With dance-offs, graffiti art and live musical performances running before the show even began, those involved with Breakin’ Convention ensured the audience was provided with constant entertainment from the moment they arrived at the Lyceum theatre.
An eclectic fusion of hip-hop dance theatre and various other dance styles, the five acts from around the world brought exhilarating new dimensions to the hip-hop portrayed in films such as Step Up and StreetDance.
Sheffield-based company So Damn Kreative opened the show with a clever combination of soul music and street dance; with performances of ranging ages and abilities, the highlight came from the youngest members, who handled their choreography with surprising ease and talent. Following this was an unusual routine including both pole-dancing and breaking; Stoxie’s manipulation of the pole was fascinating (although not always successful), as she transformed it into a device enhancing her moving depiction of a shipwreck victim.
Local crew Rationale had clearly brought along a huge following that provided great applause as they took to the stage, setting the standard high for their performance. Luckily, such premature praise was justified, as their witty routine depicting (literal) skeletons in a man’s closet was exerted with apparent ease and absolute confidence, creating an upbeat atmosphere throughout the entire theatre. Yet in spite of the previous performances, the first half was undoubtedly stolen by the French/Korean duo Clash 66. Combining contemporary dance with hip hop, the two aim to challenge the notions of hip-hop dance theatre, producing a breathtaking piece unlike any other seen. The pair worked as one to shock the audience with their inventive, unexpected lifts and tricks, creating an experience that stayed with you long after leaving the theatre.
However all four acts were arguably just a warm-up for the wonder that was The Vagabond Crew from France. The current b-boy world champions provided a fantastic finale to what had already been an entertaining show. Taking on the daunting concept of death as the basis for their routine their performance was technically flawless; the popping and locking, choreography and gymnastics were incredible, and the thirty-five minutes during which they were onstage were almost insufficient as this group constantly leave you wanting more. The Vagabond Crew also closed with solo performances in which they interacted with one another and the audience, humanising this unbelievably talented and focused group. Overall, the crew lived up to their world-class status; watching them was a privilege.
Jonzi D and MC Nige’s hosting skills were somewhat limited; with slapstick humour and jokes their interludes often lasted a little too long. However, as respected members of the Breakin’ Convention community, they provided light-hearted, informative interludes involving the audience; essential for a little light relief in between some of the heavier performances.
A thrilling evening of absolute entertainment, Breakin’ Convention was not to be missed; any opportunity you have to witness any of the acts performing would definitely be one to attend.