CURVE TO WELCOME THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF HIP HOP DANCE THEATRE, BREAKIN’ CONVENTION ’17 Now in its 14th year, Sadler’s Wells’ critically acclaimed festival of hip hop dance theatre Breakin’ Convention is back on tour and explodes onto the Curve stage on Tue 23 and Wed 24 May.
Now established as one of the world’s greatest celebrations of hip hop culture, the show pairs the best dance crews from around the world with emerging local talent, and will once again be hosted by the festival’s founder, dancer and spoken word artist Jonzi D.
The convention will also see Curve’s foyer transformed before the show and during the interval with live DJs, freestyle dance jams, graffiti exhibitions, workshops from top international artists and live aerosol art. The UK tour also offers local dance companies the opportunity to perform alongside International acts.
The international tour line-up includes Soweto Skeleton Movers, a highlight of last year’s festival. Mixing comedic contortionism with the Pantsula dance style native to the townships of South Africa and performing to Kwaito music, a form of Afro house and the soundtrack of the liberation struggle, the group returns by popular demand to present a brand new work titled Seven 7.
Joining them on tour is Canadian group Tentacle Tribe. Founded in 2012, the Montreal-based dance company creates uncommon dance works with a contemporary twist using conceptual hip hop and influences from all types of earthly creatures. The duo’s work experiments with intricate partnering, refined musicality and physical choreography. Tentacle Tribe recently performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Completing the international line up are Just Dance from South Korea. Under the artistic direction of B-boy Ducky of the Drifterz Crew, Just Dance presents an updated vision of Korean shamanistic mask performance. Live Korean drumming accompanies a crew of poppers and B-boys, with many world titles to their name. Earlier in 2016 the group performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The London dates mark their Breakin’ Convention UK premiere. Six Leicestershire crews will join this international line-up at Curve, with three crews performing on each day of the convention.
The first of the crews performing on Tue 23 May is The Collective. Comprising DJ Jon Furst, Harpist Miranda Booth and contemporary dancers Jasmine Man and BBoy Black Dragon, this performance will see a live battle between the musicians form the backdrop to an exploration of the relationship between B-boying and contemporary dance.
Joining them is Code Crew with their piece, Reflection. Established in 2015 after meeting at De Montfort University, this group includes 13 UK and international dancers who have won several competitions in the short time that they have been together. Reflection centres on their growth as a dance group over the past couple of years, and becoming the ‘tightly knit’ group that they are today.
The final crew performing on Tue 23 May hail from Tozer Dance Studios in Nottingham. The crew, consisting of Junior and Senior students from the studios, have been working hard on their performance since their Unite The Scene show last November, and are looking forward to performing at the show.
On Wed 24 May, performance poet Hibword and B-Boy SuperCedric collaborate on a mission to inspire people to escape and question their reality. I Wish I Could… is a psychedelic, B-boy inspired, spoken word and interactive physical theatre piece. Wednesday also sees Curve Breakthrough artists Wayward Thread take to the stage in Inherent, a piece addressing the need for those who are not black to engage with movements such as Black Lives Matter. Inherent will be performed by Wayward Thread’s founder Si Rawlinson, and dancers Vladimir Gruev and Ryan Neiken, drawing on break, contemporary and other hip hop dance styles. Take 1 Dance from Nottingham are the final regional group performing on the second day of the convention. Established in 2008, Take 1 Dance have been running weekly dance classes for local families and young people, covering a wide range of Street dance styles. Take 1’s teams regularly compete across the country, and are excited to be performing alongside the international acts at Breakin’ Convention.
Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D is the founder and Artistic Director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin’ Convention. A dancer, spoken word artist and director, he is an advocate for hip hop and has changed the profile and influenced the development of the UK British hip hop dance and theatre scene over the last two decades. Jonzi D is a graduate from the London Contemporary Dance School and a former Associate Artist at The Place. He has toured his own work internationally and is regularly invited to judge international dance competitions.
Jonzi D devised and directed TAG... Just Writing My Name in 2006, IVAN in 2006 and Markus the Sadist, a rap theatre piece in 2009. All pieces successfully toured the UK to critical acclaim. He has also devised, choreographed and featured in various hip hop inspired fashion shows.
In 2013 he wrote and toured The Letter, a piece about the responses to receiving a nomination for an MBE in 2011, and Broken Lineage in collaboration with Ivan Blackstock.
Jonzi D performed The Letter at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe and also featured on TedEX Warwick and spoke at the European Commission forum on creativity and diversity. Jonzi D performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier in 2016.