Breakin’ Convention 2020 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

10 Mar 2020

Image credit: Belinda Lawley

Breakin’ Convention 2020 – International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre

Back for its 17th year, Breakin’ Convention announces the line-up for its annual festival at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 May 2020.

This influential festival of hip hop dance theatre features an exceptional line-up of both local and international performances, curated by UK hip hop theatre legend, Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist and Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director, Jonzi D. Over the weekend, Sadler’s Wells’ building is transformed into an immersive space for hip hop culture, with dance workshops, graffiti, DJs, freestyle sessions and more.

Previously announced, the line-up for both the festival and the national tour include a world premiere from South Korea’s gravity-defying Jinjo Crew – the first to achieve Grand Slam status after five major international wins – and French hip hop company Géométrie Variable, who explore the popping technique of tutting with a style resembling the inner mechanics of a timepiece.

UK-based acts include Spoken Movement, led by Artistic Director Kwame Asafo-Adjei, following a performance of Family Honour at Dance Élargie: Dance Expanded at Sadler’s Wells in October 2019. In 2018, the piece won first prize atDance Élargie in Paris, following wins at the Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition (RIDCC) and the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition earlier this year. In Family Honour, Asafo-Adjei and Catrina Nisbett perform a psychologically potent duet that explores religious and cultural taboos in a Ghanaian family.

For the festival only, acts include:

  • A.I.M Collective (UK)

This impactful all-female collective of poppers is led by Shawn Aimey of prominent UK dance crews Plague and Fiya House.

  • Atypical with Attitude (UK)

Atypical with Attitude (AwA) makes its Breakin’ Convention debut with a piece about unity and friendship. Blindfolds are used to express feelings of isolation and loneliness as the group work together to find commonality. AwA is an inclusive dance company, ranging in age from late teens to early 20s. All members of the company are representative of the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) community and accommodate all forms of the disability spectrum including autism, Down’s syndrome, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), learning disabilities and more.

  • BirdGang Dance Company (UK)

In 2006, BirdGang Dance Company burst onto the Breakin’ Convention stage, and was last seen at Sadler’s Wells Sampled 2019. The company has since amassed an impressive client base including Jungle and Bose, and has performed at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship (2012), as well as collaborating with the Young Vic as part of Dance Umbrella (2014). This year, BirdGang Dance Company returns with some tricks up its sleeves. Illusionist Ali Cook, star of West End magic show Impossible, joins the company.

  • Compagnie Niya (France) – UK Premiere

In Gueules Noire, choreographer Rachid Hedli pays a heartfelt tribute to the migrant workers of the The Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, including his father. Retracing life in the mines, Cie Niya’s superior breaking and popping skills present images of solidarity, struggle and fraternity.

  • Corpo Máquina (Netherlands) – UK Premiere

Two b-boys, framed by rows of fluorescent lights, negotiate the silent space in unison. As the piece develops, the dancers trade steps, increasing the technicality and complexity of each move. A cool, conceptual piece featuring members of Dutch b-boy crew Hustlekidz.

  • D1 (Peru)

Winners of the hip hop choreography category at Pura Calle hip hop festival in Lima, this dynamic and passionate crew of 12 multi-skilled dancers presents Imagine Peru. Representing Peru for the first time at Breakin’ Convention, D1 share a snapshot of life and death from the perspective of two young Peruvians. The company creates work that is a fusion of hip hop, breaking, krump, contemporary and traditional Peruvian dance styles.

  • Fuse 596 (International)

Breakin’ Convention welcomes back this energising, fun, feel-good crew of house dancers, led by Japanese choreographer Tomo Norimaki.

  • Lucy M. May and 7Starr (Canada)

Montréal-based choreographer Lucy M. May and dancer 7Starr collaborate to create an intense deconstruction of 7Starr’s multiple krump personas. Using comedic text, explosive stomps and mode-switching arm swings, audiences are taken on a trip through the artist’s mind.

  • Paradox Sal (France)

This all-female crew from Paris presents powerful house dance. The choreography from Babson inspires a variety of moods and emotional states. Music ranges from pumping house beats to Nina Simone.

  • Prospects Fraternity (UK)

This large street dance crew based in south London have created something bespoke for Breakin’ Convention, exploring themes of peer pressure and empowerment.

  • Yeah Yellow (France)

Accompanied by live musicians, audiences may remember this crew from their performance at Sadler’s Wells Sampled in 2018, or have been lucky enough to catch them on the Breakin’ Convention 2017 USA tour. In duet Dos au Mur (Back to the wall), hip-hop dance combines aesthetics to reflect on a time in which humanity builds the world around it.


For an outdoor alternative to the festival, hip hop lovers are invited to join the local community at Breakin’ Convention’s Park Jam, in Islington’s Spa Fields Park on Sunday 26 April.This uplifting event features live music, freestyling and fun for families.

After the festival, Breakin’ Convention embarks on a national tour until Saturday 6 June, taking in venues from Plymouth to South Shields (see full dates and locations below). The festival has previously toured globally; in 2017 alone, it presented a total of 32 shows in 16 cities, visiting venues including the Harlem Apollo and The Sony Centre, Toronto.

Following a performance of Dickson Mbi’s Unstrung at Sadler’s Wells Sampled earlier this year, BBC Young Dancer 2019 winner Max Revell joins the Breakin’ Convention tour. Revell can be seen at Plymouth Theatre Royal, Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

From 8 – 11 July 2020, Breakin’ Convention Presents – the programme’s full-length performance platform for the most innovative hip hop artists working today – makes its first visit to Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue, The Peacock, with b-boy company The Ruggeds’ Between Us.

All main stage performances BSL interpreted

A Sadler’s Wells Production

Jonzi D is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist


Sadler’s Wells & Lilian Baylis Studio, EC1R
Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 May 2020
Performances: Saturday & Sunday at 6pm (doors at 4pm)
Tickets: £25 – £40 (£18 concessions); £15 standing
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or


Tour dates

Sat       02-May         6pm                          LONDON Sadler’s Wells

Sun      03-May         6pm                          LONDON Sadler’s Wells

Wed     06-May         7:30pm                     DONCASTER Cast

Sat       09-May         7:45pm                     POOLE Lighthouse

Tue      12-May         7:30pm                     PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal

Wed     13-May         7:30pm                     PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal

Sat       16-May         7:30pm                     BLACKPOOL Grand

Tue      19-May         7:30pm                     SOUTH SHIELDS Customs House

Fri        22-May         7:30pm                     NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall

Sat       23-May         7:30pm                     NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall

Wed     27-May         2:30pm / 7:30pm      BRIGHTON Dome

Fri        29-May         7:30pm                     NORWICH Theatre Royal

Sat       30-May         7:30pm                     NORWICH Theatre Royal

Tue      02-Jun          7:30pm                     BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre

Wed     03-Jun          7:30pm                     BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre

Sat       06-Jun          2:30pm / 7:30pm      CANTERBURY Marlowe Theatre