They were there to take part in the week long International Festival Of Hip Hop Dance Theater hosted by the Apollo Theater. Some of the events during the festival’s run included a master class with Jonzi D, the film screening of Flex Is King, discussions, graffiti painting. There were also shows on the main stage and activities in the Cypher Lounge.
The convention and festival originated in the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London where it’s been produced since 2004. This is the journey of Hip Hop dance from its earliest days to the present where theater is being emphasized as a part of Hip Hop dance. This shift was most evident with BirdGang Dance Company who performed a piece, called Vibe, a story about the main characters inner struggle with addiction. This performance lasted about 10 minutes with a linear story line incorporating props and dramatic theatrical lighting.
Co hosts DJ Boogie Blind and Jonzi D talked with each other and addressed the audience about the roots of Hip Hop dance and how much the culture has grown from Hip Hop all around the world.
The first act that they introduced kicked it off with Salsa music beating out of the sound system; three young ladies known as; Tito Lockers, danced in front of projected images of the legends of Latin music. The next performance was a French + Argentine duo, Compagnie Phorn who danced like some sci-fi machines mechanically interacting with each other using a style called Tutting. Rep Your Style, from New York, performed a dance scene reminiscent of the early days of Hip Hop when kids danced on the New York City subway for fun or tips while avoiding the cops. There was a special guest appearance by Keith and Kevin Smith, known as the Legendary Twins, from the boogie down Bronx; they are credited as being two of the original B-Boy dancers and the first to take the dancing down to the floor. Antoinette Gomis from France took to the stage to pay homage to Nina Simone. Her dance was a mix of hip hop and what I would describe as modern and African dance. Antoinette was a big hit with the audience especially after she expressed, in a heavy French accent, how happy and excited she was to have just performed on the same Apollo stage as her idol, James Brown.
One of the evenings other highlights was the performance by the Les Twins also from France. A crowd favorite, they played off of each other switching back and forth dancing together and solo. Their constant change and up-tempo while dancing made them interesting to watch.
The Breakin’ Convention 2015 show ended with a free style session. The performers had a chance to show off heir individual talent, even host Jonzi D threw down a little freestyle. A fun show!