The Breakin’ Convention is more than a show at the Grand Theatre - it’s a festival of freestyle hip hop in all its forms.
There are workshops with local artists in St John’s Square late afternoon and the chance to show off some mean moves of your own.
From 5.30pm hip hoppers can join Rap Cypher with special guests Jonzi D - the man behind the convention joining them. Members of world champion b-boy crew The Ruggeds (Holland) and experimental b-boys Iron Skulls Co (Spain) as well as local acts including Urban Dance Project, Wingz Theatre Works - FY Wingz, Ryan Fenton and DJ collective Shaolin Monkeys.
The fun continues on Saturday from 11.30am with dance battles, graffiti art and more running till 3.30pm in St John’s Square.
Then there’s the show proper, starting 7.30pm on Saturday at the Grand, celebrating urban dance and culture from across the world, and hosted and curated by hip hop theatre choreographer (and the man who turned down an MBE) Jonzi D.
All that and the very best international and UK poppers, lockers, house dancers, b-boys and b-girls.
Breakin’ Convention is supported by Arts Council England, BID Blackpool and Blackpool and The Fylde College . Elder statesman of Brit hip hop Jonzi D is making up for lost time from street to stage in Blackpool, reckoning we spent too much time following what the Americans were “telling us was hip hop”, instead of looking to Europe for what was evolving.
“We were one of the first countries to receive the hip hop culture outside America,” says Jonzi D. “When hip hop went out of fashion around ‘85 London should have stepped up. Instead we ended up years behind the development of breaking in Europe. They carried the culture on.”
It was left to hardcore breakers to set the pace and while the terminology is baffling to an outsider Blackpool’s become a hip hop dance capital thanks to resident crews and dance schools.
“It’s a culture rather than a sub culture,” says Jonzi D. “We present a much purer sense of what hip hop is about rather than the night club thing. One of the best rules is it’s not allowed to copy - so it constantly evolves.
“It’s time to let go of the stereotypes and get a truer sense of hip hop culture. Blackpool’s a good place to start.”