Post date: 20 December 2011

2012 is around the corner and Breakin' Convention has had quite a year! In the 12 months leading up to 2012 Breakin’ Convention has been shifting as a company, taking on new staff while seeing old friends move on to greener pastures; adopting projects from the now de-funked Jonzi D Productions and pushing the boundaries of hip hop dance theatre with plenty of exciting new projects.

There’s plenty to round up from the year that was 2011, but here’s a selection of highlights:

It was goodbye from Breakin’ Convention’s Kate who left to project manage British Dance Edition 2012 and Claire who left for the Middle East.
Meanwhile the selection process was underway for Breakin’ Convention 2011, but the office was down by two people…

A male presence balances out the Breakin’ Convention office: Peter steps into Kate’s position as project manager fresh from East London Dance, while Dave ‘the Flave’ assumes the role of the newly created digital communications officer, overseeing the website, social networks and digital content.

Breakin’ Convention gets a brand new website! The dawn of a new era for online Breakin' news, it was out with the old green and black social network and in with the slick, clean and streamlined website we have now, making it easier to navigate our artists, calendar and video sections.

Future Elements, Breakin’ Convention’s half term project where kids ‘run tings’ took over Angel town centre for a music video shoot, to the surprise of onlookers, but the result, which made its debut at the Future Elements night, was completely worth it! Watch the video below:

It’s Breakin' Convention 2011 and our eighth year in business! While the nation’s eyes were glued to their TV screen for the royal wedding, the BC festival married flesh-eating Ugandan dancers, Ashigaru, the tutting robot that starred in Big City Brains’ hour-long Human Robot piece, and had an affair with some fringe projects in form of new performances for the Lilian Baylis Studio alongside the Freestyle Funk Forum.

With the festival behind us and summer in full effect, May was to be a month where BC took over the TV schedules as auditions for One Man Walking (see August, below) took place, while BBC4 was interviewing Jonzi for Dance the Most Incredible Thing! a programme dedicated to contemporary dance, while Channel 4 puts together its plans for Street Season.

Plus our acclaimed Breakin' Convention Pioneers week took place with five people that have lived the hip hop and social dances since their early days: Alien Ness, Trac 2, Popin' Pete, Suga Pop and Shannon Whichway Sha.  In the words of Jonzi D, for one week "hip hop was officially in the house!"

While Tabu Flo was in town in for the festival May, Oxfam took aside Jonzi to interview him for Oxfam Grow, which was released in July to highlight people’s attitude to food.

Regional Conflict saw Soul Mavericks take the national title… again! A predicable win? Maybe. But once again it secured Soul Mavs as the UK's top crew and qualified them to compete at the UK B-Boy Championships World Finals in October.

One Man Walking, the ambitious dance film made for Channel 4 by acclaimed dance film director Margaret Williams hits the nation's television screens, penned by Jonzi D, choreographed by Kenrick Sandy, and score composed by Mikey J Asante.
The work was something else, daring to drop dialogue in place of 17 minutes of thumping Mikey J beats, and it paid off with critical acclaim.

Assuming the popular education project from Jonzi D Productions, we introduce Breakin’ Convention Education, committed to raising the awareness of 'real' Hip Hop. Our line up of renowned artists specialise in dance, music, aerosol art to offer classes, educational packages, professional development opportunities and youth projects.

Elsewhere Jonzi D oversees a modern adaptation of A Clockwork Orange at Theatre Royal Stratford East with Katie P and internationally in Holland Breakin’ Convention is checking out The Notorious IBE and taking notes for next year’s festival.

In an unprecedented move Breakin’ Convention partners with Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jasmin Vardimon, conceptual choreographer and pioneering ideas explorer for Back to the Lab, a unique project that took hip hop choreographers out of their comfort zone to create brand new pieces of work to present in December and potentially in Breakin’ Convention next year.

Open Art Surgery returned at the end of the month, a project where Jonzi spends a week with artists gifted in all hip hop elements to create a piece of work within a week.

Another acclaimed Jonzi D Productions project, Hip Hop Hospital, hit up Liverpool to bring hip hop to the children’s ward at Liverpool Alder Hey hospital.

Battle of the Year took place in France seeing Vagabonds take the title for the second time, but out of the battle Breakin’ Convention was collaborating with La Villette for WIP (Work In Progress) with Tony Adigun from Avant Garde Dance.

Back to the Lab: After two months absorbing the knowledge and approaches of Jasmin Vardimon in October, the artists Ashley Jack, Botis Seva, Ivan Blackstock, Simeon Qsyea and Toby G showcased new pieces of work. Expect to see some of these works in Breakin’ Convention 2012 and on the tour!

And since going back to the lab, it’s back to the start with next year’s festival - now we have to review the Breakin’ Convention 2012 submissions in order to programme next year’s tour. It’s going to be a hype tour – have you booked your tickets yet?

Post date: 14 December 2011

Cerebro is returning to the Bernie Grant Art Centre with an extended performance of their I Just Wanna Dance set from Breakin’ Convention 2011.

Cerebro, who dazzled the Breakin’ Convention audience with their slick, in sync moves, approach their original short performance as a full-length hip hop dance theatre piece which builds upon their debut show Cerebro and Friends, following the six dancers who describe themselves as 'ordinary guys living their every day lives,' all torn between what they want to do and what they have to do. From a modest eight minute piece their performance has grown into an hour and a quarter long extravaganza.

“The message of I Just Wanna Dance is ‘don’t give up in what you believe in’ - you need to work hard to get where you want to get,” says Leon Miller, co-director of Cerebro. “For example, Jamie is a teacher: his day job is to teach, but he just wants to dance, and has bills to pay. Until dancing can pay his bills he’s always going to be a teacher.”

To celebrate their new show the group has created a series of videos introducing each of their characters through random, real-life scenarios.

“What you see in the videos is each person portraying their every day life and breaking into dance, like a short snippet of what to expect with the production,” says Leon. The vignettes will also help the production along too: “There are a few videos throughout the show which also help break down the inspiration of “I just wanna dance!”

I Just Wanna Dance comes to Bernie Grant Arts Centre on 15 December until 17 December.

“This is an ideal show for Christmas because it’s got a positive message. The way things are today a positive outlook is needed in life," says Leon. "You’ll see the ups and downs we had to go through over the last year, doing Got to Dance, Breakin’ Convention and building ourselves back up.”

“Aside from the entertainment factor I think that everyone will be able to relate to it I one way or another. You might not want to do the jobs you want to do, but if you work hard at it, in the long run you can achieve what you set out to do.”

Cerebro: I Just Wanna Dance showtimes:
Monday 12 December 1.30pm
Wednesday 14 December 10am
Wednesday 14 December 7.30pm
Thursday 15 December 10am
Thursday 15 December 7.30pm
Friday 16 December 7.30pm
Saturday 17 December 2.30pm
Saturday 17 December 7.30pm

Looking to buy tickets to see Cerebro's show? Find out how on the Breakin' Convention calendar

Post date: 06 December 2011

South London based dance collective The Movement Factory are back for another year to kick off the Christmas holidays with their latest instalment of Keep It Moving, the dance event that showcases a range of some of London’s finest dancers.

This competition is now closed!

Keep It Moving is the only London show to bring together some of the UK’s most popular dance groups under one roof to truly celebrate the diversity of dance as a whole art form. Alongside a collection of street dancers, breakers, poppers, lockers, expect to see classical ballet and contemporary inspired pieces too.

Performers include Unity Youth and Abyss who are fast becoming household names after appearances on popular television series Britain’s Got Talent and Sky 1’s Got To Dance, plus X Factor finalist Duane Lamonte will be popping in to perform his new single with more special guest performers to be announced.

To win a pair of tickets for Keep It Moving just answer this question: Who is the host for Keep It Moving?

Email your answer and telephone number (so we can contact the winner) to by 6pm Monday 12 December

Can't wait to see the show? Find out how to by tickets for Keep It Moving in our calendar section.

We will add you to the Breakin' Convention email list, from which you can unsubscribe from at any time. Breakin' Convention will not pass on your personal details and will only use your phone number to contact the winners. Breakin' Convention operates and is registered in accordance with current data protection legislation, as per our terms of use.

Post date: 28 November 2011

Breakin’ Convention is delighted to be premiering five new works from five of the UK’s most exciting Hip Hop dance theatre choreographers. Open Art Surgery goes Back To The Lab presents work from Ashley Jack, Botis Seva, Ivan Blackstock, Simeon Qsyea and Toby G on Saturday 10 December 2011.

Under the mentorship of internationally renowned contemporary choreographer Jasmin Vardimon as well as Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director Jonzi D, the inaugural Back To The Lab course puts participants through their paces and dares them to try something different, whilst staying true to their Hip Hop roots.

Jasmin’s theatrical and physical approach to her work definitely lends itself to Hip Hop. With her reputation as one of the leading names in contemporary dance she brings a vast amount of knowledge and expertise to the course.

Jonzi’s roots in both dance and spoken word, as well as his ability to intelligently tackle social and political issues, provides another layer of experience that participants can learn and draw from.

Culminating at the Open Art Surgery performance, Jonzi invites you, the audience, to ask the choreographers questions and give feedback directly to them. Conversation then spills out into the bar as the audience, choreographers and performers converge with DJ Billy Biznizz of The En4cers spinning soulful classics.

Meet the five choreographers who will present work and have been going Back To The Lab:

Hailing from Edinburgh, Ashley Jack is regarded as one of the leading Hip Hop dance practitioners in Scotland. Her company Jackin’ The Box regularly wins competitions North of the border and work closely with Dance Base, The National Centre of Dance for Scotland. Known for their sense of humour and high energy shows, Ashley is seeking to challenge her company to go in a different direction for Back To The Lab.

Aged just 20, Botis Seva from Dagenham displays an incredible maturity in his work. Distancing himself from the explosion of ‘street dance’ his approach is abstract, dark and experimental. His companies Far From The Norm and Enigma have been making waves and winning fans in the dance scene over the last year. Expect the unexpected from one of the new breed in young Hip Hop choreographers.

Ivan Blackstock of BirdGang is well respected within Hip Hop dance theatre, the commercial world as well as the battle circuit. His intelligent and analytical approach leads to impressive results. Ivan will be working with a range of specialists in various Hip Hop styles. Keen to absorb as much knowledge from both Jonzi and Jasmin, Ivan will definitely be serving up something worth the wait.

As one of BirdGang’s co-founders Simeon Qsyea’s reputation speaks for itself. With an impressive record of choreographic credits he is perhaps most passionate about Hip Hop dance theatre. Simeon plans to work with poetry/spoken word and with Jonzi D’s experience in this medium you can expect to see a show with something to say.  

Toby G has been responsible for developing the Hip Hop dance scene in Plymouth and the South West. His company Street Factory has their own studios and work extensively with the community. At Back To The Lab he will use breaking, popping and locking and hopes to challenge himself and his dancers to create something different.

Open Art Surgery goes Back To The Lab is on Saturday 10 December, 7.45pm at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN,

Tickets are now on sale priced £5 (plus booking fee).  For booking details see our events page.

Post date: 26 November 2011

The Red Bull BC One 2011 winner is RoxRite of Renegades, Break Disciples and Squadron Crew, USA.

It might have been cold weather outside but a cold war was going on inside at the Old Moscow Circus, Russia, where the US went in at the Red Bull BC One finals in order to clinch the title and a coveted oversized winner’s belt.

Omar O. Delgado Macias, better known by his b-boy name, RoxRite, emerged as that winner after a long hiatus from battling at the event. The years lying in waiting and training has paid off for RoxRite, who now joins Lilou (twice), Neguin, Wing, Ronnie, Hong 10 and Omar as one of the world’s most elite b-boys.

RoxRite has competed for the title in the past, getting to semi finals stage in 2006 before his defeat by that year’s champion, Hong 10.

The night had many upsets as well. Neguin, the 2010 champion looked like a contender for the title in early rounds but was knocked out by Roxrite by a close 3-2 vote from the judges, so too Yan the Shrimp, a home favourite who Lil G took out, while Russia's other hope of representing with Top 9's Flying Buddha was extinguished in the first round.

So, a RED Bull competition concludes at the RED Square with someone flying the RED white and blue flag taking home the trophy.

Congratulations RoxRite!

Red Bull BC One 2011 Russia results

Winners are highlighted in bold
Lagaet v El Nino
Soso v Roxrite
Flying Buddha v Neguin
Vero v Niek
Salo v Morris
3T v Taisuke
Yan the Shrimp v Hong 10
Mounir v Lil G

Quarter finals
El Nino v RoxRite
Neguin v Vero (tiebreak)
Morris v Taisuke
Yan the Shrimp v Lil G

Semi finals
RoxRite v Neguin
Morris v Lil G

RoxRite v Lil G

Post date: 23 November 2011

Arguably the biggest solo b-boy competition in the world takes place in Moscow, Russia, this weekend and you can watch Red Bull BC One online at

Red Bull BC One is an annual one-on-one b-boy battle held in a different city every year. This year that city is Russia where 16 of the world’s most elite b-boys consisting of past BC One winners, qualifiers, those chosen by a panel of experts will battle each other in straight knockouts at the Old Moscow Circus.

Watch Red Bull BC One 2011 finals online



This streamed event has now finished!


Update: RoxRite wins Red Bull BC One 2011 - read more here!

Who’s going to win? The only double winner of Red Bull BC One so far is Lilou, but Morris was recently crowned the solo b-boy champion at the UK B-Boy Championships and Niek (formerly Just Do It) was the IBE seven to smoke champion and Battle of the Year 1 v 1 winner.

Meanwhile Roxrite is back from his absence at the UK B-Boy Championships where Hong 10 has had time to nurse his wounds since getting knocked out by Sunni, and Neguin is always sure to cause upset.

Red Bull BC One competing b-boys

B-Boy Hong 10 (Drifters Crew) – Korea
B-Boy El Nino (Floorlords / Flava Squad / Boogie Bratz / The Squadron) – USA
B-Boy Flying Buddha (Top 9 / Mighty Zulu Kingz) – Russia
B-Boy Lagaet (Momentum Crew) – Portugal
B-Boy Taisuke (All Area Crew)– Japan
B-Boy Lil G (Speedy Angels) – Venezuela
B-Boy Neguin (Tsunami Allstars) – Brazil
B-Boy Niek (Rugged Solutions) – Holland
B-Boy Roxrite (Renegades / Break Disciples / Squadron) – USA
B-Boy Yan the Shrimp (All The Most) – Russia
B-Boy Soso (Melting Force) – France
B-Boy Vero (Jinjo Crew) – Korea
B-Boy Morris (Fallen Kings) – USA
B-Boy Salo (Flying Legs Crew/Aborigenes de Venezuela) – Venezuela
B-Boy 3T (Big Toe Crew) – Vietnam
B-Boy Mounir (Vagabonds) – France

Post date: 22 November 2011

It’s fast becoming apparent that Vagabonds are undisputedly the world's best b-boy crew at the moment, after scooping the UK B-Boy Championships title twice in the past two years and taking both the title and best show award at Battle of the Year (BOTY) 2011.

Battle of the Year is known historically within b-boy circles as the ‘World Cup of B-Boying’ so it was only right that it took place in a massive 12,000 capacity arena in Montpellier, its new home since it moved from Germany two years ago. The last time France won a World Cup (in football) was when it hosted the tournament in 1998, and with the home team taking the silverwear home again it leaves potential for WAGs to scrap their designer handbags for shell toes and phat laces.

What do 12,000 people look like? This.

"They had energy, control and precision. They seemed relaxed and kept their smiles," said Poe One. "A lot crews feel the pressure and pull out all the guns and it doesn't work. But Vagabonds looked at ease."

"This is for us a great comeback after last winning in 2006," they later said. "All eyes were on us but we worked so hard for this all year. We won the UK B-Boy Championships last month and it's so exciting to win the title again."

No doubt. Being the crew flying the national flag saw, or rather heard, audience scream down the arena and the crowd support kept spirits high after a controversial decision to put Battle Born of USA through to the finals. No other crew got the same response, bar Jinjo from (you guessed it) Korea.

In order to qualify for the BOTY 2011 finals each of the 19 crews that qualified for the world finals (see them here) had to perform a six minute showcase. Highlights included a smart dressed Nine States B-Boyz from Japan dancing to an Austin Powers soundtrack, Dead Prezz from Greece going for a poignant political storyline and TPEC from Taiwan bringing energy and attitude that some other competing crews forgot to bring to their set.

BOTY organiser Thomas Hergenröther said: “It was an amazing night. All crews practiced hard to win a spot in the final and there were some great battles. My congratulations to Vagabonds who are now officially the best crew in the world.”

The night before in the BOTY side cyphers the b-girls represented at Nika Kramer’s We B*Girlz battles on Friday night with Lil Fenesis and Yurie from Japan taking out the crowd favourites Aliyah and Marion from France in the finals; B-Boy Niek (formerly Just Do It) of Holland won the 1 v 1 battles, another victory for him since winning the seven to smoke at IBE 2011.

Watch Battle of the Year (BOTY) 2011 highlights

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

Battle of the Year 2011 results

Best show

Top four crews
Battle Born (USA) v Nine State B-Boys (Japan)
TPEC (Taiwan) v Vagabonds (France)

Battle Born v Vagabonds

BOTY 1 v 1 bboy results

Quarter finals
B-Boy El Nino  v B-Boy Lucky Look
B-Boy Vicious v B-Boy Soso
B-Boy Niek v B-Boy ATN
B-Boy PetAir v B-Boy Taower

Semi finals
B-Boy El Nino v B-Boy Vicious
B-Boy Niek v B-Boy Taower

B-Boy Niek v B-Boy Viscious

We B*Girlz results

Quarter finals
LiL FeNeSiS & B-Girl yuRie v Soe & Narcis
Sandra & Louise v Nadeen Shine & K
Cugi & Alessandrina v Pauline & Rose
Lusi & Lenton v Aliya & Marion

Semi finals
FeNeSiS & yuRie  v Sandra & Louise
Pauline & Rose v Aliya & Marion

LiL FeNeSiS & yuRie v Aliya & Marion

It’s bigger than hip hop

France is hyped for street dance. Flicking through the channels on the television at the hotel and who do we see on TV? Bruce, organiser of Juste Debout, as a judge on TV talent competition Dance Street - which was airing on repeat until the early hours of the morning! Brahim, a member of Pockemon crew who also happens to be dating Madonna, was in the gossip headlines, and Vagabonds were clearly the stars at the show as demonstrated when the standing audience pushed forward for a better view.

It was interesting that looking around the arena the apparent amount of breakers that had travelled from overseas to watch BOTY in person were limited. It's a shame more hadn't travelled to Montpellier as the audience seemed unfamiliar with hip hop fundamentals such call-and-response, giving it a feeling of a theatre crowd than a hip hop concert - and you know how hyped the Breakin' Convention hip hop audience gets inside a theatre!

The smelly, sweaty excitement of a cypher you get in packed, intimate venues was full of seated individuals that looked like a hard job to excite. A spectator sport, maybe? If only Breakin' Convention had reporters the last time we went...

What are your thoughts? Were Vagabonds deserving champions? Was the judge's decision to put Battle Born through to the finals right? Maybe you were there and thought the atmosphere was live? If you have something to say leave your comments below!

Post date: 15 November 2011

The annual Battle of the Year is taking place in front of 12,000 b-boy fans this weekend in Montpellier, France, picking up speed this week with a series of lectures, workshops and preliminaries before the grand finals this Saturday.

Over the past six months a total of 35 qualifying rounds have taken place across the world. Starting with list of 350 crews and 3,000 b-boys, only 20 crews have made it to the final.

Update: Read our BOTY 2011 report here!

Those top 20 crews look hot: Jinjo are reigning champions, winners of the international competition R16 Korea, and were runners up at this year’s UK B-Boy Championships in October, and if fates conspire and they brave it to the final rounds they could face current UK B-Boy world champs, Vagabonds during the show down.

Thomas Hergenröther, organiser of Battle of the Year says: “All crews have been practicing long and hard for this one day, trying to convince our five international judges with their choreography in the first round to rank top four and to qualify for the final battles.”

Those judges are: Poe One, Movie One, Crazy, Lilou and Taisuke.

He continues: “To win the competition the crews have to come up with an extraordinary choreography first. For the battle finals, a high level of individual skill and a good crew tactic is needed.”

BOTY - more than just a showcase

Movie One and Poe One are also lending their judging eyes to the internationally acclaimed We B*Girlz battles with third judge Valentine.

B-girls Rose and Pauline from their success of qualifying at IBE 2011 as they face seven other international b-girl couples competing for the title.

Founded and promoted by Nika Kramer and in collaboration with the photographer Martha Cooper, We B*Girlz will see the dopest dancing duos cypher in a girls-only battle where the ladies always come first.

Once again Sunni (Breakin’ Nest) will be representing UK in the b-boy solos up against a mighty line up of international giants (see below)

And let's not forget Hip Hop In Creation featuring performances from Second Souffle (Pockemon Crew) and Sadako (Uzmaki B-Girl Valentine) and Hotmoves by Storm, a lecture combined with a talk show.

The Battle of the Year 2011 grand finals take place at the Park & Suites Arena, Montpellier. Smaller events and preliminaries happen around the city – see for details and locations.

Battle of the Year 2011 crew line up

Jinjo Crew (Korea) - defending champions
1piece ud town (Thailand)
Amazon B-Boys (Brazil)
BMT & Mafia 13 (Russia)
Battle Born (USA)
CT Group (Poland)
De Klan (Italy)
Dead Prezz (Greece)
Guatemaya Crew (Guatemala)
Hoochen Crew (Belgium)
Kosher Flava (Isreal)
Maximum Crew (Korea)
Nine States B-Boyz (Japan)
Over Boys (Dubai)
Reckless Bunch (Germany)
Ruff'n'X (Switzerland)
Simple System (Kazakhstan)
TPEC Crew (Taiwan)
Vagabonds (France)

We B*Girlz Line Up

B-Girl Aliya & B-Girl Marion
B-Girl Pauline & B-Girl Rose
B-Girl Kelly & B-Girl Loueasy
B-Girl Cugi & B-Girl Alessandrina
B-Girl Lusi & B-Girl Lentos
B-Girl Soe & B-Girl Narcis
B-Girl LiL FeNeSiS & B-Girl yuRle
B-Girl Nadeen & B-Girl K

Solo b-boy line up

B-Boy El Nino v B-Boy Rossi
B-Boy Lucky Look v B-Boy Wizard
B-Boy Soso v B-Boy Matthew
B-Boy Vicious v B-Boy Poter
B-Boy Niek v B-Boy Titris
B-Boy Sunni v B-Boy ATN
B-Boy Lil G v B-Boy PetAir
B-Boy Wing v B-Boy Jed

Post date: 11 November 2011

This November at Stratford Circus, dancers from Project G, Myself, Alias, Unity and more are coming together for a dance theatre production based around the subject of abuse.

A series of performances, collaborations and partnerships between dancers and companies will explore the difficult subject of abuse using real life scenarios and victim’s perspectives through movement and film.

Venus Hates Mars was devised by Olu Alatise of Project G Dance Company, a collective of female dancers who strive to grow and are driven by hard work and passion.

“Dance can be a therapeutic healer for individuals who aren’t necessarily comfortable with being vocal about their emotions and they are able to express this through movement,” she says, with any form of abuse being a difficult subject to talk about with others.

She continues: “Coming from a less fortunate background I have had first hand experience in abuse. Growing up alone you tend to conceal your emotions and are unable to channel them verbally. Dance was my release, and has been for many others.”

Presenting the subject using dance movement and making it relatable to non-dancers has been a focus for the production and it is hoped that dancing will make the message easier to absorb.

“The subject is something a lot of people have experienced but have often kept a secret for fear of judgment, embarrassment or pride and is something that is kept in the dark,” says Olu. “We want the show to appeal to not only dancers but people from all walks of life. The production is bringing the subject to the forefront using real life scenarios to create a visual. We hope by the end it will enlighten minds for those who may not have an insight into the subject.”

A lot of research has using case studies compiled by the charity women and children's charity, Refuge, has gone into the production in regards to the different forms of abuse to ensure they are cautious as how each one area being approached.

The poster itself highlights the different characters, storylines and situations that will be portrayed in the show.

Venus Hates Mars, some might have noticed, has a very similar name to Unity and Unity Youth’s Venus vs Mars Part 2 from Breakin’ Convention 2010, a harrowing story about what happens when a woman gets pushed to the edge.

Venus vs Mars Part 2 was a high energy performance with an underlining argument that domestic violence is a serious subject that should be both widely addressed and permanently eradicated.

Tashan Muir, choreographer of Unity echoes both Venus Hates Mars in both name and message.

“Loads of stuff happens in news every day, domestic violence is a thing that seems like it's not spoken about,” said Tashan, speaking about Venus vs Mars in 2010. “A lot of women and men lose their lives for it, kids have to go into adoption and lose their welfare because of it. It's something I've gone through and something others I didn't know others had gone through too.”

Those that came to Open Art Surgery should expect to see the full version of Natalie James’ haunting piece within the context of a show.

It sounds like a tough show to watch: With so much focus on abuse will people come out feeling guilty? Tashan doesn’t think so: “If you go through situations like that in your life and turn it to a positive, it's a good thing,” he says, comparing emotions to self expression in dance. “A lot of the dance community dance because they love it and because they express themselves. If there are happy and sad issues, put it into your dance and see what can come out of it.”

Olu echoes his sentiment: “It is a sensitive subject and we are aware we are touching on an area that carries a hefty load, however dance can bring that change. Even if we reach one person, our work would have been accomplished.”

Venus Hates Mars is sponsored by Refuge, a charity dedicated to the welfare of women and committed to a world where domestic violence is not tolerated or ignored and where women and children can live in safety. It will also be supported by DanceAid, a charity that transforms young children's lives through dance.

Venus Hates Mars takes place at Stratford Circus on Saturday 19 November. Tickets are £10 and can be bought on line or by calling 0844 357 2625

View our calendar to see the full line up. Despite Unity being referenced in the article, they will not be appearing in the show.

Post date: 04 November 2011

Breakin’ Convention recently relaunched Open Art Surgery (formerly 'The Surgery') last weekend and is celebrating its most successful show yet, with new and returning faces joining its line up.

Open Art Surgery showcased one-off performances and works in progress from emcees, dancers, beatboxers and musicians collaborating with one another, some meeting each other for the first time during the course of the week.

Artists presenting new pieces of work at Open Art Surgery included the Breakin’ Convention Education Programme’s resident beatboxer, Marv-ill, ABH, Dim, Oneness, Jane Sekonya-John, Jonzi D, Nefeli Tsiouti, Daniel ‘Photon’ Limbaya, Bumi Thomas, K.E.V., and Natalie James.

Jonzi D's Surgeries have long been a breeding ground for creating new and emerging pieces of hip hop theatre work with some pieces progressing to fullly polished productions premièring at Breakin’ Convention, such as Ella Mesma in Evol (Breakin' Convention 2011) and Shock and Breaker of Flawless in Manipulation (Breakin' Convention 2008).

After a week of collaborating and creating new works in progress under the guidance and direction of Jonzi D, work is presented to an audience where spectators are given the opportunity to critically feed back on work directly to the artists.

Showcased work included a mechanical tango for two by Nefeli and Photon, beatboxing meeting dance with Marv-Ill, ABH, Dim and Photon, and a split personality social awareness solo by K.E.V. on underprivileged African Americans in his hometown of Oakland, California.

A poignant extract by Natalie James on domestic abuse using video projection set to a landscape of silence brought the atmosphere to a sombre level, something which will be explored and showcased in full at Venus Hates Mars at Stratford Circus later on this month.

With the assistance of bar wine and engaging performances to aid opinions, audience critiques flowed freely during the discussion, spilling out into the café as attendees expressed their thoughts on the showcased works in progress. Some members of the audience were moved to tears by performances, while others related to the subtle messages carried across through movement, lyrics and movement, all giving valid input that will help the artists develop their work further.

One of the positive outcomes of Open Art Surgery is its inspiration for artists to hook up after hours to hang out and jam which is sure to spur new artist collaborations outside of the workshops as demonstrated by Marv-Ill and K.E.V. taking a beatboxing and rapping hip hop ‘underground’ in its most literal form - watch below!

Are you an outspoken theatregoer and want your voice heard by artists? Don't miss the next Open Art Surgery, Open Art Surgery Goes Back to the Lab, a special edition where Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jasmin Vardimon will be putting our artists through their paces with her unique approach to choreography.

Tickets are only £5 plus booking fee and are available online or by calling 0844 412 4300