Breakin’ Convention, the influential festival of hip hop dance theatre, returns to its Sadler’s Wells home for its 17th anniversary on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 May 2020, before embarking on a national tour until Saturday 6 June.
An unmissable date in the annual hip hop calendar, Breakin’ Convention features unparalleled line-ups of both local and international hip hop performances, curated by UK hip hop theatre legend, Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist and Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director, Jonzi D.
Beyond the stage, Sadler’s Wells is transformed to feature dance workshops, graffiti, DJs and freestyle sessions spilling out all over the building.
Showcasing local talent alongside global sensations, international artists on the line-up so far include South Korea’s gravity-defying Jinjo Crew. Made up of some of the world’s greatest b-boys, the crew is the first to achieve Grand Slam status after five major international wins. The programme also includes kaleidoscopic magic from French hip hop company Géométrie Variable, who explore the popping technique of tutting with a style resembling the inner mechanics of a timepiece.
UK-based acts include Spoken Movement, led by Artistic Director Kwame Asafo-Adjei, following a performance of Family Honour at Dance Élargie: Dance Expanded at Sadler’s Wells in October 2019. In 2018, the piece won first prize at Dance Élargie in Paris, following wins at the Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition (RIDCC) and the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition earlier this year.
In May 2019, Sadler’s Wells was awarded £630,660 as part of the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. Using this funding, Sadler’s Wells’ Breakin’ Convention team continues to build on the learnings and legacy of 16 years of successful hip hop theatre development with an ambitious new programme, Breakin’ Out.
Breakin’ Out encompasses three distinct and connected strands, one of which is Grass Routes partnerships, supporting the practice of hip hop artists engaged with their local communities through collaboration with national organisations, providing training, masterclasses and mentorship. Two further strands comprise artist development, including Breakin’ Convention’s Open Art Surgery professional development project, and performances as part of the programme’s national tour.
Following the festival at Sadler’s Wells, Breakin’ Convention tours the UK, taking in venues from Plymouth to South Shields (see full dates and locations below). The festival has previously toured globally; in 2017 alone, it presented a total of 32 shows in 16 cities, visiting venues including the Harlem Apollo and The Sony Centre, Toronto.
From 8 - 11 July 2020, Breakin’ Convention Presents - the programme’s full-length performance platform for the most innovative hip hop artists working today - makes its first visit to Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue, The Peacock, with b-boy company The Ruggeds’ Between Us.
All main stage performances BSL interpreted
A Sadler’s Wells Production
Jonzi D is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist
Press nights: Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 May, 6pm (doors at 4pm)
Sat 02-May 6pm LONDON Sadler's Wells
Sun 03-May 6pm LONDON Sadler's Wells
Wed 06-May 7.30pm DONCASTER Cast
Sat 09-May 7.30pm POOLE Lighthouse
Tue 12-May 7.30pm PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal
Wed 13-May 7.30pm PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal
Sat 16-May 7.30pm BLACKPOOL Grand
Tue 19-May 7.30pm SOUTH SHEILDS Customs House
Fri 22-May 7.30pm NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Sat 23-May 7.30pm NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Wed 27-May 2.30pm / 7.30pm BRIGHTON Dome
Fri 29-May 7.30pm NORWICH Theatre Royal
Sat 30-May 7.30pm NORWICH Theatre Royal
Tue 02-Jun 7.30pm BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre
Wed 03-Jun 7.30pm BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre
Sat 06-Jun 2.30pm / 7.30pm CANTERBURY Marlowe Theatre