If you switch over to any of the numerous amount of music channels we find ourselves spoilt for choice with, what styles of dance are you most likely to see? Tutting? Whacking? Popping? Locking? Culturally we’ve shifted from the Jazz and balletic routines of the 60s, 70s and 80s and have embraced ‘street dance’ culture, an umbrella term for a range of dances inspired by the emergence of Hip Hop in the late 70s.
Formally an underground movement, from B-boys honing their skills on the streets, to dancers battling one another in clubs, these styles of dance have all become apart of the pop culture conscious, a normality within the mainstream media world with artists such as Beyoncé, Ciara and Usher to name a few championing the diversity of street dance culture with their iconic routines.
Curated by Hip Hop Theatre pioneer Jonzi D, Breakin’ Convention celebrates the choreographic and performing talents of some of the world’s brightest stars. For one weekend only, the backdrop of Islington’s busy high streets fizzle away as numerous floors of Sadler’s Wells take on the ideas of unity and diversity with walls of street art created especially for the occasion, workshops lead by dancing professionals and music provided by Djs The En4cers.
As soon as you walk through the Sadler’s Wells doors, it’s clear to see that Breakin’ Conention is delivering what it says on the tin, a night of dance theatre challenging any preconceptions of what hip hop dance entails. A platform for both established, and future talents, the feeling of support and appreciation never leaves the space.
Highlights of the evening include Australian dancer, Gianna Gi‘s otherworldly piece, comprising of jaw dropping arm contortions, East London’s Unity, showcasing their sharp and dynamic choreography as both an ensemble, and individuals and Flockey, an intriguing performance with the depiction of alcoholism at its heart. Germany’s Flockey ingeniusly switches from balletic lyrical hip hop choreography, to the fast paced, iconic James Brown-esque footwork of the 60s and 70s. His routine transports the audience on a round trip of hip hop, and is one of the most exciting pieces of the evening.
B-boy world champions, Ruggeds present exactly why they are at the very top of their game, displaying a daredevil mentality performing backflips whilst holding a chair, bouncing off and tumbling over exercise balls and performing head spins that competitors could only dream of perfecting. A powerful, defiant and high energy display of strength, originality and daring, Ruggeds well and truly get the party started. B-boy pioneers, The Legendary Twins, hailing from the Bronx, remind the audience exactly why and how hip hop dance has become so popular, with the ethos of it being an inclusive and supportive culture being at its heart.
Les Twins, most noted for performing with the artist, Beyoncé, bring a light hearted, comical edge to the evening. Switching from the commercialised, jazz and contemporary styles of dance we’re accustomed to watching in 80s pop videos, to synchronised phrases of popping and locking, Les Twins also close the evening on a high. A great evening of dance, inclusion and music, Breakin’ Convention is an event for all ages and all walks of life. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, or a beginner,the message is loud and clear, dance is not exclusive, it’s inclusive. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Breakin’ Convention was on at Sadler’s Wells from Saturday 2nd to Sunday 3rd May. For more information on the event, visit here…