Post date: 28 June 2011

Coming to Rotherham in August is an opportunity for hip hop heads to represent on stage in a performance competition where the audience will play the role of the fifth judge – and they’re looking for entrants. Think Breakin’ Convention with Ask the Audience from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

“The Hip Hop Experiment is a platform for young and aspiring artists who will be performing alongside several special guest commissions,” explains organiser, Ryan ‘Logistic’ Harston. “Plus the competition element of it is to win and be in that number one spot.”

Now in its second year, Hip Hop Experiment aims to celebrate hip hop theatre by showcasing individual artists and companies outside of London. Following the success of its debut last year, the show is returning for more.

“The feedback and response from the artists was amazing – it’d be crazy not to do it again,” Ryan continued.

Four judges will decide the winners based on specific criteria: originality, technique and skill, use of stage, performance and imagination – but the audience has the ability to swing the vote, influencing in the outcome of the results using electronic voting machines.

“We want to keep it in the theatre but also bring some electricity and get the audience involved and break the fourth wall, to be a part of it,” said Ryan. “They’re paying to be there and watch some amazing acts – there’s no reason why they can’t be in on it.”

Eight companies will be commissioned to perform against special guest performers. All elements of hip hop are being accepted, from dancing to beatboxing, spoken word, rapping or even film. Anyone who can tell a story through the means of theatre will be considered.

Performers can enter Hip Hop Experiment via Deadline for entries is Monday 1 August.

The Hip Hop Experiment takes place on Sunday 14th August 2011. See the Breakin' Convention events calendar for tickets, times and prices.

Post date: 17 June 2011

Sadler's Wells Theatre, the world's leading venue for international dance and where the Breakin’ Convention festival is held, is searching for new talent to perform on stage in front of a live audience.

The winners will receive a £2,000 cash prize and an expenses paid trip to London to perform in January 2012 at the annual Sadler’s Wells Sampled showcase.

To enter all you need to do is choreograph, perform and film an original piece of dance and enter it on the Global Dance Contest 2011 website. You can dance on your own, perform a duet, or be group, it’s up to you.

Any kind of dance style can enter, although shortlisted entries representing hip hop in the past have included Bad Taste Cru and Goodfoot, who both progressed to have their pieces performed at Breakin’ Convention 2010.

The winner of the contest will be invited to perform live at Sadler's Wells in January 2012 at Sadler's Wells Sampled, our yearly showcase of the best in dance from around the world.

Hip hop dancers that have performed at Sadler's Wells Sampled over the years have included Franck II Louise, ZooNation and Salah.

For full details see the Sadler's Wells Global Dance Contest website.

Voting will begin on 26 July 2011

Post date: 06 June 2011

From Faith Drama Productions and Spread Expression comes a new hip hop theatre production, Voices in the Alleyway.

Choreographed by Cindy Claes, who readers may remember from the acclaimed Freestyle Funk Forum at Breakin’ Convention 2011, Voices in the Alleyway follows three friends haunted by a dark and foreboding past.

“The story focuses on the idea of finding our purpose of what we do, or what we want to do with our lives,” said Cindy. “We live in an era where a lot of people question their lifestyle, and the purpose [of Voices in the Alleyway] is unlocking that uniqueness that we have inside us.”

Describing herself as a ‘dance backpacker,’ for her interest in finding out about the roots, culture and history behind all forms of vernacular dance, Cindy has been travelling the world bringing this production together.

An invitation for Cindy’s group, Spread Expression (who performed at Breakin’ Convention 2010) to the San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Festival in 2008 on an exchange programme led her to meet and train with Christopher ‘Worm’ Lewis of LA’s krumping Demolition Crew.

It was with perseverance and fundraising that Cindy was able to bring Worm over as part of their Spread Expression and Faith Drama Productions’ first feature length piece, which also boasts the talents of Breakin’ Convention alumni such as Sannchia Gaston as TJ (Radical) and Kendra J Horsburgh as an Apparition (BirdGang), plus Namibian born Tuli Melila as Beyanda, with Daniel Limbaya (D-Youngaz), and Rod Pandinuela (Faith Drama) as Apparitions.

“Before I choreographed 20 minute pieces, but the scale of the production is different to what I’ve done before because I’ve been collaborating with Faith Drama Productions, a not-for-profit arts based organisation in Newham, with whom we’ve been working for three years.”

Breakin’ Convention saw a teaser of the piece at Collabo 2011 at Stratford Circus in April, which was enough to spark an interest in Faith Drama and Spread Expression’s approach to hip hop theatre.

Voices in the Alleyway will take place at the Cochrane Theatre, London from 8 – 12 June.

Post date: 31 May 2011

Breakin' Convention is proud to announce that its Pioneers course is back again, offering the very best of dancers from back in the day teaching masterclasses of the original hip hop dance styles, right here at Sadler's Wells.

Now in its fifth year we're pleased to have Suga Pop, Popin' Pete, Alien Ness, Trac 2 and Shannon Whichway Sha over to teach classes in breaking, locking, popping and house.  

Book online now - or call 0844 412 4300

Breakin Convention has been listening to what people have to say about the Pioneers course. We've noticed that there are a few common misconceptions about the course, so we came up with the top myths we'd like to break down...

Do I have to audition?
No. This year anyone is free to take a Pioneers masterclass so long as they have some professional experience.
In previous years the Pioneers week required an audition process - this is no longer the case.

Do I have to book the entire week?
No. Pioneers is now a pay as you go format, with 20% off if you choose to book four or more classes online (or by calling 0844 412 4300). This is a more flexible option for people wanting to pick and choose which styles they wish to excel in. You can also see the Pioneers timetable here.

I'm already a hip hip dance teacher. What more do I need to know?
The concept of the Pioneers course isn't to teach dance practitioners how to dance if they already can, but to enable them to learn from the pioneers the original true styles of hip hop dancing through our course leaders teaching the history of the dances which can be passed on through your students.

Do I have to pay for open sessions?
No. If you do a class on any day you can do the open sessions on that day for free. So if you take a popping class in the morning you can practice in open sessions for the rest of the day.
You only pay for open sessions if you haven't taken a class on that day, which cost £2 each.

What makes Pioneers week so different?
We'll allow Popin' Pete to explain...

Where can I stay?
Understandably some people travel a long way to get to Pioneers Week and might need accomodation. There are a number of hostels and hotels situated near Sadler's Wells Theatre offering reasonable prices for accomodation:
Rosebery Avenue Hall, 90 Rosebery Avenue (2 minute walk)
Clink Hostel, 78 King's Cross Road (10 minute walk)
City YMCA, 2 Fann Street, City of London (19 minute walk)

Post date: 31 May 2011

This Easter Breakin’ Convention called aspiring dancers, MCs, aerosol artists, film makers and music producers aged 13-16 to get involved with our annual Future Elements Project.

21 young artists signed up and spent six days working intensively with professional Hip Hop artists to write lyrics and beats, choreograph routines, create artwork and shoot their very own music video. The result: Zapp Town!

Choreographed by Katie P, filmed by Ara Stevens and under the creative eye of Jonzi D, the dancers took to the high street in Angel, Islington, to shoot the video, much to the surprise of a few onlookers...

Zapp Town
Katie P
Film Production: Ara Stevens
Director and Editor: Ara Stevens and Marqus AKC'Ent
Aerosol Art: Luke AKA Mr Dane
Music Production: Kewba Da Great
Music Video Shoot: Jump Off TV ( Ara Stevens, Marqus AKC'Ent, Zak Lansky
Videography: Ara the Coach (

Zapp Town premiered at the Future Elements night ahead of Breakin’ Convention 2011 where it was shown to an audience of 1,800 people.

The Future Elements week takes place in the run up to the Breakin’ Convention festival with one focus in mind: take our kids, come up with an original idea, choreograph and shoot it within a week.

Aiming to engage the young people positively as part of Breakin' Convention's mission to nurture the creative talent of the next generation of dancers and creative people, Future Elements is in its third year, following the legacy of Juicy Skank and Dr Merkage Bop.

Zapp Town: The Making Of

Why not have a look at a slideshow of photos taken during the rehearsals and production period, below?

Post date: 24 May 2011

For the first time in its seven year history, Red Bull BC One came to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

It was in Ulster Hall, below the ominous grand organ, that Red Bull set up the cypher stage where b-boys from across the country would battle to represent Ireland with 16 of the world’s most elite b-boys later this year in St Petersburg, Russia.

It was during this brief stay in Belfast that it was possible for Breakin’ Convention to meet dancers from Northern Ireland’s hip hop dance scene and a snapshot of what it’s like – at least within 24 hours.

Out of those we spoke to many reflected the diversity of Belfast’s hip hop community. One collective, Funkarama, was made up or a group of friends from different countries, dancing styles and social backgrounds.

Yet despite a steady stream of negative news reports we might have become accustomed to about politics dividing the city over the years, everyone within hip hop contradicted the divisive stereotype.

Across the audience of a thousand strong spectators, t-shirts repping crews such as Funkarama, Rapture Crew and Belfast City Breakers could be spotted, although few and far between - most simply came for the spectacle of power moves on display.

Sure, there are pockets of hip hoppers in Belfast, but the opinions about the scene vary.

One person we spoke to, Fernando from 4H20 Kids, commented: “A lot of our crews here are foreigners. Even in Belfast. You don’t get local people interested in hip hop, so it’s good to see that someone cares [enough to bring BC One over.]”

So what does it mean to people have BC One in Belfast for the first time? The consensus was it’s going to make everybody happy because there isn’t enough.

The most recognised names out there include the major b-boys like Junior, Cico and Mouse, compared to few local heroes. Hopefully news of B-Boy Armstrong, who emerged as champion, will help shine some light on the Belfast scene.

“The breaking scene here is growing steadily and it’s competitions like the Red Bull BC One that encourage new blood,” said B-Boy Mouse after the event. “This event is not just about dance skills, but also reputation, character and good standing within the b-boy scene."

Mouse also taught workshops ahead of the competition for those interested in breaking.

However, the b-boy scene is still in its juvenile stage. For a regular London jammer the after party was an example of how it compares to London’s scene.

There’s an air of disdain from those not within hip hop looking down their noses at b-boys, or anyone in hip hop attire for that matter, which may hold the scene back by oppressing self expression.

It was the same case when b-boys cyphering outside Ulster Hall were asked to stop dancing and move along – outside a breaking event!

But a little interference from the authorities didn’t faze those that turned up – for many hip hop fans just having BC One come to Belfast was enough to satisfy a hunger for hip hop culture.

B-Boy Armstrong

Will B-Boy Armstrong’s win impact on the scene? Maybe other corporate brands besides Red Bull will hop on Northern Ireland’s hip hop bandwagon? We hope so, as Breakin’ Convention would love to come back to Belfast in the future.

With a welcoming attitude and a real desire to learn more about the culture, Belfast is at the foundations of hip hop, so let’s hope it continues to keep growing from the foundations up and best of luck to B-Boy Armstrong at the next BC One qualifier in Barcelona.

What do you think? Did we get it right? And do you think Breakin’ Convention should tour Belfast?

Post date: 23 May 2011

Before the curtains closed at Breakin Convention 2011, Jonzi D announced BC and Boy Blue was collaborating with Channel 4 on a television project.

Well here is an opportunity to be a part of the production, titled One Man Walking.

While we can't go into detail yet One Man Walking is a powerful and stylish collision of hardcore hip hop choreography, krump, b-boying and parcour, to be shot on the streets of London in July.

The film brings together the scripting and direction of Breakin Convention's Jonzi D with choreography and music specially created by Boy Blue Entertainment’s Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. One Man Walking will be directed by Margaret Williams, who is well-known for her many award-winning dance films.

Audition requirements
If you think you're suitable what we need is strong, enthusiastic, hard working dancers trained in hip hop choreography, movement direction and krump.

Audition date: Tuesday 24th May 2011

Time slots

Centre Stage Studio
1 Gurney Road
London E15 1SH

Filming dates
Filming will be 2, 3 and possibly 4 July so please ensure you are free for these dates and up to 2 weeks rehearsals after the auditions. 

To audition for One Man Walking, please send an email with your CV and details to to secure a time slot.

Let's start Breakin Convention

Post date: 13 May 2011

It's been just over ten days since Breakin' Convention finished and we've just received the photos from the 2011 festival.

Over the course of the weekend there were hundreds of memorable moments, from a night dancer's arm being ripped off and eaten to Morning of Owl's gravity-defying power moves.

Of all those photos we've managed to whittle it down to 22 - one for each of the main stage and Lilian Baylis performances

Click play to begin slideshow. Photos © Paul H and Belinda Lawley 2011.

Post date: 05 May 2011

Breakin' Convention 2011 was a resounding success with a full house across the entire bank holiday weekend.

From dancers to spectators, families and friends, thousands of people turned up at Sadler's Wells dressed to impress ahead of the show.

Whittled down from hundreds of photos, below is a selection of our top 20 flyest audience members, the people that give Breakin' Convention its true character.

Click the play button to start the slideshow!

Post date: 29 April 2011

Free to day pass holders/£4 for day pass holders

What happens when you bring together some of the UK's top hip hop dancers, a DJ, an MC and a live saxophonist and put them in a studio together? A one-off.

Join host Hakeem Onibudo as he hosts the Freestyle Funk Forum on Saturday and Sunday from 4:30pm with dancers Brooke Milliner, Dickson Mbi, Cindy Claes, Turbo, DJ Billy Bizznizz, MC Jonzi D and award winning saxophonist Steve Williamson in a live improv showcase where anything can happen!

"We're creating paramaters that will really challenge these amazing dancers and exploring ideas that the audience can influence," said Jonzi D. "You want to come to the Freestyle Funk Forum because we're making the dancers move out of their comfort zone. The power is in your hands."

Blending the format of Jonzi's Open Art Surgery workshops and Hakeem's audience participation games, the Freestyle Funk Forum will break down the 'fourth wall' of theatre and allow the audience to decide what happens on stage.

Brooke and Dickson recently represented the UK at the international hip hop dance event, Juste Debout 2011 in Paris, Turbo returns from making it to the Got to Dance finals on Sky One and Cindy Claes has just returned from training in LA.

Breakin' Convention is also blessed to have saxophonist Steve Williamson providing the music with resident Breakin' Convention DJ, Billy Bizznizz.

Steve Williamson's career is based on the constant study of harmony and research of the all possible harmonic approaches to compositions. His wide musical knowledege gives him the opportunity to experiment with his music, creating always innovative and unique compositions - so it's going to be the perfect for what's in store!

The Freestyle Funk Forum takes place in the Lilian Baylis Studio on Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May from 16:30 - 17:30.
Tickets are available in person on the day of the performance from the ticket office until 4pm, and then from the foyer.
Tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis and are subject to availability.