Breakin Convention 06
Lillian Baylis Studio Theatre, Saturday 29th
From Natasha Bunbury
Now in its third year running at Sadler’s Wells, it was time to reload the vibes for Breakin Convention 06.
Not an easy task to accomplish. An undertaking similar to ones found in the music industry where second albums are hard to follow a major first release.
This year’s festival and celebration of Hip Hop Dance Theatre met a more subdued public than those found at previous Conventions. You could sense that it would not be so easy to impress with every windmill, pop and six step. The Lillian Baylis Studio’s line up of acts pre empted this shift, and offered a wide variety of Hip Hop theatre work. Performance art of all genres seemed to be the undercurrent to the studio platform hosted by Hakeem Onibudo. On the bill was a majority of new works from groundbreaking UK artistes tipped for the top.
Sean Graham (aka The Story Teller) is a promising new soloist who successfully debuted at Jonzi D’s Hip Hop surgeries. He performed a thought provoking physical theatre piece called “Busking Boy”. In it Sean explored a young man’s inner turmoil, struggles with self esteem and rejection from his estranged father, juxtaposed with the seductive lure of the streets, presented as the only thing left that seemed to care for him.
Although overly theatrical at times, what was most appreciated was Graham’s openness and his willingness to be vulnerable in order to shed light on a silent epidemic affecting young misguided black men. He managed to unmask the hard “bad boy” image and expose a hidden cry for help.
Raggy Doll (aka Rowena) used circus styles for inspiration in “Other” as did Frank Wilson with “Clown-a-Dread” which was a comical mime using Hip Hop beats and repertoire.
An Explosion of energy came from Paradigmz exploration of King Tutt technique as he established a good balance with the public. The style consists of movements inspired by the hieroglyphic drawings of ancient Egypt and is more commonly recognised for being featured in the Michael Jackson’s music video “Remember the Time”. “The Hand That Tutt Moved” was a real treat for Hip-hop connoisseurs.
Paradimgz is an enigmatic powerful dancer, he commands your attention, fills the room and stirs your spirit. He invoked all the spectacular and impressive elements of this vocabulary and kept the audience and wanting more.
Like Paradimz, David Colas from France also struck a good note with the audience with his piece “In Art Monny”, which was a personal autobiography which eloquently spoke of the relationship many a dancer has with art of sound. The symbolism of the headphones coming down on stage paid homage to music and honoured the love dancers have for it. His musical influences showed in his range of techniques. Physically, he had a sensual quality; very fluid and seeming to interpret his inner rhythm. The work was a glimpse into the part of the soul that moves you …quot; overall a very entrancing performance.
Babson and Yugson (France) performed “Mode 18”, which gave the audience a display of good abilities plus raw dance. Despite the lack of depth in the choreography and story, it was refreshingly light and uncomplicated when compared to previous acts.
Thankfully, having such variety in content made the Lillian Baylis studio very successful this year, very interesting to a more subjective audience and in some way compensated for the three-hour break between acts. The event could have a small tour run of its own continue to offer audiences a highly entertaining show.