Breakin’ Convention 2023 @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Taken briefly off guard by a surprise announcement from the influential b-boy duo The Legendary Twins AKA Kevin and Keith Smith, Breakin’ Convention founder Jonzi D watches on as both read out the heartfelt statement inscribed on his award given by the New York State Assembly acknowledging his undeniable contribution to the movement of Hip Hop which celebrates 50 years this year. An advocate of Hip Hop culture here in the UK, Jonzi D has been crucial to bringing Hip Hop to our stages and training the thought leaders of tomorrow. Returning yet again with a weekend long celebration of the form, Breakin’ Convention transforms Sadler’s Wells into a forum to connect, share idea and platform new work.

Courtesy of Belinda Lawley.

Three days worth of events split into two days of workshops, panels and performances and the concluding day, bank holiday Monday a Park Jam, Breakin’ Convention unapologetically sees in their 20th year. Saturday’s line up of performances really rising up to the enormity of the milestone being marked, part 1 starting off with Youth Dance Company who grace the stage with precision and an intensity – a krump and break fuelled number that embodies an angelic quality. Gully South Block grounded, switching between duo and ensemble formations fusing popping, locking showcasing their readiness to battle. MOVER inventively play around with sound and shape, live beatboxing soundtracking their piece, contortion and breaking crafting awe inspiring tableauxs that help establish an unknown world that they now occupy. Max Revell brings a touch of lyricism and jazz inspired choreography with a beautifully choreographed work centring on a man and his subway commute, playing around with perspective, Revell performs this entertaining solo work with his back towards us, his integration of locking creating a fluidity throughout – object manipulation of a briefcase adding an old school charm to the piece. Justin De Jager showcases his innovative strand of Hip Hop – ‘threading’ to the evening. The piece consisting of a trio of dancers intricately locking to create a feeling of eternal connection, interlocking – the piece is an experimental watch and one that fosters a mesmeric feel. Concluding part 1 of the evening is the feel good vibes of the Ghetto Funk Collective who pay homage to Hip Hop’s beginnings. Steeped in 70s funk, the collective fuse rhythmic footwork and routines to deliver an entertaining outro. Displays of solo prowess as well as ensemble pieces embodying just what Hip Hop is about – heart Vs competition/camaraderie Vs pushing the boundaries.

Part 2 begins with Company Nicolas Huchard feat La Diva aux pied nus (The Barefoot Divas), a piece crafted in celebration of individuality and womanhood – whacking integrated wonderfully throughout, Huchard’s commercial and African fused choreography really tapping into today’s trends. The piece is sensual, sultry and has a sense of appreciation towards Mother Nature. Ill Abilities present a stunning work showcasing the resilience of the human body, integrating breaking and  acrobatics, both craft a powerful, emotional work that bring many close to, or to actual tears. Breakin’ Convention regulars Boy Blue fuse krump, popping, locking and African vibes to craft a dramatic penultimate performance to the evening. The 3 act performance delivered with a precision and crispness that makes for an engrossing show. To conclude the evening and day 1, Les Twins, Rubix & Missy effortlessly showcase what they can all do individually – each taking it in turns to pop, lock, lip sync, contort. Effortless footwork, flexibility and acrobatics all combining to craft a playful end.

Breakin’ Convention is a beautiful celebration of Hip Hop and it’s global reach. Co-hosted by BSL Interpreter Jacqui Beckford, inclusivity continued to be at the heart of what Hip Hop and Breakin’ Convention are all about!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Breakin’ Convention took place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April 2023 at Sadler’s Wells. To find out more about the event, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop