Breakin' Convention at Blumenthal Performing Arts Sets Lineup

Blumenthal Performing Arts has announced the talent headed to Charlotte for Breakin' Convention, the international hip hop dance festival created by London's Sadler's Wells, coming to Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts Oct. 9-10.

"This is an amazing line-up in Charlotte for the first ever Breakin' Convention CLT," said Blumenthal President and CEO Tom Gabbard. "It celebrates hip hop dance theater in a wonderfully artful, participatory way. Breakin' Convention will bring together artists and fans of all ages for an incredible experience. This is a family-friendly event where both kids and their parents can show off their latest moves, and together, see some of the top talent from around the world. We are honored to be a part of it."

The line-up includes Antoinette Gomis (France), BirdGang Dance Company (UK), Compagnie Phorm (France/Argentina), Street Kingdom (USA) and The Ruggeds (Netherlands). Biographies can be found below.

Breakin' Convention, sponsored by Sprite in Charlotte, is produced and presented annually at Sadler's Wells London since 2004. The festival comprises stage performances of the very best in hip hop dance theatre from around the world, and around the corner. Breakin' Convention is a true celebration of hip hop culture. It is regarded as one of the defining new stories of dance in the UK and beyond in the past decade. This two-day celebration of hip hop culture will feature Friday and Saturday night shows at Knight Theater showcasing some of the world's great hip hop dance stars. During the day, enjoy free activities and performances including live DJs, graffiti, hip hop dance workshops where you can test your skills, free performances, after parties and much more.

An integral part of Breakin' Convention is the inclusion of local acts. Several BBoy, BGirl, and other hip hop style dance crews and artists will come from Charlotte and the surrounding areas. The aim is to unearth emerging artists and give them a unique opportunity to perform at a major venue and be inspired by the other artists with whom they are performing alongside.

Jonzi D, the Artistic Director of Breakin' Convention and Jonzi D Projects, has been actively involved in British hip hop culture, rapping and b-boying since its genesis in the early 80s. Since graduating from the London Contemporary Dance School, Jonzi has been committed to the development of hip hop theatre, creating Lyrikal Fearta in 1995 and Aeroplane Man in 1999. He was an Associate Artist at The Place Theatre and has performed and created dance theatre pieces all over Europe, North America, Russia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Uganda and Southern Africa. He is currently a Sadler's Wells Associate Artist.

Antoinette Gomis (France)

Using the words of a Waring Cuney poem sung by Nina Simone, Images deals with the lack of pride black women suffered throughout history. Historically having fought for equality and civil rights, a new wave of struggle appears today through TV, cinema and entertainment for the current generation: Hypersexualisation, denial of natural beauties and a denial of what our SHEroes fought for. How do we value our female heritage? Dancer, choreographer, model and original member of the sassy Zamounda Crew, Antoinette Gomis is a leading dancer in the French street dance scene. After studying entertainment and art, she began a career as a dancer winning several street dance competitions and battles such as Funkin Stylez in Dusseldorf, Nike's Bring Your Troupe and Soul Session in Sweden. Chosen by Puma to be part of their Puma the Quest campaign her charisma led her to becoming Salah's assistant for Cirque du Soleil as a dance captain. She continues to lead workshops and teach her style and techniques to people around the world.

BirdGang Dance Company (UK)

Revolving around the inner struggle of addictions "Vice" follows one man's pursuit of an 'ideal'; whether that be the type of person he wants to become, or the type of woman he wants to be with, and whether he can overcome his addictions to reach this ideal. A powerful piece of hip hop dance theatre from young British choreographer and performer, Ukweli Roach, one of the founding members of BirdGang Dance Company. A trained actor from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), Ukweli's choreography, whilst being largely hip hop-based, borrows from disciplines such as tap, house dance, popping, breaking, contemporary and jazz, fusing them all in to theatrical manifestations of whatever music he is dancing to.

Compagnie Phorm (France / Argentina)

A cellular division splits the structure of two complex organisms that grow, conflict, and tear themselves apart as they attempt to assert control over one another. Apart, they are weak and must work together in order to evolve and grow. Compagnie Phorm is a duo made up of David Colas and Santiago Codon Gras. Colas is recognized by his peers as a judge, dance teacher and international breaker. He has developed a unique style with particular attention to the subtle gestures and musicality. Codon Gras is from Argentina and brings diverse contemporary dance.

Street Kingdom (USA)

Street Kingdom is group of dancers from Los Angeles, California specializing in the style of Krump. Led by the creator of the style Tight Eyez, this collection of dancers constantly work to stay at the top of their art, and are the kings of this street dance. Having experienced rough inner city life in Los Angeles, they know the meaning of hardship. Dance became an outlet for them as they discovered their passion for Krump, a highly energetic style characterized by free, expressive and explosive movements. After overcoming gang life and broken homes, the members of the Street Kingdom felt like they had the strength to succeed on the America's Best Dance Crew stage competing in Season 6 of the MTV reality competition series. Since the show the crew as a whole has done music videos, all style battles, and guest performed at events like World of Dance, Choreographers Carnival Ball, and now Breakin' Convention.

The Ruggeds (Netherlands)

Adrenaline is what pushes you into uncharted territory. Its drive is so strong that it allows you to push the limit of what's physically and technically possible. It's the energy from the drums to the breakbeat rhythms making your soul anxious to move. This piece is an exploration of our relationship with adrenaline, filled with acrobatics, risks, music and energy. Fresh, inventive and full of powerful flava, originally known as Rugged Solutions, this eight strong crew from Eindhoven are a solid name in the b-boy game. Winners of numerous battles from all over the world, they are the current world champions, winning the BBoy Championships in 2014. The crew is comprised of some of the Netherlands best bboys and is well-known for its members' different styles and influences.

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