Hip-hop dance festival Breakin’ Convention returns to Sadler’s Wells

Every year, for one weekend, Islington becomes the breakdance capital of Europe.

Breakin’ Convention, now in its ninth year, is an international festival of hip-hop dance theatre, featuring some of the finest ‘b-boys’ and ‘b-girls’ from across the globe.

The event, which has taken place at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, in Rosebery Avenue, Finsbury, since it started in 2004, is unique as the only hip-hop theatre event in the UK.

And Jonzi D, who came up with the idea of Breakin’ Convention and has been its artistic director since the start, says it will welcome back some old friends this weekend.

“Vagabond Crew, who are the current b-boy world champions, are performing,” he said. “They featured in the first festival and it’s good to have a crew that is really at the top of their game.

“We also have Unity, who got to the final of Got To Dance on Sky. We’re really proud to have worked with them before TV were ever interested and they are always quick to come back and represent, even after they have got some fame.


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“Every year, people ask me who to look out for, and it’s hard because everyone at the festival has a bit of something special that makes them stand out.”

Making their Breakin’ Convention debut are ILL-Abilities, a group made up of dancers with disabilities.

“Hip-hop culture encourages you to excel as much as you can with whatever you got,” says Jonzi. “One of the things I love about that is these dancers with so-called disabilities can be better than ones without, because they can pull off all these different moves.

“Another act we are excited about is B-boy Ata, from Finland, who is doing a solo piece where he dances alongside a puppet, which kind of represents his other self.”

Although not involved in any performances this year, Jonzi D has been the driving force behind Breakin’ Convention since he first came up with the idea.

“When I first started doing hip-hop theatre in 1995 I felt like I was the only one interested.

‘‘Then after touring in places like France and Holland I realised this is a genre and we should encapsulate it in one event.

“It seems to get bigger every year and I am very proud. This year we are streaming Monday night live on the BBC and we are touring for the first year running. And we might be doing an international tour next year.”

n Breakin’ Convention runs from May 5 to 7 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Finsbury. For tickets, call 0844 412 4300.