Sadler’s Wells Breakin’ Convention: line-up announced


Sadler’s Wells Breakin’ Convention, the influential festival of hip hop dance theatre returns for its 18th year and announces its eclectic line-up for this year’s socially distanced programme, curated by hip hop theatre pioneer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D.

Breakin’ Convention Presents showcases the UK Premiere of Compagnie Niya’s Gueules Noires on Thursday 1 & Friday 2 July. On Saturday 3 & Sunday 4, Breakout Convention features eight different performances from exceptional hip hop companies.

This year’s event follows Breakin’ Convention’s mini festival Social DisDancing in December 2020. Presenting its first live event since lockdown, Breakout Convention includes performances from:


Made up of young dancers with different special needs and disabilities is AWA (Atypical with Attitude), making its Breakin’ Convention debut with a piece acknowledging the power of unity. Blindfolded dancers express feelings of loss and isolation whilst finding companionship and commonality through their hip hop dance vocabulary. The company featured as part of BBC talent show The Greatest Dancer in 2019.

Bagsy (UK)

Waacking artist Bagsy asks what it means to be a man, in new work Surrender. Taking inspiration from his own identity, examining masculinity, expectations and Yoruba’s god of thunder Shango, Bagsy creates an intimate exploration of his journey through the form of waacking. The work was developed as part of Breakin’ Convention’s artistic development programme Back to the Lab (2021).

Compagnie Niya (France)

Alongside their full-length piece Gueules Noires on Thursday and Friday, Compagnie Niya also presents the UK premiere of an excerpt of Resurgence, a game between movement and sound.

Dey Dey & Manuela (France/Germany)

Presenting the world premiere of Force D’Âme is Dey Dey and Manuela from the acclaimed Zamounda Crew (France). B-girl Manuela recently featured in Jonzi D & jessica Care Moore’s short film Our Bodies Back. Together, breaking and popping combines, contrasts and connects to reveal the inner journeys of two women.

Gemma Hoddy (UK)

Veteran of the award-winning Boy Blue, Gemma Hoddy presents Vintage. A quartet of women perform a sassy blend of iconic jazz dance shapes, punctuated by a furious popping technique. Paying homage to the classic generation of musical theatre, jazz samples and thumping hip hop beats are brought by producer and co-founder of Boy Blue, Mikey J Asante.

Patience J (UK)

Last seen at Breakin’ Convention in 2015 with Girlz On Point (GOP), Patience J brings energy and attitude with Colours, a celebratory work exploring modern Afro dance forms from the African diaspora including n’dombolo and azonto. An established performer and choreographer, Patience J has collaborated with an assortment of world-famous brands and vocal artists.

Spoken Movement (UK)

Returning to Sadler’s Wells with Family Honour is Spoken Movement led by artistic director Kwame Asafo-Adjei. The work uses popping and tutting to illustrate a psychologically potent duet between Asafo-Adjei himself and dancer Catrina Nisbett which explores the religious and cultural taboos in a Ghanaian family. It has won multiple awards worldwide including Paris’ Danse Élargie in 2018.

W.A.R (UK)

W.A.R (We Ain’t Regular) brings the raw to the Sadler’s Wells stage with a world premiere performance. The company appeared alongside rap artist Stormzy for his performance of Shut Up at Glastonbury 2020.

As well as world-class dance crews and soloists, the 2021 programme features films from Breakin’ Convention’s latest initiatives Power to the Pixel and Next Day Delivery – a collaboration between choreographers and writers. Next Day Delivery films come from winners Sun Kim and Surid – (Gas) Lighting; Anthony and Kel Matsena – Too Much, Too Little; Ken Masters and Rob Anderson; and Berkavitch and Si Rawlinson – Eat The Rich.

2021 marks Breakin’ Convention’s 18th anniversary. Best known for its flagship annual festival, its year-round programme aims to grow the UK’s development of hip hop theatre. It encompasses professional development initiatives such as Back to the Lab, a two-week training and mentorship initiative leading to performance; a broad education programme; and alternative performance platforms such as Breakin’ Convention Presents.

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