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'Back To The Lab', Breakin' Convention: Presents - Sadler's Wells Theatre

Breakin’ Convention's Back To The Lab was an incredibly inspiring dance event, which I left genuinely inspired, impressed and in awe of the inventiveness of the show.

Back To The Lab led by Breakin’ Convention is a series of professional hip-hop workshops dedicated to hip-hop choreographers, dancers and performers. It aims to inspire both the new generation of hip-hop dancers, as well as the experienced and accomplished professionals, and 'guide them through the process of creating fresh new work after stripping back their skills to the foundations while equipping them with new creative tools'. The programme also allows artists to share their ideas of innovation and creativity within modern dance, and specifically hip-hop, as well as aiming to connect talented individuals from different areas of dance, music, and visual arts to collaborate and create innovative and expressive performance projects.

© Breakin' Convention Presents Back to The Lab - Sadler's Wells

This year’s lead choreographic mentor was Jonathan Burrows, supported by Ivan Blackstone and Anthony Ekundayo-Lennon. The show was the result of sessions of intensive workshops led over three weeks. It featured twelve dancers from across the globe (for the very first time!) and was hosted by Jonzi D at the Lilian Baylis Studio. The roughly two-hour long performance were divided into two parts, each of which consisted of two pieces presented by different groups, followed by a fifteen-minute discussion with the audience. The structure of the performance was very interesting and interactive; personally, I was convinced by the idea of live and direct feedback from the audience. After the performances, the audience was asked to describe each performance in one word, identify what they liked most about the performance, say what they thought could be improved. The structure of the show, thus, not only made it incredibly interactive and engaging for the audience, but also made it beneficial for the dancers (and in accordance with the aims of the workshop). In fact, resembling in a way the urban culture of hip-hop and street – open to any immediate feedback and opinion from anyone who views it. I truly loved this idea!

I was hugely inspired by the memorable performances choreographed and performed by Hector Plaza & Agnés Sales Martin (Spain), as well as the closing performance choreographed by Joshua Nash, performed by him and Jordan Douglas (UK).

Expressing all types of emotions, positive and negative, Hector Plaza & Agnés Sales Martin’s piece embodied the relationship between a woman and a man - or really any form of human connection! The dancers performed elements of acrobatic and gymnastic movements, making the dance seem smooth, flawless and effortless. At the same time, their expression, mimics and movement signaled difficult and heavy feelings which accompany all relationships. The dance was incredibly gracious, effectively interdependent and synchronized. The dancers truly understood each other, their feelings and the whole performance was incredibly honest and intense.

A similar impression was evoked by the last performance of the evening by Joshua Nash and Jordan Douglas, despite its theme was completely different from the other performances. The dancers’ expression of anger, loss and brotherhood, but also confusion, was extremely impressive. The performance showcased the connection between two men. The feelings expressed by the dancers and the choreography were oscillating between love and support, to anger and aggression. As the choreographer later explained, the performance symbolised the community he was brought up in, with the constant urge to compete with other members of the community whilst simultaneously creating a huge support network, brotherhood and community bond. The performance included elements of street culture embedded in dance. The music very well supported the street culture vibe and hip-hop. I particularly enjoyed the changes in tempo and feeling, which signalled the changes in behaviour and different forms of the bond between the dancers.

The evening's performances were incredibly inspiring and entertaining. As a musician myself, I left the performance with new ideas for music and self-expression. Attending such an innovative and fascinating spectacle is definitely thrilling. This absolutely is a perfect fit for anyone who is passionate about contemporary performance, the integration of dance, music, drama and visual arts, innovation and artistic expression.

Edited by Evangeline Stanford


Breakin' Convention Presents Back To The Lab

Saturday January 26th 2019

Lilian Baylis Studio

Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R

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