Breakin' Convention brings contemporary hip-hop to the stage
Dance show features acts from South Korea, South Africa, Canada and local crews
Once the exclusive domain of street corners, these days you're more likely to find hip-hop dance performed on a theatre stage than a pavement. In the five years since Breakin' Convention last visited Edinburgh, the landscape for this progressive dance form has evolved to take advantage of its new surroundings. 'I think that hip-hop artists have realised the potential of the proscenium arch,' says Breakin' Convention's curator and host, Jonzi D. 'But they also know how much work is required to make that transition.'
This year's event will see three headline acts from South Korea, South Africa and Canada, plus a host of local crews from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. 'With Breakin' Convention I like to capture the global nature of hip-hop, so it's always great to have artists from different areas,' says Jonzi. 'Just Dance from Korea [pictured], arguably one of the strongest B-boying nations in the world, are presenting a piece with Korean masks and drumming, so they're bringing their specific cultural identity to the piece, which I'm very excited about. Canada's Tentacle Tribe have created a contemporary dance and breaking fusion, and although they're quite clearly hip-hop dancers, I think a contemporary dance audience will really connect with it.'
As for South African's Soweto Skeleton Movers, their particular brand of dance was born in the most unlikely of circumstances, given the athletic nature of hip-hop. 'They're bringing a dance form called Pantsula,' explains Jonzi. 'Some would argue it isn't hip hop, but looking at the socio-economic context which the dance form comes from, there are mirrors with hip hop. Pantsula comes from the streets of Soweto, and the guy who started the skeleton style learned it in prison from a Kung Fu master. The style uses stretching techniques that have developed into contortionism, which comes from training in a constricted environment in prison. For me, that's really interesting.'
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 5 & Sat 6 May and on UK tour until Sat 27 May