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Breakin' Convention 12 (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Sadler’s Wells is on tour again with its dynamic International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre Breaking Convention 12.

Bringing a whole experience of Hip Hop culture with the foyers heaving with live graffiti and DJs, BBQs and market stalls, and plenty of opportunity for all to body pop (or just watch enviously) before the main event and at the interval, this is a fantastic draw filling the theatre with Yoff.

With encouragement to keep phones switched on and tweet throughout the show, Breaking Convention 12 really speaks to the kids and Artistic Director Jonzi D MCs complete with Bob Marleyesque woolly hat and street speak.

Local groups star in the first half ensuring the auditorium is packed with admiring family and friends, and the Devon and Cornwall offerings were excellent.

And then it’s on to the international groups kicking off with the inspiring ILL-Abilities crew’s No Limits. Six lads who have refused to be defined by their disabilities bring the audience to their feet and a tear to many an eye as they each tell their tale, throwing away crutches and prosthetic legs or overcoming deafness or other handicaps, to body pop and motivate. Fantastic.

After a busy interval with more impromptu break dancing from almost exclusively young lads – some really tiny too – it’s back for a vibrant second half.

Clash 66’s AP15 is a more contemporary dance-like duet between France’s Sebastien Ramirez and Korea’s Hyun-Jung Wang – beautiful and emotive.

And last but by no means least is France’s Vagabond Crew with Alien. Vagabond is the current world champion having won both the Battle of the World and the prestigious UK B-Boy Championships and it is easy to see why.

Alien is an atmospheric and compelling piece in which the nine distinctive dancers explore the certainty of death in a breath-taking 35 minute concept choreographed by Mohamed Belarbi.

Vagabond is also available for Saturday workshops for those wanting to give it a go or wanting to hone skills at the hands of the masters, and then all are welcome at the after party … but I did think I might be somewhat out of place at both of these so reluctantly gave them a miss.

A great evening out.


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