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International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

Sadler’s Wells & Lilian Baylis Studio, EC1R

Saturday 29 April - Monday 1 May 2017

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

Tickets: £15 - £24 (£17 concessions)

Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000

You see a poster at the train station, a flyer on a seat, a banner on the wall of your local newsagent, and you think, this year I'll check it out. If you already have, you'll know why you need to go back, and if you haven't, this year is the year to do it!

One of the biggest events in the UK hip-hop calendar comes to Sadler's Wells from Saturday 29th April to Monday 1st May 2017.

There's nothing quite like Breakin' Convention. You have to see it to feel it. The energy is always electric, there's a shared understanding of turning up to be in the presence of what hip-hop is really about and it is written on the expression of everyones faces.

As always Jonzi-D will be on hand to offer the commentary and stories behind the festival now in it's 14th year. Take a look below to see how the conventions of hip-hop are being spotlighted through the chosen acts:

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

Boy Blue Entertainment – Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy’s next generation of dancers will showcase why Boy Blue Entertainment is consistently one of London’s leading dance companies. Accompanied to a thumping set from Boy Blue co-founder Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. Their work Blak, Whyte and Gray was recently nominated for Best New Dance Production in the 2017 Olivier Awards.

Dani & Sia – Black Love Matters in this sensual duet between Dani and Sia. This couple have previously performed at Breakin’ Convention with a variety of different companies, including Avant Garde, #PPL, and Josephine ‘Realitie’ Rollings.

Emma Houston – Choreographer Emma Houston seamlessly brings together breaking and vogue dancing in a unique celebration of progressive gender politics. Developed at Open Art Surgery, Breakin’ Convention’s professional development course for hip hop artists.

Freefly Crew – Blackpool’s finest b-boy crew performs at Breakin’ Convention London for the first time. Freefly Crew’s crazy slapstick approach makes them stand out in the hip hop theatre scene. Also performing at Breakin’ Convention at Blackpool.

Natalie James – Natalie James, a regular performer at Breakin’ Convention, brings her aerial skills to our mainstage for the first time.

Old Men Grooving – Finalists on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, Old Men Grooving consist of some of the UK’s funkiest old skool poppers and lockers. The Locksmiths – After opening the festival with a bang last year, the UK’s top locking crew return with a visionary piece by choreographer Ben Ajose-Cutting, aka Mr Ben. Unlock The Funk explores how to free ourselves from the restrictions that block our soul.

The Rebirth Network – Choreographer Daniel 7, with a committed ensemble of street dancers, present a hard-hitting piece of protest dance theatre influenced by images of a world in conflict. Theo ‘Godson’ Oloyade – Witness the explosive movement krump in this group performance choreographed by Boy Blue Entertainment’s Theo ‘Godson’ Oloyade. As seen on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

XXV (UK) – A passionate piece filled with shadows and urgent movement choreographed by L’Atisse Rhoden in memory of Hannah Defoe, celebrating her life in what would have been her 25th year.

International acts in this year’s Sadler’s Wells Stage line-up:

Cheerito (Russia) – Straight out of the Siberian underground comes B-Boy Cheerito, Idiosyncratic, surprising, with a funny freakish flexibility. Balance is the first theatrical solo by this unique dancer, with dramaturgy by Drosha Grekhov. The work receives its world premiere at Breakin’ Convention 2017. Cheerito is a major force on the b-boy battle scene winning many international titles.

DC Vortex (France) – Based in Paris, DC Vortex is a versatile collective adept in a variety of styles including house dance, popping and breaking. Choreographed by house dance legend Yugson of Wanted Posse fame, INSTINCTis performed to an original music score made up of drum solos, beatbox and sampled sounds.

Geni Lou & Pax (Canada) – Out of the darkness emerges a mesmerising popping duet from Montreal, addressing the erasure of women in history. Developed at Back to the Lab, Breakin’ Convention’s two-week professional development intensive for hip hop choreographers.

Hungry Sharks (Austria) – #FOMO explores our incessant desire to be connected via social media, while detaching ourselves from the real world. Hungry Sharks consist of b-boys from all over the Austrian battle scene.

Just Dance (South Korea) – B-Boy Ducky leads this squad of b-boys from Korea’s most infamous crews, known for winning world titles over the last 15 years. The 7 Human Emotions features live drumming and traditional Korean masks in a presentation of ancient culture with a hip hop remix. Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa) – From the most notorious township on the African continent comes the Soweto Skeleton Movers. The audience highlight of Breakin’ Convention 2016 returns with a brand new performance. Experts in a particular form of pantsula dance developed by Skeleton Mover pioneer Jabulani, the crew use comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork, and magical hat tricks.

Tentacle Tribe (Canada) – Having previously performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina last year, conceptual hip hop group Tentacle Tribe bring two performances to the stage for 2017. Nobody Likes A Pixelated Squid is a fusion of contemporary and breakdance with luxurious movement phrases. Three women shape and reshape the space around them with intimate, interconnected movement gestures in their second work Oragami Mami.

Acts in this year’s Lilian Baylis Studio line-up: Tom Tsai (USA) – After successfully wowing audiences at Breakin’ Convention in 2014 with his incredible ability to combine spoken word with virtuoso power moves Tom Tsai performs A Calm Place At Sea. A sensitively constructed piece, showcasing his proficient b-boy technique and clever wordplay, with a disarming twist in the tale. Chey Jurado (Spain) – Chey performs Agua, a sensitive piece filled with gestural droplets that develop into a waterfall of b-boy fluidity. This talented mover won the solo section of Festival HOP in Barcelona 2016. A Breakin’ Convention premiere. Sample Culture (Netherlands) – Known for his hyperflexible style of b-boying with his crew, Roy of The Ruggeds appears in Boredom 2.0, an apathetic duet set to a jazz soundtrack. Wayward Thread (UK) – Si Rawlinson bravely questions history’s attitude to civil rights, exploring the discussion about racism, as a ‘white’ man? Featuring a mix of breaking and verbatim spoken word. Developed at Back to the Lab, Breakin’ Convention’s professional development intensive for hip hop choreographers, Si previously performed at Breakin’ Convention in 2016.

A Sadler’s Wells Production

Following performances at Sadler’s Wells, Breakin’ Convention tours to Edinburgh, Nottingham, Norwich, Southampton, Salford, Leicester, Blackpool, Brighton and Birmingham. The UK tour offers local dance companies the opportunity to perform alongside international acts.

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