After months of (painful) theatre-silence, Breakin’ Convention at Sadler’s Wells is the perfect way to be reintroduced to live dance. It’s fresh, inspiring, and pounding with energy.

Hip-hop feels surprisingly close to what we’re experiencing right now as a society: things are fast-paced; syncopated; a bit messy. Back for its eighteenth year (in spite of several Covid-related challenges), the festival showcases the best of the national and international hip-hop scene.

Following a rapped intro by curator and host Jonzi D, we dive into a real hip-hop showcase, from solo pieces to grandiose group performances. Some pieces verge on physical theatre (Spoken Movement’s chilling Family Honour), while others experiment with live music (Compagnie Niya’s Resurgence) or with jazzy, sassy moves (Betty’s Blues by Gemma Hoddy). The live dance is interspersed with films from the projects Next Day Delivery and Power to the Pixel, featuring dance, music, spoken word and video artistry. It’s great to see the possibilities of “Zoom art” (which thrived, inevitably, during the pandemic) welcomed onto one of the world’s most prestigious dance stages.

The evening closes with a bang, in the vibrant, exhilarating routine Colour by Patience J.  It encapsulates what the festival is all about: a celebration of hip-hop and its ability to reflect the time we live in – no matter what.

Popping and locking for two days only 3 – 4 July 2021 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

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