The idea of a Hip Hop dance theatre festival was born when Jonzi D, now Artistic Director of the festival, made the suggestion to Alistair Spalding when he was Head of Dance and Performance at London’s South Bank Centre. Jonzi D has been making Hip Hop Theatre since the nineties, using the music and dance techniques of Hip Hop culture and presenting these on the proscenium arch stage.
In 1995 Jonzi D experienced a wider Hip Hop theatre community during an international tour with Lyrical Fearta and was inspired by work presented at festivals all over the world. It became clear that there were other artists creating work for a new generation of theatre audiences and this led Jonzi D to the idea of an international Hip Hop dance theatre festival.
In Spring 2004 the idea became a reality and Alistair Spalding, now Artistic Director at London’s Breakin-Convention-2 Sadler’s Wells programmed the first Breakin Convention Hip Hip festival.
It was important that the event related to the Hip Hop community, as well as stimulating the interest of the existing dance audience. The whole experience of attending the festival was important and the idea was to create an atmosphere that was in keeping with Hip Hop as a culture. The theatre is decorated with graffiti art, DJ’s playing breakbeats, rice ‘n’ peas with Jerk chicken at the bar, and local, non-professional companies sharing the stage with world renowned pioneering acts like The Electric Boogaloos.
Breakin-Convention-3In its first three years the festival proved to be a huge success and attracted audiences ranging from 3 year olds to 83 year olds and performing groups from Camden to Korea.
Now in it’s 4th year, Breakin’ Convention is touring the UK, presented by the Dance Consortium, with local groups performing at each venue alongside the renowned Electric Boogaloos, Franck II Louise and Frank Ejara.
The Electric Boogaloos are the group responsible for the creation of the dance styles known worldwide as popping and boogaloo style. In the mid 70’s Boogaloo Sam created a set of movements, evolving each into their own style. He then taught these to the members of his group – The Electric Boogaloos.
Three decades later, the EB’s are still active, performing in shows, teaching around the world and spreading knowledge of their own and other dance styles that were created during the funk movement in the west coast.
Franck II Louise: this cutting-edge company push the boundaries of dance, combining movement with technology.Franck II Louise performed at Breakin’ Convention ’05 and ’06, returning this year for the Breakin’ Convention ’07 tour.
Frank Ejara: using boogaloo, locking and popping techniques, Brazilian solo artist Frank Ejara takes the audience into an imaginary world, in which sound and movement fuse with the sound creating movement and movement creating sound.
Frank Ejara, dancer, choreographer, MC (Peracao diamante), Artistic Director of the dance company Discipulos do Ritmo (Disciples of Rhythm), has been part of the Hip Hop culture for 20 years. As well as directing works with his company (Urbanoides, A Rais e o Fruto), he has also toured internationally with Storm “Ta Limpo!” and Henrique Rodovalho “Fresta” .