For years, the U.K.’s Breakin’ Convention has celebrated the traditions and evolution of hip hop’s dance element with an annual showcase orchestrated by British hip hop pioneer Jonzi D. For the first time, 2013 saw Breakin’ Convention hit the United States, with an outstanding display of talent, theater and thumping tracks at the world famous Apollo Theater. The official press recap is below, but as we can attest from viewing part of the three-day event, the level of performance on display was among the more acrobatic, athletic and artistic we’ve ever seen.
For more information on Breakin’ Convention, visit www.BreakinConvention.com or follow @BConvention on Twitter.
It was a hip hop dance take over this past weekend at the legendary Apollo Theater, who partnered with Sadler’s Wells, the UK’s leading dance house, to present the U.S. premiere of Breakin’ Convention, an international Hip Hop dance theater festival. Originally conceived in London, this year also marked the 10-year anniversary of the festival which brought Hip Hop dance back to its roots in NYC featuring 100 international dance artists and Apollo’s first global festival on their legendary stage. The festival’s Mainstage performances were emceed by Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, Jonzi D., who brought individual dance artists, dance companies and emerging artists from across the globe to the stage as well as U.S. and local dance crews along with Hip Hop legend, MC Lyte.
Every evening of the festival kicked off with energetic dance performances by Bronx based public performance group Dancing In The Streets. The performances revitalized 125th street as crowds of onlookers experienced the talented choreography of Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie and Valerie Ms. Vee Ho with DJ Boogie Blind spinning live beats, while PART ONE and SHAME created large scale graffiti masterpieces in the background.
Additionally, performances, workshops and panel discussions led by pioneers in the Hip Hop dance field took place on the Apollo’s Mainstage and Soundstage. The audience was wowed by all of the performing crews that incorporated their own unique expressions of hip hop dance elements with hints of ballet, modern, and theatrical traits. Storyboard P glided across the stage as if he were on water; Project Soul Collective from South Korea brought back the old school bboy style infinitely spinning from the tops of their heads to their fingertips; Next Level Squad brought their unique technique of “bone breaking” which they developed, rotating their shoulders in 360 degree motions; and Jonzi D. did a piece which incorporated different dance cultures from around the globe. Every crew and performance had the audience in a standing ovation as they looked on in amazement at each artist.
“The Apollo has always been about introducing Harlem and New York to current trends and to ‘what’s next,’ so we are pleased to have partnered with Sadler’s Wells to bring the world’s foremost dance artists to New York, the birthplace of Hip Hop culture.” said Mikki Shepard, the Apollo’s executive producer. “Particularly, as this is the 40th Anniversary of Hip Hop, it was so important for us to convey through dance how this art form has evolved into a global phenomenon. As the Apollo’s first global festival, Breakin’ Convention is the perfect introduction to the Apollo’s new artistic direction.”
Confirmed artists include: Jonzi D, Storyboard P (Brooklyn/US), the duo Company Sébastien Ramirez (German/France), ensemble Boy Blue (UK), Rennie Harris Puremovement (Philadelphia/US), Decadance (NYC/US), FootworKINGz (Chicago/US), Next Level Squad (NYC/US), soloists Frank Ejara (Brazil) and Jane Sekonya (South Africa/UK), the world’s best b-boys from Korea, Project Soul Collective, with local favorites: Beast Coast, Ephrat Asherie Dance, Dynamic Rockers, In Da Clutch Dance Crew, and The Wondertwins.