Breakin’ Convention – review
Sadler’s Wells

Published: Thursday, May 5, 2016 9:28 AM | Review by: Adelaide Obeng |
Antoinette Gomis at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells.   Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention Antoinette Gomis at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells. Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention

Breakin’ Convention is in all purposes out of the ordinary.


Originating from the black townships of South Africa, Pantsula is an energetic dance developed into a form of social commentary and non-verbal communication which The Soweto Skeletons brought to us with uncensored and unmediated African spirit.

The context is 13 years of this lively festival celebrating the origins and evolution of hip-hop dance. It’s a family friendly show, showing off local talent, youth and bringing international artists to the UK stage, the excitement of this is tangible in the audience. It is an inclusive event with offerings such as a tailored menu, informal dance battles in the foyer and colourful graffiti art.


Underpinning the tone of the night for me is Pantsula introduced to the audience by The Soweto Skeleton dancers. Originating from the black townships of South Africa, this energetic dance developed into a form of social commentary and non-verbal communication which The Soweto Skeletons brought to us with uncensored and unmediated African spirit. Moving, funny, incomprehensible skilful, simple and fine story telling. It is known as a lifestyle not just a dance and ‘life’ – this is exactly what Breakin’ Convention offers. The myriad of bold choreography, showmanship, tough beats, fearlessness and flair comes together to form a theatrical show with a hard hitting presences of current affairs and mirror to the emotional human experience.


Soweto Skeleton Pantsula at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells.   Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention Soweto Skeleton Pantsula at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells. Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention

A fresh and fun break in convention.


The whole show read like a call to arms, the thumping baseline present in the various accompanying music being the beating heart of the dynamism of ideas and experience being shared.


It would be a shame to single out any one performance. There is something in this show for everyone from the mixed up sensory experiences given by Iron Skulls co. blending audience and performer seamlessly to the dark, real and immediacy of Ivan Blackstock’s (read interview) new offering. Antoinette Gomis (read interview) is pain and beauty in a piece about a black women’s journey set to the music of Nina Simone which I am sure will enlighten some while touching others and Enfants Prodiges with a mash up of tough/strong movements, switching between techniques popping, locking and breaking to the crowd’s delight.


A fresh and fun break in convention.


Enfants Prodiges at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells.   Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention Enfants Prodiges at Breakin' Convention 2016 London, Sadler's Wells. Photo © Belinda Lawley — at Breakin' Convention

Info: The 13th annual Breakin’ Convention was at Sadler’s Wells from 29 April to 1 May 2016. See listing | Interview with Antoinette Gomis | Interview with Ivan Blackstock


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