Post date: 09 August 2011

DanceXchange, in partnership with Dancefest, Dancescape and Dudley Performing Arts, has collaborated with Breakin’ Convention favourite Salah for a new online dance concept called Breathe the Beat.

Salah has recorded five video tutorials in his style of PABE (Popping, Animation, Boogaloo, Effect) being released every three weeks on the Breathe the Beat website.

Breakin’ Convention regulars need no introduction to Salah. Quite possibly the most entertaining individual to perform, tour, and reappear during the Breakin’ Convention tour, Salah has made a name for himself both as a world class popper, breaker and artist.

The Breathe the Beat project was launched last weekend as part of the Cultural Olympiad to mark the one year countdown to the London 2012 Olympics. On board with the project are Plague’s Brooke and Roxy who will be performing at Breathe the Beat Roadshows throughout the West Midlands from April 2012.

Once the first tutorial has been released, Breathe the Beat will be launching a competition allowing anyone to upload a video to the website. The winner will get the chance to perform at one of the roadshows, and will get the chance to meet Salah.

Designed to demonstrate how he take his inspiration from the world around him, Salah has been planning this project for a while. The project will provide Salah with an online presence while he tours the world in the latest Cirque de Soleil show.

Breathe the Beat is led by DanceXchange, in partnership with regional dance agencies Dancefest, Dancescape and Dudley Performing Arts, the Outdoor Dance Programme is a substantial new project for the West Midlands. It forms a major strand of the Dancing for the Games programme, connecting people with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through dance.

Post date: 05 August 2011

One Man Walking, part of Channel 4's Street Summer season finally has a transmission date - Monday 15 August at 10:30pm.

Weeks in development in a partnership between Jonzi D of Breakin’ Convention, Mikey J and Kenrick Sandy of Boy Blue Entertainment, and under the acclaimed direction of Margaret Williams at MJW Productions, One Man Walking will be a dance film made for TV on a massive scale.

One Man Walking will be a powerful collision of Krump, hip hop and parkour set in the streets of London and features scores of London's best dancers from Boy Blue Entertainment, Animaineax, Myself, Spread Expression and Alias.

One Man Walking

"We're in London and this is one of the most expressive cities in the world. When you walk down the street everyone is different, everyone has a chance to be themselves,” said Kenrick Sandy. “One Man Walking is a chance to showcase what London is about. As much as it is sometimes hard to live in London, there is that revolution that pushes us through, expressing ourselves through movement and through dance, through music."

Throughout August Channel 4 takes to the streets to celebrate street dance, urban sport, street art and graffiti to rap/spoken word and hip hop, and featuring an all-star cast, Street Summer explores the influences that have shaped contemporary urban culture and showcases some of the most exciting British talent on the block.

Will you be tuning in? If you need a reminder, click attending on the One Man Walking event page on Facebook, and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #OneManWalking

One Man Walking slideshow

Post date: 03 August 2011

Avante Garde Dance co-founder and choreographer Tony Adigun has been selected to join the artistic collective at The Place in Euston with 10 other artists, selected to reflect the diversity of the UK independent dance scene.

Announced last month, The Place, the UK’s premier centre for contemporary dance in the heart of London, will guide and mentor the Work Place artists through creative processes to producing original pieces of work.

Recently Tony “Touch” Adigun has been killing it creatively with the location-based production of Taxi returning to tour the UK this summer, acclaim for the immersive production Illegal Dance and the annual Collabo at Stratford Circus.

Tony’s induction in to The Place on top of his company Avant Garde already being an associate company at East London Dance, will include tailored individual mentorship and guidance from The Place’s artist manager, coaching and vocational training.

"Work Place formalises the relationship that The Place has with some of the country’s most exciting choreographers,” said Eddie Nixon, director of theatre and artist development at The Place. “I hope that this programme will help them to achieve even more in the years to come.”

Considering critical acclaim for Tony already, and some cracking Breakin’ Convention sets under his belt - see Avant Garde Youth's performance, below - we look forward to results under the Work Place guidance.

The other Work Place artists are: Rosemary Butcher, Ben Duke, Simon Ellis, Rosemary Lee, Eva Recacha, Frauke Requardt, Luca Silvestrini, Moreno Solinas, Vera Tussing and Igor Urzelai.

Tony will debut his work as a Work Place artist this week at Touch Wood 2 this Friday, one of ten nights showcasing work in progress from their choreographers where they will perform in front of an intimate audience before asking the audience to discuss their thoughts.

Post date: 26 July 2011

Oxfam recently caught up with Jonzi D to promote its GROW campaign, a series of conversations with high profile personalities about tackling the injustices in ways we produce and consume food around the world.

Oxfam surveyed over 16,000 people across the world about their attitudes towards the food they eat, one of whom was Jonzi D when Tabu Flo was in town ahead of Breakin’ Convention 2011.

“I love the fact that my craft as an MC and Tabu Flo’s skills as dancers can be used to promote Oxfam’s objectives in relation to the distribution of food and general wealth around the world today,” said Jonzi D. “I hope that the little that I can contribute will make a difference.”

New research published in a report by Oxfam, Growing a Better Future, predicts that average international prices of key staple ingredients such as maize, rice and corn will increase by between 120 and 180 per cent by 2030 thanks to a growing world population, lack of investment in small scale agriculture and the impact of climate change.

Decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger is now being reversed as demand outpaces food production. Natural resources are being depleted, fertile land and water is being distributed unfairly, and the gathering pace of climate change is already making the situation worse.

"It's a scandal that in a world that produces enough food, 1 in 7 people currently goes hungry every day,” said Claire Lewis, global ambassador programme manager at Oxfam. “It doesn't have to be like this - the broken global food system must be fixed so that everyone, always, has enough to eat.”

Oxfam estimates the world’s poorest people spend up to 80 percent of their income on food and producing the food we eat.

“The urgency and scale of the problem is clear and we welcome the creative ingenuity of Jonzi D who we met through Tabu Flo, a dance group from Uganda,” she continued. “Jonzi D's inspired call to action was unprompted and unscripted - he's a great man and a brilliant rapper too!"

To find out more about Oxfam’s GROW campaign and to join the conversation about food, visit: http://www.oxfam.org/food-survey

Post date: 19 July 2011

Co-produced by Jay Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Broadway hit FELA! comes to Sadler’s Wells after sold-out performances at the National Theatre last winter.

The show tells the life of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose blend of jazz, funk and African rhythms ignited a generation and had a massive impact on hip hop artists from Mos Def to Macy Gray and Questlove of The Roots.

Celebrating Kuti's revolutionary life as a political maverick, it's easy to compare the parallels between him and the early, socially-aware messages of a Public Enemy or KRS-One record.

Breakin’ Convention may be Sadler’s Wells’ flagship hip hop event, but FELA! takes hip hop music back it to the origins from the man credited with establishing the Afrobeat sound.

Bursting with colour, infectious live music and energetic dance, FELA! has seen audiences up on their feet and dancing in the aisles wherever it has been performed – fans include John Legend, Alicia Keys and Sting.

If you want to see a great show that’s got the vibe of a concert and a dance party, then check out FELA! Think the Breakin’ Convention main show and after party in one.

FELA! runs from 20 July - 28 August at Sadler's Wells Tickets start at £15 and can be bought online or by calling 0844 412 4300

Post date: 15 July 2011

The iDance Hip Hop Championships organised by Hip Hop International take place in Las Vegas at the end of this month. With less than a fortnight to go, some dancers and crews are going to extreme yet innovative lengths to raise the funds needed to get their crews to the finals…

The groups from the UK that made it to the internationals, some of whom have performed at Breakin’ Convention in the past include G25, Lil Diamonds, Funk Force, Shockarellas, Ruff Diamonds, D*Fy, Plague, UMA and Myself.

Since the results for the iDance qualifiers were announced in June, groups had less than two months to raise money through showcasing, fundraising, and even busking in the streets in order to pay for their flights and accommodation. At around £1,500 per person for a return flight to Las Vegas plus hotel and food, getting to America requires a team effort from all the groups that entered, especially the larger ones.

Myself, who performed at Breakin’ Convention 2009, has done everything from busking at Trocadero near Piccadilly Circus to carrying tins with them to their classes, performances and workplaces.

They are the only all-female group from the UK in the championships and are proud of their accomplishment on an international level.

“Myself placed 3rd place and will represent the UK at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas,” said Olu Alatise, one of the dancers with Myself. “We worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get to this stage and we are striving for nothing less than to be the best. Why come this far to not want to reach the finish line?”

She continued: “It's about time women in hip hop get recognised for their strength and ability in dance.”

Besides an ability in dance, an ability to bake a good cupcake is to be expected as the girls will tempt supporters to part with cash for at their fundraiser, plus with their online fundraising campaign the crew will dance at your event if you meet a certain donation threshold.

Busking has no limits either when it comes to raising cash: Dancers from Shockarellas and G25 in Manchester have busked outside concerts in Manchester to raise money, being moved on by everyone from the council to the police. Both the groups qualified first place in junior and varsity categories.

Shockarellas are also the first group we’ve come across to use text message donations using Vodaphone's Just Text Giving service.

“Every weekend since we won it felt like we were on a conveyer belt,” said Sue of Studio 25 in Manchester where both Shockarellas and G25 train. “Some [dancers] would be busking, others bag packing and some doing events. We have had lot of support from our parents, fellow students and teachers when we could not cover all the places we needed to be at.”

Multiply the rough £1,500 fair to Las Vegas by seven dancers plus minders and you have an idea of the money the groups need to raise.

And what if you’re a solo artist?

Rowdy (Yami Lofvenberg) flew to Las Vegas last year after self funding herself and intends to go over again this year to compete in the popping category. If no one can fund the journey it may have to be the same story where a dancer has to dig deep into their pockets.

Yet despite the looming deadline it hasn’t put any of the crews off, determined to make it to Vegas. Coming up in the next ten days the Breakin’ Convention Calendar has dates for events under iDance Fundraisers.

All of the groups that qualified need the final push to send them on your way, so we've included details of upcoming last-minute fundraisers below.

Ways to sponsor qualifying groups:
Sponsor MySelf with Sponsume

Donate to Shockarellas and G25 by texting “JustTextGiving Shoc04 £5” to the number 70070, replacing the £ denomination with the value of your donation.

Upcoming iDance fundraiser events
Myself’s I’m Buff R U event

Myself Showcase

Shockarellas and G25 Footsteps to the World Hip Hop Championships event

Did we miss your fundraiser? Contact us here.

Post date: 12 July 2011

Soul Mavericks are three time national b-boy champions as of Saturday when they won the Regional Conflict qualifiers for the UK B-Boy Championships.

It means they’ll go on to battle against the world’s best b-boy crews and at the UK B-Boy Championships 2011 at the Brixton Academy in October in an attempt to topple current champions Vagabonds from France.

Regional Conflict took place at O2 Islington Academy, London, with qualifiers in popping, crew and solo b-boy battles – the same place the Breakin' Convention after party took place.

It was Soul Mavericks who took the crew title, while Dizzy took solo b-boy and Mechanikool P took popping.

“I’m feeling really good man, overwhelmed after winning for the third time,” said Mid Air of Soul Mavericks reacting to the Mavericks’ victory. “The anxiety was on us but we did it again, so I’m so happy!”

Regional Conflict 2011 marks the third time in a row Soul Mavericks has qualified for the world championships, competing again head to head with last years national finalists La Familia in the finals.

“It was great to see Mavericks win man. I do honestly think there was a massive difference between Mavericks and others this year. A massive difference,” said DJ Renegade, who trains and mentors the group. “Some of the other crews are good: Bad Taste Cru are good; Trinity Warriors are good; La Familia are good. But I think Mavericks edged ahead a little more.”

So what’s next for the Soul Mavericks?

“Time to get ready for the world finals,” said Renegade. “The UK regionals is a step that you have to do, but our main focus is on the world final. I think we’ve proved that we’ve got that level now for international competitions. I think we’ve proved that for a while now.”

This year's competing b-boys and b-girls are no strangers to Breakin' Convention either.

Last year Spin emerged as national champion. Pipped to first place by Dizzy, Spin still qualifies for the UK B-Boy Championships in October, and he’s the face of Breakin’ Convention 2011 merchandise.

People may recognise Sunni, right, member of the Soul Mavericks, performed at Breakin' Convention 2011 with Breakin' Nest.

Bad Taste Cru, who performed Council of the Ordinary at Breakin' Convention 2010, a piece that they later developed and toured the UK, graduated to the semi finals where Soul Mavericks defeated them.

And Roxy of Soul Mavericks, who watched proceedings from the wings of the stage was one of the iconic Breakin' Convention cutouts on our 2010 programme.

Breakin' Convention would also like to give props to the dancers from Plague and Flawless who despite their success still took time to enter a national competition.

Regional Conflict 2011 results

Crew champions
Soul Mavericks

Runners up
La Familia

Solo b-boy champion
Dizzy

Runner up
Spin

Solo popping champion
Mechanikool P

Runner up
Marvel

Post date: 11 July 2011

Live Vibe, the original dance showcase concept created by Hakeem Onibudo, is to travel to the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford on 16 July 2011. The event, Live Vibe East, will form part of the Redbridge Dance Festival and is the first occasion that Live Vibe has been held in a UK venue outside its Sadler’s Wells residency since it moved there in 2007.

Live Vibe offers a rare opportunity for young artistes from the worlds of dance, music, spoken word and beyond, to present work in a professional environment. Live Vibe East’s line up will include performances from a selection of UK dance talent including the recent Sky 1 Got to Dance finalist Turbo, as well as the renowned heavyweights of East London, Boy Blue Entertainment.

Joining them will be C-12 Dance Theatre, D7 World Entertainment, Daniel Lambaya and Chi-Lin Nim, Enigma Dance and Impact Dance’s very own flagship company, Fully Functioning Individuals. Along side these professional and semi-professional acts two local school groups will perform: ElectricK, winners of the Mayfield inter school dance competition and Fresh Beatz.

Hakeem Onibudo, curator of Live Vibe and founder of Impact Dance commented, "Having run for 15 years in London, it’s really exciting to bring Live Vibe to the East of England. We can’t wait to introduce the concept to a new audience and see what kind of talent we can unearth in the East – bring it on!"

Bonita Cattle, arts development officer at the London Borough of Redbridge said, "We are delighted to include Live Vibe East in the Redbridge Dance Festival. This show will bring a whole new dimension to the Festival by introducing and exploring new styles of dance that enable The Kenneth More Theatre to reach out to new audiences."

In his inimitable style, Hakeem and his regular co-host Annaliese Dayes will also introduce a number of interactive concepts which break down the “fourth wall” between performers and spectators, encouraging audience participation.

Find out what else is happening in hip hop dance theatre - check out the Breakin' Convention calendar.

Post date: 06 July 2011

Breakin’ Convention regulars Plague have been nominated for a London Award for Art and Performance following their performance at Breakin’ Convention 2011.

The London Festival Fringe, organisers of the ceremony, longlisted Plague after reading a review of their Breakin’ Convention 2011 set, Fire of London, in the Guardian.

“I’m glad that people are acknowledging what we do,” said Brooke Milliner, choreographer of Plague. “There aren’t that many hip hop acts that have been nominated within that category. It feels good.”

Commenting on Breakin’ Convention’s role to play in Plague’s nomination, he continued: “For me Breakin’ Convention is one of, if not the best UK dance show with lots of international acts that inspire us to dance. So to get a critical review from there (the Guardian) to stand out above other people is quite a big thing for us.”

The London Awards for Art and Performance are the city's most expansive awards recognising passion and excellence in artists and performers across many art forms, from photography to poetry. The short list for each category is compiled from critical reviews in the press.

He continued: “Normally if we want to win something or get noticed we have to go out and do the work. People recognising our work that we’ve done before is a new thing.”

Flawless, who have also appeared at Breakin’ Convention in the past, have been nominated in the same category for their Chase the Dream tour which concluded at the Peacock Theatre last month.

Votes for the London Festival Fringe Award shortlist are cast with the highest number of Facebook ‘Like’ clicks next to the reviews throughout July. Judges in each category will then help decide the winner from the shortlist.

Breakin’ Convention wishes the best of luck to both of our past performing groups in the awards.

Update: Flawless and Plague has made the shortlist next to Balletboyz.

The three acts will be judged by dance critics Clement Crisp, Louise Levene,Judith Mackrell and choreographer Maddy Wynne-Jones
 

Post date: 29 June 2011

Breakin’ Convention is proud to announce that it will be coming to your television sets for a summer of hip hop.

The action kicks off this week starting with award winning conductor Charles Hazlewood investigating modern dance in Dance! The Most Incredible Thing about Contemporary Dance on BBC 4.

Breakin’ Convention curator and host Jonzi D features as one of the interviewees talking about the emergence of hip hop dance with footage of Hilty and Bosch, Radical, Electric Boogaloos and Myo Sung.

Dance! The Most Incredible Thing about Contemporary Dance on BBC 4 at 8pm on Thursday 30 June.

One Man Walking on Channel 4

Recently Breakin’ Convention auditioned for a dance film, which is now in development. One Man Walking, a dance film short directed by Margaret Williams, will be aired on Channel 4 as part of its Street Season throughout August.

Scripted by Jonzi D with choreography by Kenrick Sandy and a soundtrack by Mikey J from Boy Blue Entertainment, One Man Walking is a dance film made for TV on a massive scale, produced by MJW Productions.

Also expect Jonzi's input on How Hip Hop Changed the World with Idris Elba, star of TV's Luther.

The broadcast dates for both Channel 4' Street Season shows has yet to be announced.

Meanwhile Breakin’ Convention Edinburgh crew Heavy Smokers are appearing on TV across Scotland on BBC Alba (you’ll need an understanding of Gaelic or subtitles enabled and a Scottish Freeview box or catch it on iPlayer).

Presenters Anne Morrison and Kevin Walker are hosting Dannsa (Scotland is Dancing), a series following around six dance groups in Scotland, from ballet to breaking.

Dannsa (Scotland is Dancing) is on BBC Alba every Monday until 18 July.

Finally, from 22 August Kenrick Sandy, Turbo and Lizzie Gough will be judging young street dance crews on Alesha's Street Dance Stars on the CBBC.

The show will feature 24 street dance crews aged between 10 and 16 that have been selected to perform in the first round of qualifiers after auditions took place across the UK.

Did we miss anyone? Have you performed at Breakin' Convention in the past and appearing on TV this summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below or posting on our Facebook wall.

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