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Press Release: Breakin' Convention, the festival of hip hop dance theatre returns to Sadler’s Wells this Early May Bank Holiday


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BREAKIN’ CONVENTION ’18
International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre 
Saturday 5 - Monday 7 May
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R
Performances: 6pm, doors 4pm  
Tickets: Standing: £15, Seats: £24 (£17 concessions)
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

Breakin’ Convention, the renowned Sadler’s Wells project celebrates a landmark 15 Years this May Bank Holiday. To honour this auspicious anniversary Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director, UK hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D has created an extended programme looking back over the festival’s achievements, as well as looking forward to the future and possibilities of hip hop dance and culture.

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The festival of hip hop dance theatre takes over the whole of Sadler’s Wells, including the Lilian Baylis Studio, from Saturday 5 - Monday 7 May. Renowned for showcasing high calibre and diverse representations of hip hop dance theatre from across the globe, Breakin’ Convention 2018 takes this even further via an innovative collaboration. 

As well as world class dance crews and soloists, the 2018 programme features live music via Jazz re:freshed, the prestigious live jazz organisation, also celebrating its 15th anniversary. An ensemble of 15 leading jazz musicians provide original soundscapes to accompany five newly commissioned works from dancers to mark both festivals’ illustrious histories. The line-up includes Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment and The Locksmiths from London, Netherlands-based b-boy crew The Ruggeds, French hip hop freestyle dancer Mufasa and even Jonzi D himself, premiering new work to a score composed by Jazz re:freshed’s Musical Director Jason Yarde. Thispartnership follows on from the success of the 2017 festival, which saw Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed present an evening of live jazz, dance theatre and poetry in the Lilian Baylis Studio, to launch the weekend’s events. 

Jonzi D says: “15 years in the game but it still feels so fresh! Every collaboration, every commission, every new project opens up new avenues of expression for hip hop culture. This natural synergy with Jazz:Refreshed will take our theatrical practice to another level.”

Jazz re:freshed’s Musical Director Jason Yarde says: It’s quite amazing that from a conversation I had with Jonzi last year such an immense pool of talent can come together and create and celebrate. 15 musicians representing 15 years of both Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed makes quite a statement before we’ve even played a note but of course when musicians combine forces with dancers there is potential for real magic and it’s great we get to explore this. This collaboration is not only an opportunity to develop the relationship between Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed, established last year, but sow new seeds in the fundamental long continuum of dance and live music.”

During the festival, Sadler’s Wells’ foyer will once again be transformed so that audiences can enjoy dance workshops, live graffiti, award-winning hip hop DJs, MCs and impromptu dance circles spilling out all over the building, creating an unforgettable and inclusive experience for all ages. 

Once again this year’s festival is hosted and curated by Jonzi D and co-hosted with BSL interpreter, Jacqui Beckford. 

Full performance line-up to be announced. Check www.breakinconvention.com for updates. 

The festival 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, and continues to tour internationally in its 15th year.

Breakin’ Convention goes beyond presenting work on the stage and continues in its ambition to support and inspire the next generation of hip hop artists with learning and engagement projects and professional development platforms both in the UK and internationally. 2018 sees many projects, including, Back to the Lab, a two week intensive training and mentorship programme which concludes with a performance and audience feedback. Open Art Surgery, an evening that offers hip hop theatre performers and companies the opportunity to develop and experiment with new ideas and receive mentorship from Jonzi D and other hip hop theatre aficionados in front of an audience. Future Elements, a week long project for aged 13-16 year olds to create a music video, which will be presented at the festival. This January also saw the start of Starting From Scratch, a four month hip hop youth theatre project working with 13-21 year olds that will culminate in a performance in the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells during the festival.

Breakin' Convention is a Sadler's Wells Project

Jonzi D is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist 

Under 5s admitted 

All main stage performances BSL interpreted

Listings information: 

BREAKIN’ CONVENTION ’18
International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre 
Sadler’s Wells EC1R
Saturday 5 - Monday 7 May
Performances: Saturday - Monday at 6pm, doors 4pm  
Tickets: Standing: £15, Seats: £24 (£17 concessions)
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

Notes to editors:

ABOUT BREAKIN’ CONVENTION 
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 positions 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. 

ABOUT JONZI D
Jonzi D is the foremost advocate for hip hop theatre, changing the profile and heavily influencing the development of the British hip hop dance and theatre scene for over two decades. He’s an MC, dancer, spoken word artist and an established performer in his own right.

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.  

Since founding Breakin’ Convention in 2004 Jonzi has triumphed in raising the profile and giving a platform to hip hop disciplines, which has gained worldwide recognition as being at the vanguard of the development of the art form. Through professional development projects Open Art Surgery and Back to the Lab, Jonzi has supported hundreds of hip hop dance and rap/poetry artists on their journey to creating theatre.

His critically acclaimed works include 1995‘s Lyrikal Fearta, 1999’s Aeroplane Man, 2006’s TAG… Just Writing My Name, 2009’s Markus the Sadist and 2013’s The Letter: To Be, Or To MBE. Jonzi has been featured in HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, had his short films Silence da Bitchin’ & Aeroplane Man screened on Channel 4, toured his work extensively all over the world and delivered his own TED talk about the influence and evolution of hip hop culture.

ABOUT SADLER’S WELLS 
Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, its goal is to motivate everyone to experience dance – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired. Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at partner venues across the UK and around the world, or accessing its content through digital channels. 

Sadler’s Wells commissions and presents more new dance work than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 140 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through its artist development initiatives, and reaches over 25,000 annually through its learning and engagement programmes.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by entrepreneur 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 having all started at Sadler’s Wells. Sadler’s Wells is a charity and a National Portfolio Organisation, currently receiving 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by entrepreneur 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 having all started at Sadler’s Wells. Sadler’s Wells is a charity and a National Portfolio Organisation, currently receiving 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England.

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