Distinguished festival Breakin’ Convention returns to take over Sadler’s Wells and the Lilian Baylis Studio with its annual celebration of hip hop over the May Bank Holiday. A Sadler’s Wells Project, the International Festival, now in its 16th year, takes place on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May, showcasing the finest and most exciting hip hop talent.
Hosted and curated by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D, the Festival offers the chance to watch high-calibre breakin’ crews, innovative popping, creative krump and soulful house dance.
This year the fresh, diverse and electrifying line-up includes a number of Breakin’ Convention debuts and pieces programmed as a result of Breakin’ Convention’s development initiatives. Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment return for the fifteenth time to storm the stage, as B-boy Junior, amongst the most watched b-boy of all time, teams up with Greek popper Kalliopi Tarasidou to bring kaleidoscopic moves to the Festival. Leading the way with strong female artists is all-female poppers AIM Collective and 16 year old b-girl Logistx who is making waves in the dance community despite her tender age, whilst Joshua Nash and Jordan Douglas delve into the concept of toxic masculinity with their krump duet.
Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D said, “Breakin’ Convention is back in the game for the 16th year running, and still just as exciting as the first. The Festival is such a fantastic opportunity to see the best, rawest hip hop around.”
Attendees experience hip hop culture in a unique way, with a variety of taster sessions, workshops and free activities throughout the entire Sadler’s Wells building. Foyers will be transformed to allow audiences to enjoy dance workshops, live graffiti, award-winning hip hop DJs, MCs and impromptu dance circles all over the building. BSL interpreter Jacqui Beckford returns to co-host all Sadler’s Wells stage performances.
WorX, a distinctive adult-only hip hop cabaret evening kicks off the festivities on Friday 3 May in the Lilian Baylis Studio. An exciting evening of live entertainment with an array of dance, circus and poetry. Acts are embedded with a hip hop flavour in this adult-only evening of works and new commissions in a burlesque setting. Full line-up to be announced shortly. Strictly over 18s (ID may be required), WorX contains language or content unsuitable for younger audiences. The ever-popular Park Jam closes the long weekend with a fantastic free outdoor event suitable for families on Monday 6 May in Spa Fields Park.
Below is the confirmed line-up of this year’s artists and companies. For more information on the line-up, including news and updates, visit the Breakin’ Convention website: www.breakinconvention.com
UK acts featuring on the Sadler’s Wells stage:
AIM Collective (UK) – An all-female collective of strong female poppers hit hard, led by Shawn Aimey of Plague and Fiyahouse.
Boy Blue Entertainment (UK) – East London’s leading dance company, Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment are arguably at the forefront of UK street dance. Steered by Kenrich ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, they present an ensemble performance showcasing the next generation of street dancers.
Fiyahouse (UK) – Founded by long-term collaborators and partners Brooke Milliner and Dickson Mbi, this collective of London’s leading poppers showcases a world première performance steeped in funk, dimestops and hard hits.
Gulf Dance Company (UK) – Probing what it means to be human by investigating the different textures and movement qualities that this inquiry can inspire in the physical body. Current dance students at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Deavion and Thomas have danced together for many years but have recently formed this company.
Locksmiths (UK) – Premiering a new piece for this year’s Festival, this London-based locking dance company present harmonious layers of grooves, built up with a loopstation in a funky interpretation of musical chairs, backed with a band.
Perry Louis (UK) – An underground dancer as part of the JazzCotech Dancers, Perry hits the stage to represent the old skool street fusion of jazz dance.
The Archetype (UK) – Making their debut performance at Breakin’ Convention, London crew The Archetype explore the earthly element of Air – part of their conceptual dance series focusing on the elements, following on from water, earth and fire.
Theo “Godson” Oloyade (UK) – Eminent UK krumper and member of Boy Blue ventures deeper into theatre work, where stage presence meets intense chest pops and arm jabs.
International acts featuring on the Sadler’s Wells stage (all UK Premieres):
Angyil McNeal (USA) – Representing Kansas, Missouri, Bessie Award-nominated Angyil’s meteoric rise as a popper on the battling scene has seen her winning prestigious competitions internationally and being headhunted by Red Bull Dance.
Geometrie Variable (France) – A style resembling the inner mechanics of a timepiece with the popping technique of tutting defines this company, who utilise infinite angles to create a visual spectacle.
Jinjo Crew (South Korea) – Reigning Battle of the Year World Champions, Jinjo Crew bring an astounding showcase of élite breaking and acrobatics, mixed with Korean culture and led by crew leader B-Boy Wing.
Junior & Kalli (France/Greece) – B-boy Junior is amongst the world’s most watched b-boys, known for his incredible upper body strength and gravity-defying aerial moves. For Breakin’ Convention, he couples with Greek popper Kalliopi Tarasidou to combine impossible freezes, intertwining bodies and colliding popping.
Logistx (USA) – 16 year old b-girl Logistx, a rising star of the Los Angeles dance scene and of San Diego’s Underground Flow, is a dancer with a refined move set beyond her years. Her command of hip hop dance styles saw her winning NBC’s programme ‘World of Dance’ in America as part of dance company The Lab in 2018. For her Breakin’ Convention debut and first UK professional appearance, Logistx brings a world première solo to the stage.
SalesPlaza Societas (Spain) – First seen dancing with the Catalan crew Iron Skulls, duo Agnes and Hector use powerful breakin’ and gestural detail to explore conflicts between two people.*
WeWolf (Germany/USA) – A kaleidoscopic duet that stretches the limbs and the possibilities of the human body through threading with iconic contortionist B-Boy Rubberlegz, who was recently seen in Sadler’s Wells production A Quiet Evening of Dance by William Forsythe, and James Gregg.
Lilian Baylis Studio acts:
Kloe Dean (UK) – Solo work Man Up blends movement, poetry and song to present a deeply personal piece on dealing with loss and suicide.
Joshua Nash & Jordan Douglas (UK) – Heads clash and limbs swing in a tense krump duet between two males confronting their masculinity.
Realitie (UK) – Spoken word and poetic veteran Realitie holds a mirror up to harsh societal issues in her hard-hitting piece.
Under 5s admitted to the Festival
All main stage performances BSL interpreted
Sadler’s Wells & Lilian Baylis Studio, EC1R 4TN
Friday 3 — Sunday 5 May
Performances: Festival 6pm (doors 4pm) / WorX 8pm
Tickets: Festival £15 — £30
WorX £25 per seat at table; £15 back row
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com