Headspins! Breakdancing! The suspense of waiting for someone to really hurt themselves as they fly through the air!
Yes, Breakin’ Convention, the ninth international festival of hip hop dance theatre, comes to Sheffield’s Lyceum in one of eight stops on a UK tour showcasing the very best in hip hop dance.
Local crews from every city will be opening up for international acts including French/Korean duet Clash 66, and French headliners Vagabond Crew, who were winners of both the Battle of the Year and the UK Bboy Championship in 2011. Big!
As well as the show, attendees have the opportunity to join in workshops, DJ demos, impromptu foyer freestyle sessions and even live aerosol art. Any excuse to feel a bit G is alright with us.
See below what Nathan Geering, hip hop representative for Sheffield and member of Rationale Crew, has to say about the event and about his hip hop experiences.
You are Breakin' Convention's Hip Hop representative for Sheffield, what's the scene like where you live?
The scene here is very healthy, we have hip-hop being represented in all elements with a number of hip hop dance crews, graffiti writers, Djs and Mcs. There is a lot of overlapping in these elements as many of us work on various projects and festivals together. There are also weekly hip hop/funk nights where you can find bboys/bgirls getting down to real hip hop music as opposed to the commercial tracks that get played in mainstream nightclubs. The scene is growing at a steady rate with many graffiti writers, bboys and mc's teaching workshops in schools, colleges and universities across the city. Thus helping to ensure that Sheffield will have a strong hip hop legacy as we try to teach the next generation how hip hop can have a positive influence on their lives.
Describe your role as a Hip Hop representative?
As a hip hop representative I am in charge of putting the theatre in touch with the hip hop community. I advise the theatre on where to concentrate marketing activities by informing them of upcoming hip hop events, places where hip hop enthusiasts frequent (such as shops and hang out spots etc), I put them in touch with community projects that involve elements of hip hop and suggest other groups/ people that may be interested in Breakin Convention even though they are not strictly hip hop enthusiasts.
I also liaise with local hip hop practitioners and try to get them involved in Breakin Convention in one way or another. This includes giving local dance acts the opportunity to perform, Graffiti artists the opportunity to showcase their work and djs and mc's the chance to provide a soundscape for Breakin Convention. Once Breakin Convention is over the role doesn’t stop there however. I try to ensure that the theatre maintains a relationship with the breakin convention audience by making sure that they are informed of upcoming hip hop events that the theatre are putting on, be it shows or workshops.
When did you start dancing and what were your earliest Hip hop influences, early crews, memories etc?
My earliest hip hop influences were the movies Breakdance 1 and 2. I used to watch these movies when i was little and always wanted to do what I saw on TV. I never had no1 to teach me so I would just try and copy the moves. I then was really inspired by the Run DMC video it’s "It’s Like that" and knew that one day I would learn this art form…..someday.
I finally started dancing when I was 21, for the majority of the time I was self taught and I became the right hand man to MC Nige who was responsible for inspiring a lot of kids to start bboying back in 2002. From him I learned how to inspire others and teach them the positive benefits of true hip hop culture. I then went on to train in Detroit Michigan and on my return Jonzi D saw me compete at event and asked to be part of his company. I became and original cast member of his show TAG. I then went out to Korea and was trained by some of the former world champion bboy crews Last For One, Gambler and TIP. Later that year Jonzi made me the local hip hop representative for Breakin Convention Sheffield. Since then I have become a part of the Sheffield based hip hop theatre company Rationale and tour internationally with Sonia Sabri Company.
Is there a core scene in Sheffield that is true to the dance forms and differs from more commercialised representations of Hip Hop dance?
Yes there is a core scene that feels very strongly about being true to hip hop dance forms. We refuse to teach the "Streetdance" that the commercial public believes to be hip hop. Most people want to only learn a dance routine in a class and think they are streetdancers. We see this as a very bad thing because hip hop dance styles are legitimate as they all have a foundation and techniques that every practitioner should know and build upon. If somebody doesn’t know foundation then they are not street/hip hop dancers but merely somebody that does street dance choreography. There is a HUGE difference. This can be seen by those people that say "I’m scared to freestyle but give me a routine and I can do it easy". One of the main reasons for this is because they are not taught foundation and so do not know how to put movements together in a way that best expresses themselves.
We believe that hip hop dancers should be able to express themselves and that is why we teach everyone foundation. Also it means that when they come to doing routines the quality of their movement is 200 times better as they know how to execute each movement correctly. The price to pay for this is that people want that quick fix and so many people will opt for the "commercial street dance" as they find real hip hop too difficult as it requires a large amount of discipline and dedication. Having said that though when there is a cypher (Circle) real hip hop dancers are always inside they cipher dancing and commercial streetdancers are always standing on the side of they cipher wishing they were dancing inside the cipher. So the question to all street/hip hop dancers is will you be found inside the Cipher, or on the outside of the Cipher looking in?
What can we expect to see at Breakin' Convention in Sheffield (local crews, DJs etc)?
From Breakin Convention Sheffield you can expect to see local crews performing either on the main stage or getting down in the foyer such as Rationale, SD Krew, Urban Jokers, Street Kingz, Discreet, Steel City Rockers, Kickz, Nycha Dance, Resume Crew and even some old skool heads from Street Crew and Smack 19 coming out of the woodwork. There will be graffiti from crews such as MLP and BOK and music by Chill Foo Front and a live funky drummer.
For more info and tickets, see www.breakinconvention.com.