Inter­na­tion­al Fest­iv­al of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

Sadler’s Wells & Lili­an Bayl­is Stu­dio, EC1R

Fri­day 29 April — Monday 2 May 2016

High marks to Jonzi D, artist­ic dir­ect­or of the annu­al fest­iv­al, and to Sadler’s Wells for con­tinu­ing to provide a plat­form for such an aston­ish­ing spread of work on both the main stage and in the more intim­ate Lili­an Bayl­is Stu­dio” The Times

Rugged Paul

Rugged Paul

Sadler’s Wells’ crit­ic­ally acclaimed inter­na­tion­al fest­iv­al of hip hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Con­ven­tion, is back, with per­form­ances from UK and inter­na­tion­al com­pan­ies and crews. Now in its 13th year, this hugely pop­u­lar Sadler’s Wells Pro­ject is once again hos­ted and cur­ated by Asso­ci­ate Artist Jonzi D. Fol­low­ing the annu­al fest­iv­al at Sadler’s Wells over the May bank hol­i­day, Breakin’ Con­ven­tion will then tour to eight ven­ues across the UK through­out May until Wed­nes­day 1 June 2016.

Breakin’ Con­ven­tion has firmly estab­lished itself as one of the major high­lights on the Brit­ish dance cal­en­dar and one of the world’s greatest cel­eb­ra­tions of hip hop cul­ture.

Fri­day 29 April fea­tures a work in pro­gress shar­ing of Vicycle by Birdgang Dance Com­pany in the Lili­an Bayl­is Stu­dio. Revolving around the inner struggles of ambi­tion, addic­tion and grief. The piece fol­lows one man’s pur­suit of an ‘ideal’ and the com­prom­ises he is will­ing to make to reach it. In its first incarn­a­tion, the piece appeared at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion in 2013. The work will be developed as part of Breakin’ Con­ven­tion’s long-term vis­ion of sup­port­ing, com­mis­sion­ing and pro­du­cing new hip hop theatre.

The main Lon­don fest­iv­al on Sat­urday 30 April & Sunday 1 May sees Sadler’s Wells’ foy­er trans­formed with live DJs, free­style dance jams, graf­fiti exhib­i­tions, work­shops from top inter­na­tion­al artists and live aer­o­sol art. The par­ti­cip­at­ory activ­it­ies take place pre-show and dur­ing the inter­val.


Ant­oinette Gomis

The bank hol­i­day line-up includes three inter­na­tion­al acts who were high­lights of last year’s fest­iv­al includ­ing France’s Ant­oinette Gomis, who presents Images, an atmo­spher­ic solo inspired by the music of Nina Simone and Civil Rights. Antoinette’s sig­na­ture style ori­gin­ates from her back­ground as a founder mem­ber of the all-female Zamounda crew from Par­is. Spain’s award-win­ning Iron Skulls Co. presents the sur­real Sin­estesia – A dynam­ic work where these skilled dan­cers morph into post-apo­ca­lyptic sur­viv­ors.  World Cham­pi­on b‑boy crew The Ruggeds from Hol­land will per­form the high octane Adren­aline, last seen at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion in 2015.

The UK line-up also fea­tures World Street Dance Cham­pi­ons and Britain’s Got Tal­ent final­ists Flaw­less return to the Sadler’s Wells stage for the first time since their last appear­ance in 2008. They are joined by a num­ber of Lon­don-based acts, includ­ing hip hop dance crew Myself UK Dance Com­pany. Dan­cer and cho­reo­graph­er Kloe Dean formed the all-female ensemble in 2008 to pro­mote empower­ment, ambi­tion and indi­vidu­al­ity through the medi­um of hip hop dance. Kwame Asafo-Adjei returns to the fest­iv­al with his com­pany Spoken Move­ment. The group uses ele­ments of street dance and abstract cho­reo­graphy to pro­voke a gut­tur­al reac­tion. They are joined by Pro-Motion, a super­group of pop­pers fea­tur­ing mem­bers of street dance troupes Flaw­less and Plague.

Many acts in the 2016 line-up developed work as part of Breakin’ Con­ven­tion ini­ti­at­ives Open Art Sur­gery and Back To The Lab.

For the fourth year run­ning Breakin’ Con­ven­tion takes it back to the roots of hip hop on bank hol­i­day Monday 2 May with Park Jam, an out­door party suit­able for all the fam­ily in Spa Fields Park.

 UK acts in this year’s Main Stage line-up:


Boy Blue

 Boy Blue Enter­tain­ment – East Lon­don’s lead­ing street dance crew fea­tur­ing cho­reo­graphy from Ken­rick ‘H2O’ Sandy. This com­pany comes from a lin­eage of Boy Blue Enter­tain­ment youth dance devel­op­ment, and per­formed at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion last year.


Daugh­ters of the Dragon – Female duo fea­tur­ing BBC Young Dan­cer Final­ist Sharifa Tonk­mor, win­ner of New York’s ‘Ladies of Hip Hop’ com­pet­i­tion and con­test­ant on Sky 1’s Got To Dance.

 Flaw­less – The stars of Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent and the Street Dance movies return to Breakin’ Con­ven­tion for the first time since their last appear­ance in 2008. Since their rise to fame, the ten-strong dance act has per­formed at the Queen’s Dia­mond Jubilee con­cert with Kylie Minogue and appeared in music videos with Madonna, Bey­on­cé and Leona Lewis.

 The Lock­smiths – Dan­cer and cho­reo­graph­er Mr Ben presents an ensemble per­form­ance with a line up of Lon­don lock­ers. Mr Ben has pre­vi­ously trained with legendary dan­cers such as Suga Pop, Greg Camp­bel­lock Jr, Tony GoGo and Pop­in Pete.

 Myself UK Dance Com­pany – Kloe Dean’s all-female hip hop dance com­pany exam­ines female iden­tity and accept­ance with a seam­less blend of move­ment and spoken word in Red. Developed at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion’s Back To The Lab and last seen at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion in 2015.



 Pro-Motion – Pre­pare to be blown away by the UK’s super­group of power­ful pop­pers. With intric­ate illu­sions and intense tech­nic­al­ity, Pro-Motion stars dan­cers from Plague, Flaw­less, and the UK’s new­est gen­er­a­tion of pop­pers.

Pro­tocol Dance Com­pany – Formed in 2008 by cho­reo­graph­ers Jared Gar­field and Lanre Malaolu, Pro­to­col’s found­a­tion of move­ment stems from a wide range of styles such as hip hop, pop­ping and krump. The group per­forms I Can’t Breathe, an intense explor­a­tion of mod­ern day race rela­tions, developed at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion’s Back To The Lab.

 SWN­SNG – Mix­ing images of inner city grit, grime music and krump dan­cing, this is a dysto­pi­an take on Lord of the Flies by Birdgang mem­ber and Breakin’ Con­ven­tion reg­u­lar Ivan Black­stock entitled Lord of the Trap Flyz.

 Take 1 – Bring­ing hype and energy from Not­ting­ham, Take 1’s young­er all-female crew bring fierce hip hop cho­reo­graphy to the Sadler­’s Wells stage.

 Way­ward Thread – With vir­tu­oso tech­nic­al­ity, Si Rawl­in­son’s Way­ward Thread weaves intric­ate b‑boy moves with intense flow.

Inter­na­tion­al acts fea­tur­ing on the Main Stage:

Ant­oinette Gomis (France) – Ori­gin­al mem­ber of the sassy Zamounda crew Ant­oinette Gomis returns with a poignant and power­ful trib­ute to the words of a War­ing Cuney poem and the power­ful mes­sage of Nina Simone. Incor­por­at­ing waack­ing and house dance to cel­eb­rate the SHE-roes that fought for civil rights.

Ban­di­d­as (France) – All female pop­ping crew show­case their prowess and elec­tri­fy­ing abil­it­ies. The group makes their fest­iv­al debut, per­form­ing for the first time in the UK.

 BBoy­izm (Canada) – Reign­ing from Canada, B‑Boy Crazy Smooth’s crew invites the audi­ence into the world of a prac­tice jam that exem­pli­fies the found­a­tions of break­ing cul­ture at its raw­est.

 Damon Frost (USA/Sweden) – Widely cred­ited for bring­ing pop­ping found­a­tion to Europe, the ori­gin­al ‘rub­ber­man’ and legendary pop­per per­forms for the first time at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion.

 Enfants Prodiges (France) – Wit­ness the next gen­er­a­tion of France’s lead­ing hip hop dan­cers with this super­crew made up of Wanted Posse, Bad-Trip, Seri­al Step­perz and Pro-Phe­no­men dan­cers.


Iron Skulls

 Iron Skulls Co. (Spain) – Nav­ig­at­ing an apo­ca­lyptic world mer­ging b‑boy and con­tem­por­ary lan­guage. The group explores a place where humans and anim­als become one. Sin­estesia won 1st prize at Fest­iv­al HOP in Bar­celona.

Soweto Skel­et­on Movers (South Africa)– Straight from the street and on to the stage, South Africa’s pant­sula dan­cers dazzle with street per­form­ances and astound­ing tricks.

 The Ruggeds (Hol­land) – Formerly known as Rugged Solu­tion, this eight strong crew from Eind­hoven won the UK B‑Boy Cham­pi­on­ships world final last year. The Ruggeds per­form Adren­aline, last seen at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion in 2015.


 Acts in this year’s Stu­dio line-up:

 Dav­id Judge & Kendra Hors­burgh – A power­ful poetry per­form­ance duet com­bin­ing spoken word and phys­ic­al move­mentdeveloped at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion’s Word Becomes Flesh.

 Far From The Norm – A col­lect­ive of indi­vidu­als estab­lished in 2009, striv­ing to break bound­ar­ies and chal­lenge audi­ences by por­tray­ing hip hop in a dynam­ic and abstract way. Bot­is Seva’s kung-fu inspired duet will astound audi­ences with sharp wing chun move­ment and intense focus in a clas­sic mas­ter and appren­tice face off. Pre­vi­ously seen at Sadler’s Wells as part of its Wild Card sea­son.

House of Abso­lute – An ensemble of waack­ing war­ri­or queens take to the stage with the live vocals of Lula Meb­rahtu.

Kier­an Warner – A solo per­form­ance of Free­ing the Mind fus­ing hip hop dance and cyr wheel show­cas­ing both dance and cir­cus. Developed at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion’s Open Art Sur­gery.

Spoken Move­ment – Kwame Asafo-Adjei returns to the fest­iv­al with his com­pany Spoken Move­ment. The group uses ele­ments of street dance and abstract cho­reo­graphy, explor­ing the men­tal state of a girl remin­is­cing a taboo fam­ily sub­ject in Fam­ily Hon­our. The group were last seen at Breakin’ Con­ven­tion in 2014.

Per­form­ances: Fri 8pm; Sat & Sun doors open 4pm, Show 6pm

Tick­ets: Fri 29 April: £5 | Sat 30 April & Sun 1 May £15 — £24 (£17 con­ces­sions)

Tick­et Office: 020 7863 8000 or

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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.