|Breakin' Convention, at Sadler's Wells, Seven magazine review|
|Written by News desk - telegraph.co.uk|
This year's offerings at Breakin' Convention, the annual hip hop festival, were mostly impressive
A man in trainers bounces downstage, hurls himself to the floor and windmills impossibly through a virtuoso hip-hop routine, before calmly unbuckling his artificial leg and repeating the entire thing to the screams of Sadler’s Wells.
Tommy Guns and the other notionally “disabled” dancers that make up the remarkable ILL-Abilities crew were one of the highlight’s of this year’s hip hop festival Breakin’ Convention. Sadly, the programme was not all of this quality.
The relentless commodification of what began as an urban street phenomenon has encouraged any number of indifferent hoofers and acrobats to pick-and-mix a few moves – a headspin here, an armwave there – and climb aboard the Breakin’ bandwagon. Even genuinely talented dancers don’t always choose the best home for their skills.
Finland’s b-boy Ata has an expressive (and impressive) physique and some fine power moves, but joining forces with a mini-me, two-man puppet was a distracting gimmick.
The self-absorbed soliloquies of New York “mutation” specialist, Storyboard P, show a similar lack of direction, but I found myself mesmerised as his feet slid bonelessly through an astonishing range of gliding steps – ice dancing without the ice.
Things were casually emceed, as always, by the festival’s curator Jonzi D, who was forever urging Monday’s subdued crowd to make more noise or clap in rhythm. The event was the first to be streamed on the Arts Council’s live internet relay, The Space, and our host was reduced to reading out Tweets from those watching (every bit as fascinating as it sounds).
Vagabond Crew (stars of this spring’s eight-city Breakin’ roadshow) supplied the grand finale with Alien, in which the French troupe’s rippling torsos and undulating arms morph into beetling new life forms.
Lesser acts might climax with a headspin or an airflare, but the omni-skilled Vagabonds flooded the stage with brilliance.