News: Hip Hop triumph

Monday 1 June 2009

For the second year running ITV’s show Britain’s Got Talent has been won by a street dance act. East London troupe Diversity follow last years winner George Sampson, scooping 24.9% of the 3.94 million public votes cast, while the favourite, singer Susan Boyle achieved a 20.2% share.

They also beat another hip hop group and an eleven year old street dancer in the finals. North London based Flawless have been performing together longer than Diversity and have performed in Breakin’ Convention, the International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Aidan Davis has never had a dance lesson and has learned his moves over the past six months through watching MTV and using the internet.

Both groups have a passionate commitment to dance. Flawless talk about ‘chasing the dream, not the competition’. “A lot of people don’t dream any more. For so many young people, everything is today and tomorrow and that’s it. There’s nothing for them to attain. We want to put that back into people’s lives.” group member Antony Duncan tells the Telegraph, 29 May 09

Diversity are equally driven, although they haven’t been together for so long and so far their only paid performance has been in an Essex shopping centre. “We entered the competition without any expectations, just to do our best. We’re just so proud to be where we are. We’ve worked so hard and we’re really committed to what we do” says choreographer Ashley Banjo. Read more in the Independent, 1 June 09

That they have all got to the finals in a hugely popular TV talent show says something about the way that hip hop is becoming an established dance form*.* Coincidentally the Breakin’ Convention 09 tour finished this weekend, with the London and regional performances having been seen by almost 21,000 people – a 22% increase on the last tour in 2007.

Breakin’ Convention is now a year round organisation based at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and supported by Arts Council England. Sadler’s Well Director of Marketing and Communication Kingsley Jayasekera said “Of all the dance styles it doesn’t surprise me that hip hop dance has really captured the public’s imagination. We have seen a massive increase in the popularity of the genre since Breakin’ Convention began in 2004. From what we are seeing, hip hop dance is emerging as the most popular dance style among young people today, and this year alone we received nearly 2000 submissions from young hopefuls wanting to perform at Breakin’ Convention 2009. This year almost 700 performers, and 66 companies actively auditioned to be part of Breakin’ Convention’s regional tour, while between 2008 and 2009 performers applications for involvement in Breakin’ Convention in London alone increased by more than 120%.”


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