Last Wednesday, the Grand Theatre played host to a hip hop and breakdance extravaganza by the touring hip hop theatre, Breakin’ Convention. Based in Sadlers Wells, it tours the country celebrating and promoting hip-hop dance theatre. Lead by Jonzi D, the company has worked with a number of  respected inspirational artists since 2004. Breakin’ Convention is a world-renowned international festival providing professional development, youth projects and educational programmes.

Alongside performances from local crews: FY Westcoast, Urban Dance Project, Scream Theatre School and The Freefly Crew, Breakin’ Convention featured Olivier Award-nominated ILL-Abilities, an international B-Boy company that challenges the misconceptions about people with disabilities, Ukweli Roach (UK), with an ensemble performance about temptation and vice, and Wanted Posse (France) expressing the roots of their personal revolutions.

Breakin’ Convention had previously made a connection in Blackpool via the local B-Boys and DJs at Coastal Conflict.  I asked the members of the old skool B-Boy collective some questions:

Who are you and what’s your connection to Breakin’ Convention?

Coastal Conflict consists of Daz Littlewood, Scott Rogan and myself, Joseph Rogan .Me and Daz are first generation B-Boy judges at our annual Coastal Conflict Cyphers and Scott is also part of the Shaolin Monkeys DJ Crew. Peter Maniam, project manager from Breakin’ Convention, got in touch with us last August by email to tell us he was coming down from London to our annual event in Blackpool. He enjoyed the event and asked us if we would take part and get involved in something bigger the following year at the Grand Theatre. Daz became an area rep for Breakin’ Convention and the rest is history.

What were your expectations?

I am sure the other members would agree that it would be fantastic to work in partnership with Breakin’ Convention on other projects in the future and also for our annual Coastal Conflict Cypher to grow. The one we are putting on next month is our third at the Underbar Blackpool on 26 July.

There was an amazing atmosphere on the evening of the event. How did you feel?

We all thought the evening was fantastic. I don’t think the Grand has seen anything like it before. DJs at every entrance, live graffiti taking place, awesome acts, lots of photographers. Everything just had a good vibe to it and the Comedy Carpet block party, three days earlier was fantastic also.

What were your highlights?

All the acts were fantastic, especially Blackpool’s own Freefly Crew. ILL-Abilities stole the show for us personally though and they certainly deserved their standing ovation.

Would there be anything you would change?

Going forward, if it was me and if Breakin’ Convention put the night on again next year the only thing I would change would be the night it was held on. Hopefully going forward it will return and next time it would be held on a Friday or Saturday making it possible for more of the Blackpool hip hop community to get together.


Images courtesy of CJ Griffiths Photography.


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