as he talks to Hakeem Onibudo and DJ Sarah Love about hip hop theatre and his festival commission, Reverie.

Ivan Blackstock interview

Ivan was commissioned for this year's festival as part of Back to the Lab, an artistic development project organised by Breakin' Convention with Sadler's Wells Associate Artist Jasmin Vardimon.

Ivan Blackstock's piece, Reverie (watch here!), made its premiere at Breakin' Convention 2012, although it isn't the first time he's dabbled in hip hop dance theatre, previously performing at Breakin' Convention with BirdGang numerous times (remember BirdNet, last year?) and working with Jonzi D on TAG: Just Writing My Name.

Ivan was heavily involved with this year's festival, overseeing the choreography for Future Elements and film night, performing his solo piece, dancing in the Freestyle Funk Forum and making a cameo in Avant Garde Dance's Dark Matter. Ever the busy artist, we hope to see Reverie go on to do bigger things!

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!

Post date: 18 June 2012

Watch and listen as Kenrick talks about his early career, his development through Breakin' Convention and about his involvement with... the opening ceremony London 2012 Olympics!

No doubt Breakin' Convention regulars will recognise Kenrick for his work over the years as a returning solo artist and with Boy Blue (describing Breakin' Convention as "chicken soup for the soul"), but never has anyone gone as deep into his history in a video interview than hosts Hakeem Onibudo and DJ Sarah Love!

Kenrick Sandy interview

If you want to know more about Kenrick H2O Sandy, visit his profile! Also see: Boy Blue Entertainment.

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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