The touring festival celebrating hip-hop’s international and local talent has hit the Lowry for a two-day event. Breakin’ Convention is a cacophony of music, poetry and comedy. The Neapolitan show presents three commanding crews from South Africa, South Korea and Canada, sprinkled with inspiring local acts.
Revelling in its fourteenth year as part of the UK’s major dance calendar, the event was hosted by the show's curator, Jonzi D and poet Martin Visceral. Both a compère are spoken word artists, breaking up the flow of dancers with freestyled lyrics and poetry.
Here, hip-hop is viewed as a piece of performance theatre, a platform to engage a younger audience with politics and social matters that have been twisted through a contemporary course.
It is wonderful to see new, innovative performers in conjunction with the showcasing of talented local choreographers. The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre can be imposing, yet young acts are showcased, supported and moulded because of this festival. Nevertheless, the conventions star acts are from out of town.
International artists, Soweto Skeleton Movers fifteen-minute performance based on Pantsula dance was a charming, exuberant and magical set. Playing to a Kwaito beat, (a genre that emerged during the 1990s and focused on the liberation of Nelson Mandela) the group contort their Bucket hats and bodies to parallel the freedom of expression that the music provides.
The Canadian group, Tentacle Tribe have a signature torsion in an experimental piece that breaks the rhythm of the music. The conceptual dance turns their movements into picturesque, still shots that sculpt their bodies together in an intricate form.
The final group of the evening were Just Dance from South Korea. Their intense twenty-minute finale included a live drummer, poppers and B-Boys. Dressed in Shamanistic masks, their performance was reminiscent of the ABDC group, Jabbawockeez as their collective vision forces the audiences to focus on the intricate tricks and watch the group as a whole.
The visual styling and high energy performances make Breakin’ Convention a signature celebration of UK talent and irresistible fun.