Kenrick "H20" Sandy - the choreographer for Boy Blue, which won this year’s Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for Pied Piper at Theatre Royal Stratford East (See News, 19 Feb 2007) – leads the line-up of Breakin’ Convention 07 at Sadler’s Wells in May.

Breakin’ Convention 07, the fourth annual international festival of hip-hop dance theatre, runs from 5 to 7 May 2007 at Sadler’s Wells, before going on tour for the first time in its history. Breakin’ Convention 07 is hosted and curated by Sadler's Wells associate Jonzi D and features artists from the UK, Japan, USA, Brazil, South Africa, France, Belgium and Austria.

Sandy has teamed up with leading Boy Blue dancer Vicky "Skytilz" Manty for their piece, entitled The Unusual Force, which headlines the festival. Other UK acts to feature include: Bird Gang, returning after their acclaimed debut at Breakin’ Convention 06 with a new piece, Bird-Net, choreographed by Ivan Blackstock; D-Physics performing Spank-A-Lee, choreographed and featuring Sean Graham; and Random Aspekts with Rock-a-Bye Bboy, a piece aimed at children and young people.

International acts include Bill Shannon aka "The Crutchmaster" (USA), making his Breakin' Convention debut with Spatial Theory, incorporating crutches, live music and video illustration; Electric Boogaloos (USA) with the world premiere of Tribute to Skeeter Rabbit (R.I.P), their new work in memory of the group's founder member who died last year; South Africa's Azanian BBoys; Moving Shadows (Austria); Caleaf & Dance Fusion (USA); Les Daltoniens (Belgium), featuring the world Beatbox Champion Roxor Loops; Compagnie Etha Dam (France) with Liaisons, using a mirror to explore the relationship between image, impression and differing worlds; and Japan's award-winning Spartanic Rockers, making their festival debut.

Past Breakin' Convention favourites returning for 2007 include: Compagnie Revolution (France) with Soli II, a solo about the female form; last year's Brazilian hit Frank Ejara, who uses boogaloo locking and popping techniques as he performs Som Di Movimento; and Franck II Louise (France) who performed an excerpt from their futuristic piece Drop It! at Sadler's Wells Sampled earlier this year and now return to perform the full-length show.

Breakin' Convention 07 is preceded by film screenings and performance events in the Lilian Baylis Theatre. And for the first time, 2007 sees Breakin' Convention touring the UK, produced by Dance Consortium. Franck II Louise, Frank Ejara and Electric Boogaloos will feature at every venue, and will be joined by local acts from each region. Following Sadler’s Wells, the show visits Newcastle (9 May), Edinburgh (11 and 12 May), Birmingham (15 and 16 May), Northampton (19 May), High Wycombe (22 and 23 May), Brighton (25 and 26 May), Sheffield (30 and 31 May) and Nottingham (2 June).

Ahead of Breakin’ Convention, a new festival of experimental theatre and performance is taking place at the Barbican, the Soho Theatre, South Bank Centre, Shunt Vaults and Toynbee Studios. Spill runs from 2 to 22 April 2007, featuring 52 performances from 13 international companies, organised by Pacitti Company and funded by the Arts Council England.

Highlights of the event include: Pacitti Company performing Three Duets, a video installation with sound work and objects piecing together musings on life, death, sex and transformation; Civil, exploring issues of liberty and disobedience based on author and raconteur Quentin Crisp’s infamous autobiography The Naked Civil Servant; and the Grand Finale.

Amongst the other UK artists featuring in the event are: Julia Bardsley with Trans:Acts; Kira O’Reilly with a piece using the body as material, site and metaphor; Hancock and Kelly Live with Tattoo, featuring an artist being tattooed live; Sheila Ghelani with Covet Me, Care for Me; Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa making art in a variety of different media; Eve Dent with Collected Works; and Forced Entertainment with And on the Thousandth Night, exploring the art of story-telling, and Exquisite Pain, about a relationship break-up.

International artists and companies performing in the festival include: Eve Bonneau and Francoise Berlanger from Belgium with stories about body image and love; Tuca Moraes and Andre Masseno from Brazil with dance-based pieces; Raimund Hoghe from Germany with another dance piece inspired by Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’; and Unreasonable Adults from Australia with the world premiere of The Last To See Them Alive: Sex, Slaughter and the City, exploring what it means to be the victim and/or victor in the game of serial murder and serial monogamy in the big city.

Spill also features three installations, an exhibition of the works’ history, and three dinner parties for audience members to meet the artists.

- by Caroline Ansdell