Breakin’ Convention is the powerhouse behind UK hip hop dance-theatre. The festival showcases the finest hip hop and provides a platform for emerging dance artists in the genre. This year, prominent B-Boy Yaman Okur returns to Breakin’ Convention Presents with collaborator Jean-Philippe Collard Neven with the captivating 1mm Au Dessus Du Sol.
The stage is set with a skate ramp and a grand piano, at which the effortlessly cool Neven plays. But Collard Neven isn’t just the accompanying musician, his role brings an extra layer of comedy and wit to the narratives that unfold onstage.
Okur is easy in his movement, he glides through illusory floor-work and complex inversions. As well as being a talented dancer, Okur is an excellent entertainer; he builds a clear relationship with the audience. Darting looks of embarrassment and fear as he flirts with a young woman and later spars with an invisible giant.
The absurdity doesn’t stop coming. A reoccuring theme involving laundry baskets sees Okur under threat from the white baskets that are flung down the skate ramp by Collard Neven, who lurks behind the ramp. Okur’s unique style of breaking and use of props means he can blend balmy narratives with extraordinary tricks, the result is captivating.
This multi-layered work of dance is hugely accessible and entertaining. If you’ve never been to the theatre or watched a ballet, 1mm Au Dessus Du Sol is a great place to start.
According to an interview by Broadway World, the inspiration behind 1mm Au Dessus Du Sol came to Okur during an earthquake in Turkey, in which 55,000 people died within 45 seconds. Okur said “feeling the ground shaking was by far one of the scariest things I’ve felt, and I told myself that night that I wished I was above the ground to not feel it shaking”.