Now that Ashley Banjo’s teaching middle-aged brass band members how to strut like a diva on Sunday evening telly, it’s hard to imagine that when Jonzi D put on the first Breakin’ Convention in 2004, it was groundbreaking — the first festival of its kind in the UK and something totally radical for Sadler’s Wells to give itself over to.
In its tenth anniversary year, Breakin’ Convention is the biggest festival of hip hop dance theatre in the world and the world’s top crews and companies will be coming to the ‘Wells to take part in this full-on, four-day feast of a fest.
With only five sleeps to go, here are some of the highlights:
The weekend begins sitting down with film night in the Lilian Baylis Studios on Friday 3 May. Tickets are just £5 for a line up packed with world premieres courtesy of hip hop dance channel YAK.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, all floors of Sadler’s Wells will have something going on from 4pm (5pm Monday). There’ll be DJs, graffiti, drop in dance training, freestyle rap and improvised funk to choose from before the main stage performances and during the interval. There are even Tiny Totrock Sessions for the littlest groovers.
Want to learn from a dance hero? There are dance workshops taking place each day, covering hip hop, breaking, dancehall, popping, boogaloo, bone breaking (!), tutting, strutting and locking. They cost £10 each and you must book.
Main stage performances take place at 6pm and 8.30pm with mixed bills of top international talent on Saturday and Sunday. For the tenth anniversary, Monday is dedicated to UK acts and even we’ve heard of some of the names: Unity (Got to Dance finalists 2012), ZooNation (Some Like It Hip Hop) and Boy Blue Entertainment (Olympic Opening Ceremony choreography). Whichever day you go, the world-class crews will have you bouncing out of your seat (or jumping around if you bought the Proms ticket).
Finally, a chance to channel all the excitement into party time on the dancefloor with the Breakin’ Convention After Party. Expect to see some serious moves and grooves at Islington Academy. Free entry to ticket holders, or £5 advance, £7 on the door.
Breakin’ Convention runs from Friday 3 to Monday 6 May at Sadler’s Wells. Day tickets are £20 seated, £15 standing/proms. Tickets get you access to all events on your day except dance workshops, which are £10 each and must be booked separately. Visit breakingconvention.com for more information.
Watch the trailer: