Fri­day 28 April – Sunday 30 April, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Lili­an Bayl­is Stu­dio, Nation­al Tour May 17 to June 14.

Breakin’ Con­ven­tion returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre for an exten­ded week­end to cel­eb­rate its 20th anniversary from Fri­day 28 April to Sunday 30 April before embark­ing on a UK tour across nine ven­ues from Wed­nes­day 17 May to Wed­nes­day 14 June.

Hos­ted and cur­ated by UK hip hop theatre legend and Breakin’ Con­ven­tion Artist­ic Dir­ect­or Jonzi D, Breakin’ Con­ven­tion 2023 show­cases the best of hip hop with top pop­pers, lock­ers, b‑boys and b‑girls plus as always a wide range of excit­ing inter­na­tion­al acts. As always there will be a Park Jam out­doors on Monday May 1.

 The foy­er under­goes a total makeover, with per­form­ances from live DJs, bespoke graf­fiti and free­style ses­sions, in an ulti­mate cel­eb­ra­tion of hip hop cul­ture.

Breakin’ Con­ven­tion is excited to announce the first inter­na­tion­al and UK head­line acts of the 2023 Fest­iv­al. More inter­na­tion­al and loc­al acts are to be announced.

Hail­ing from across The Neth­er­lands, Ghetto Funk Col­lect­ive is a dance com­pany spe­cial­ising in lock­ing. The group formed through their mutu­al love for funk and 1970s cul­ture. Eight per­formers show­case their excep­tion­al dance moves.

Brazili­an b‑boy Samuka is a mem­ber of Ill-Abil­it­ies, an inter­na­tion­al break­dan­cing crew com­prised of eight dis­abled dan­cers from around the world. Rather than see­ing dis­ab­il­ity as a lim­it­a­tion, the crew focuses on their pos­it­ive or “ill” abil­it­ies, show­cas­ing their indi­vidu­al tal­ents. Samuka had a leg ampu­ta­tion at 14 and since has grown to become a top inter­na­tion­al break­er.

La Diva aux Pieds Nus is a French dance col­lect­ive made up of five Black women — Séréna Freira, Julie Laven­ture, Leila Miretti, Stéph­ie Téhoué and Mayvis Wil­li­am. The group per­forms ‘Le Mat­in’, a piece by top cho­reo­graph­er and dan­cer Nic­olas Huchard, who has worked with Christine & The Queens and Madonna. The col­lect­ive util­ises waack­ing, krump, pop­ping, hip hop, house and Afro moves to cel­eb­rate women’s indi­vidu­al­ity and plur­al­it­ies.

UK dance com­pany Far From The Norm, led by Olivi­er award-win­ning cho­reo­graph­er Bot­is Seva, cre­ate social and polit­ic­al work though hip hop theatre and exper­i­ment­al move­ment. The com­pany returns to the fest­iv­al with a piece packed with rel­ev­ant mes­sages and high energy moves.

Dutch thread­ing artist Justin de Jäger presents a new piece for three UK dan­cers. Start­ing as a break­er, de Jäger has been fas­cin­ated by ‘thread­ing’ in hip hop, where a dan­cer cre­ates an open­ing by con­nect­ing sev­er­al body parts then passing through that open­ing with yet anoth­er body part. He keeps push­ing the concept’s lim­its to devel­op his own ideas in award-win­ning pro­duc­tions.

Join­ing the list of ground­break­ing acts tak­ing part in the 2023 cel­eb­ra­tions is Boy Blue, east Lon­don’s lead­ing street dance com­pany and the multi award-win­ning brainchild of com­poser Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante MBE and cho­reo­graph­er Ken­rick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE.

Breakin’ Con­ven­tion Artist­ic Dir­ect­or Jonzi D said: “20 years strong! We star­ted big. We presen­ted pion­eer­ing og’s from the US, break­ing cham­pi­ons from Korea, and vis­ion­ar­ies from France. We graf­fit­ied the mezzan­ine. We trans­formed the audi­ence at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. We didn’t stop. We grew. “20 years later, we’ve become the most glob­ally recog­nised brand in hip hop dance theatre. Our artist­ic devel­op­ment pro­grammes have nur­tured hun­dreds of artists, and I’m proud to say that next year we will wel­come the first cohort into our Hip Hop Theatre Academy in the new Sadler’s Wells East build­ing.

For the first time, the fest­iv­al spreads its wings to show­case artists in sev­er­al Lon­don ven­ues lead­ing up to our bank hol­i­day cel­eb­ra­tions at Sadler’s Wells, provid­ing more oppor­tun­it­ies to engage with poetry, and text based per­form­ance. We will also spread the flava across the UK with our nation­al tour! We’ll present world class crews from the Neth­er­lands and Korea, and loc­al dance crews from Brighton to Black­pool.

20 years has flown by. Because our val­ues have remained intact. Our goals are clear. The concept is the same as it ever was… ‘The best hip hop theatre from around the world, and around the corner.’”

Reflect­ing on the Fest­iv­al anniversary, Sadler’s Wells Artist­ic Dir­ect­or and Chief Exec­ut­ive, Sir Alistair Spald­ing, said: “Sadler’s Wells is so proud of what Breakin’ Con­ven­tion has achieved over the past 20 years. It has grown to be an import­ant ref­er­ence point and show­case for tal­ent today, con­sist­ently keep­ing a fin­ger on the pulse of the dance world to present rel­ev­ant acts that need to be seen. It’s a big anniversary, and we are so excited to be open­ing the Hip Hop Academy Theatre in Strat­ford in 2024.”

The Festival’s Artist­ic Dir­ect­or Jonzi D is due to open Breakin’ Con­ven­tion Hip Hop Theatre Academy in Strat­ford in 2024 as part of Sadler’s Wells East, a new cul­tur­al hub in east Lon­don.

In 2024, break­ing will be per­formed as an offi­cial Olympic sport for the first time at the Par­is Games. Jonzi D is Break­ing GB’s Cul­ture and Com­munity Adviser.

For the first time, Breakin’ Con­ven­tion presents per­form­ances by its own newly formed Youth Dance Com­pany. The group counts young dan­cers aged 10 to 21. They are trained by cho­reo­graph­ers Nicey Bel­grave and Kel­sey ‘Hydro’ Miller of award-win­ning hip hop dance com­pany Boy Blue, and who also cre­ated EAST­ab­lish­ment in 2022.

For the first time, a series of events take place across Lon­don ven­ues in the lead up to the Breakin’ Con­ven­tion shows at Sadler’s Wells. The lead­ing events will take place at:

The Yard
Sat­urday 11 March
Breakin’ Con­ven­tion presents Words Become Flesh
The Fest­iv­al breaks new ground in east Lon­don by bring­ing togeth­er spoken word artists and cho­reo­graph­ers for fresh col­lab­or­a­tions and “choreo­po­etry” work – a mar­riage of spoken word and lyr­ic­ally motiv­ated move­ment.
Address: Unit 2a, Queen’s Yard White Post Lane Lon­don E9 5EN

The Place Theatre
Wed­nes­day 12 & Thursday 13 April
The Soweto Skel­et­on Movers presents ‘Unbreak­able’, pro­duced and co-cho­reo­graphed by Lloyd’s Com­pany and dir­ec­ted by Jonzi D. From busk­ing on Soweto’s Vil­akazi Street to tour­ing the world, the South Afric­an crew show­cases comed­ic con­tor­tion­ism, fren­et­ic foot­work and magic­al hat tricks.
Address: 17 Duke’s Road, Lon­don, WC1H 9PY

The Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Sat­urday 15 April
Breakin’ Con­ven­tion presents Open Art Sur­gery
This artist­ic devel­op­ment pro­ject is about break­ing down the fourth wall and show­cas­ing raw tal­ent and new work. Hip hop theatre com­pan­ies and per­formers devel­op ideas, try out new tech­niques and share new work pub­licly under the ment­or­ship of hip hop theatre legends like Jonzi D.
Address: Town Hall Approach Road, Tot­ten­ham Green, Lon­don, N15 4RX

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.