Review: Breakin’ Convention Festival (@BConvention) Takes Over!

Breakin’ Con­ven­tion Fest­iv­al simply takes over Sadlers Wells over Bank Hol­i­day weekend!

Sadler­’s Wells saw the 3 day glob­al takeover of Hip Hop dance theatre fest­iv­al (that’s right folks theatre has a new cat­egory) Breakin’ Con­ven­tion. The fest­iv­al has been a part of defin­ing a new genre of theatre which has seen an increase of emer­ging tal­ent and it did not fail to deliv­er on it’s 3year anniversary.

I made a vis­it on Sat­urday 3rd May and was wel­comed to break­ers and beat box­ers per­form­ing in every nook and cranny of the build­ing. With an impress­ive inter­na­tion­al pres­ence the main event of the day was rightly hos­ted by founder and cre­at­or of Breakin Con­ven­tion Jonzi D.

The main stage saw per­form­ances from Defin­it­ives (UK), Spoken Move­ment (UK), IN-SI-DE the cirque (Czech Repub­lic), Tenticle Tribe (Canada) and ILL-Abil­it­ies (Inter­na­tion­al).

Check out this video from UK based dance crew Definitives.


With each piece last­ing between 10 – 15 minutes the atmo­sphere and ten­sion was intens­i­fied with bursts of tal­ent, skill and concept. Some­thing which Hip Hop dance has anti­cip­ated since it’s qual­ity of aes­thet­ic­ally pleas­ing movement.

Dan­cers with gym­nast­ic type stand­ards are now tak­ing to the stage to present us with extremely clean lines and syn­chron­icity as well as exper­i­ment­ing with diverse themes and import­ant social issues. But without verbal com­mu­nic­a­tion, cho­reo­graph­ers relied on music and emotive responses to por­tray mean­ing. This very occa­sion­ally became frus­trat­ing as it was dif­fi­cult to decipher mean­ings and meta­phors which makes phys­ic­al theatre, con­tem­por­ary dance and Hip Hop Theatre hard to appre­ci­ate for any­thing oth­er than its aesthetic.

We all cheer at the tricks and amaz­ing lifts but is there more to it that that? I quickly learnt that music plays an import­ant role in the plot and jour­ney of these char­ac­ter­ised dan­cers. Spoken Move­ment how­ever left the music to one side set up the cho­reo­graphy to its own mes­mer­ising mord­ant dia­logue. Glimpses of Step-Dan­cing, Afric­an Tri­bal themes, Capoeira and even Crump­ing saw an abrupt expres­sion of emotive com­bat­ive ten­sion with­in this piece.

Spoken Move­ment Photo by Belinda Lawley

Clean lines and effort­less lifts infused with con­tem­por­ary break­ing and moments of ten­der­ness between the duo of Tenticle Tribe, for example, eli­cited such audi­ence cap­tiv­at­ing engage­ment. Where­as ILL-Abil­it­ies cap­tured hearts and minds through open dia­logue and dance on screen about their per­son­al journeys.

So for­tu­nately for us rook­ies, Hip Hop theatre presents itself in many dif­fer­ent forms and styles allow­ing cho­reo­graph­ers to exper­i­ment with not just vari­ous ele­ments of Hip Hop but it also draws inspir­a­tion from street artists, lyr­i­cists, music, poetry, Shakespeare (the list goes on) in an intel­lec­tu­al and cre­at­ive way.

One determ­ined truth, which all these pieces shared, was the rel­ev­ance and social com­ment­ary on the con­tem­por­ary world. Breakin’ Con­ven­tion helped Hip Hop theatre’s evol­u­tion­ary jour­ney, as it begins to make its plan to stay. The Breakin’ Con­ven­tion tour con­tin­ues! For more details vis­it:



Subika Anwar_Headshot 1

Writ­ten by Subika Anwar

Vis­it her blog ‘Nothingness…Everywhere’

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About Subika Anwar

Playwright & Actor. Brand new website. Take a look to find out more about me

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