Thursday, September 28

Sadlers Wells Breakin’ Convention 2023 – Birmingham Hippodrome

A smorgasbord of hip-hoppery whooped and hooted and hollered and exploded on the stage of the Birmingham Hippodrome last night as “Breakin’ Convention 2023” delivered a gobsmacking, head spinning array of some of the finest hip-hop dancers from “around the corner and around the world” and the audience lapped it up.

This was a whole new world to me. Our host, Jonzi D (MC, spoken word artist, dancer and director) entreated us to “give it up” and “big it up” and “make some noise” which we were only too eager to do. The cast included Gloucestershire’s victorious street dance company, CoadyCrew, Company Apidea and Gfunk Collective. Apart from the first the programme tells us nothing of these people or where they are from, but wherever it is they must be very proud. But my guess is they are young collectives of aspiring dancers between the ages of about 12 and 18 and they worked their cotton socks off to the delight and delirium of their peers. This was work of considerable detail and dedication taking hours of time to accomplish. This alone is worthy of applause, but to create something so engaging, enchanting and audience pleasing is worth a lot more.

Photo: Nath Martin

The evening, though, was dominated by Mover from South Korea who didn’t let the language barrier impinge on their work in fact their lead dancer’s words were wholly in Korean without translation and the work of Bboys Mario, Pocket, Rocket, Skunk, Tazo and Girl Steel 8 was outstanding. Slick, neat, tight and funny. The mime drummer kit and the judging section was particularly note worthy. These are accomplished hip-hoppers accompanied by an awesome beat-boxer, a solo artist who produced a thousand sounds on one mic and kept the theatre alive with his music. The second half was the equally awesome Yvonne Smink from the Netherlands, O’Driscoll Collective and Ghetto Funk Collective.

This was an all in evening not only on-stage entertainment but around the theatre as singers, vocalists, graffiti artists and even t-shirt sellers encouraged us not only to watch, but to participate. Baseball caps off to the Hip-Hop-Hippodrome for throwing their doors open to such a diverse and inclusive selection of artists.

Tomorrow night’s bill includes Marshon Dance Company from Birmingham playing to the home crowd, Jamal Sterrett, Nathan Lafayette and Mover again with a second half made up of Yvonne Smink and Ghetto Funk once more and Dance Nuvo in Malignant.

Great value, great atmosphere, great dance – “big it up!”

Reviewer: Peter Kinnock

Reviewed: 12th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.