Saturday, 29 April 2017


International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre 
Sadler’s Wells & National Tour
April - June 2017

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 14th year, this hugely popular Sadler’s Wells Production is once again hosted and curated by Associate Artist Jonzi D. 

Following the annual festival at Sadler’s Wells over the May bank holiday (Saturday 29 April - Monday 1 May), Breakin’ Convention will then tour for a second consecutive year, to nine venues across the UK throughout May until early June 2017.  

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.

The London festival from Saturday 29 April - Monday 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. 

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.  

The tour line-up includes Soweto Skeleton Movers, a highlight of last year’s festival. Mixing comedic contortionism with the Pantsula dance style native to the townships of South Africa and performing to Kwaito music, a form of Afro house and the soundtrack of the liberation struggle, the group returns by popular demand to present a brand new work titled Seven 7

Joining them on tour is Canadian group Tentacle Tribe. Founded in 2012, the Montreal-based dance company creates uncommon dance works with a contemporary twist using conceptual hip hop and influences from all types of earthly creatures. The duo’s work experiments with intricate partnering, refined musicality and physical choreography. Tentacle Tribe recently performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Completing the international line up are Just Dance from South Korea. Under the artistic direction of B-boy Ducky of the Drifterz Crew, Just Dance presents an updated vision of Korean shamanistic mask performance. Live Korean drumming accompanies a crew of poppers and B-boys, with many with world titles to their name. Earlier in 2016 the group performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The London dates   mark their Breakin’ Convention UK premiere. 

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D is the founder and Artistic Director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin’ Convention. A dancer, spoken word artist and director, he is an advocate for hip hop and has changed the profile and influenced the development of the UK British hip hop dance and theatre scene over the last two decades. Jonzi D is a graduate from the London Contemporary Dance School and a former Associate Artist at The Place. He has toured his own work internationally and is regularly invited to judge international dance competitions. 

Jonzi D devised and directed TAG... Just Writing My Name in 2006, IVAN in 2006 and Markus the Sadist, a rap theatre piece in 2009. All pieces successfully toured the UK to critical acclaim. He has also devised, choreographed and featured in various hip hop inspired fashion shows.

In 2013 he wrote and toured The Letter, a piece about the responses to receiving a nomination for an MBE in 2011, and Broken Lineage in collaboration with Ivan Blackstock. 

Jonzi D performed The Letter at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe and also featured on TedEX Warwick and spoke at the European Commission forum on creativity and diversity. Jonzi D performed at Breakin’ Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier in 2016.

Full Breakin’ Convention line-up to be announced Spring 2017. Check for updates. 

Breakin’ Convention ’17 embarks on its eighth National tour in 2017, taking in nine venues across the UK. Venues include newcomers Norwich Theatre Royal, Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, Leicester Curve and Birmingham Rep. This has been made possible following a grant from Arts Council England. 

Breakin’ Convention 2017 National Tour dates

Friday 5 & Saturday 6 May         Edinburgh Festival Theatre Royal 
Tuesday 9 & Wednesday 10 May

Concert Hall, Nottingham 

Saturday 13 May Norwich Theatre Royal 
Tuesday 16 & Wednesday 17 May Southampton Mayflower 
Friday 19 & Saturday 20 May The Lowry, Salford Quays 
Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 May Leicester Curve 
Saturday 27 May Grand Theatre Blackpool 
Tuesday 30 May Brighton Dome
Friday 2 & Saturday 3 June Birmingham Rep 

Breakin’ Convention is committed to celebrating, elevating and supporting hip hop dance theatre. Spearheaded by Jonzi D, the company works with the most respected, innovative and inspirational hip hop artists in the industry. Through its eponymous world-renowned annual international festival, professional development, youth projects and educational programme, Breakin’ Convention seeks to position hip hop dance alongside more historically established artforms. Breakin’ Convention is a Sadler’s Wells Project and Jonzi D, an Associate Artist, is based at the theatre. 

Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the Artistic Directorship of Alistair Spalding, the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap. 

Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 100 new dance works to the stage and its award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour internationally. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies, an Associate Company and two International Associate Companies. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through its New Wave Associates and Summer University programmes, its Wild Card initiative and hosting of the National Youth Dance Company.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera all having started at Sadler’s Wells. 

Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 

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