Breakin’ Convention, the festival of hip hop dance theatre returns to Sadler’s Wells this Early May Bank Holiday

Breakin’ Convention, the renowned Sadler’s Wells project celebrates a landmark 15 Years this May Bank Holiday. To honour this auspicious anniversary Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director, UK hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D has created an extended programme looking back over the festival’s achievements, as well as looking forward to the future and possibilities of hip hop dance and culture.


The festival of hip hop dance theatre takes over the whole of Sadler’s Wells, including the Lilian Baylis Studio, from Saturday 5 – Monday 7 May. Renowned for showcasing high calibre and diverse representations of hip hop dance theatre from across the globe, Breakin’ Convention 2018 takes this even further via an innovative collaboration.

As well as world class dance crews and soloists, the 2018 programme features live music via Jazz re:freshed, the prestigiouslive jazz organisation, also celebrating its 15th anniversary. An ensemble of 15 leading jazz musicians provide original soundscapes to accompany five newly commissioned works from dancers to mark both festivals’ illustrious histories. The line-up includes Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue Entertainment and The Locksmiths from London, Netherlands-based b-boy crew The Ruggeds, French hip hop freestyle dancer Mufasa and even Jonzi D himself, premiering new work to a score composed by Jazz re:freshed’s Musical Director Jason Yarde. This partnership follows on from the success of the 2017 festival, which saw Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed present an evening of live jazz, dance theatre and poetry in the Lilian Baylis Studio, to launch the weekend’s events.

Jonzi D says: “15 years in the game but it still feels so fresh! Every collaboration, every commission, every new project opens up new avenues of expression for hip hop culture. This natural synergy with Jazz:Refreshed will take our theatrical practice to another level.”

Jazz re:freshed’s Musical Director Jason Yarde says: It’s quite amazing that from a conversation I had with Jonzi last year such an immense pool of talent can come together and create and celebrate. 15 musicians representing 15 years of both Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed makes quite a statement before we’ve even played a note but of course when musicians combine forces with dancers there is potential for real magic and it’s great we get to explore this. This collaboration is not only an opportunity to develop the relationship between Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed, established last year, but sow new seeds in the fundamental long continuum of dance and live music.”

During the festival, Sadler’s Wells’ foyer will once again be transformed so that audiences can enjoy dance workshops, live graffiti, award-winning hip hop DJs, MCs and impromptu dance circles spilling out all over the building, creating an unforgettable and inclusive experience for all ages.

Once again this year’s festival is hosted and curated by Jonzi D and co-hosted with BSL interpreter, Jacqui Beckford.

Full performance line-up to be announced. Check for updates.

The festival has firmly established itself as one of the major highlights on the British dance calendar and one of the world’s greatest celebrations of hip hop culture, and continues to tour internationally in its 15th year.

Breakin’ Convention goes beyond presenting work on the stage and continues in its ambition to support and inspire the next generation of hip hop artists with learning and engagement projects and professional development platforms both in the UK and internationally. 2018 sees many projects, including, Back to the Lab, a two week intensive training and mentorship programme which concludes with a performance and audience feedback. Open Art Surgery, an evening that offers hip hop theatre performers and companies the opportunity to develop and experiment with new ideas and receive mentorship from Jonzi D and other hip hop theatre aficionados in front of an audience. Future Elements, a week long project for aged 13-16 year olds to create a music video, which will be presented at the festival. This January also saw the start of Starting From Scratch, a four month hip hop youth theatre project working with 13-21 year olds that will culminate in a performance in the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells during the festival.

Breakin’ Convention is a Sadler’s Wells Project

Jonzi D is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist 

Press nights: Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 May at 6pm (doors open at 4pm), Monday 7 May at 6pm (doors open at 4.30pm

Under 5s admitted 

All main stage performances BSL interpreted