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iPads and smartphones go live with hip-hop dancing | reviews, news & interviews

iPads and smartphones go live with hip-hop dancing

iPads and smartphones go live with hip-hop dancing

BBC and Arts Council open new digital web channel tomorrow for experiment with arts

Vagabond Crew: star attraction of Breakin' Convention this weekend live and onstream

A new publicly funded UK web channel for performing arts opens tomorrow morning, preparing for a major launch this weekend streaming top international streetdancers to the web audience and publishing John Peel's notes on his record collection. The channel, called The Space, is funded by the Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC, and will run for six months over and through the Olympics period as an on-demand channel to put performance out via smartphones, tablets and computers.

Described as an experimental digital arts channel and "communal playground", The Space clearly hopes to test whether the arts public can be broadened by developing specifically devised performing art and archiving for electronic viewing. Technically highly challenging, it is supported by the BBC with a £2million support package to enable the streaming to work across the range of devices and platforms. As for the content, the ACE has earmarked £2.5million to commission specific art projects for the channel, which were submitted before Christmas.

New music buffs are already in a twitter about the presentation of John Peel's files on his remarkable record collection on The Space, which from tomorrow will be uploaded at a rate of 100 items a week. Over the next six months 2,600 albums will be into cyberspace, unfortunately not to listen to, but to enjoy Peel's observations on the artists and their output.

First live event on-stream is Sadler's Wells' popular Bank Holiday hip hop festival, Breakin' Convention, which goes live on the web from 4pm on Bank Holiday Monday, with a programme of the dynamic variants in this eclectic dance form, from breaking, popping, locking and b-boying to new developments such as house dance and live aerosol performance art.

The move coincidentally follows the Royal Ballet's live streaming of a day inside their studios last month, which contributed to a sell-out of the programme of new ballets whose rehearsals were being shown. No doubt the hope will be for The Space to have an equally encouraging effect on ticket sales for Breakin' Convention, now in its ninth year at Sadler's Wells, which takes off on a nationwide UK tour after the three-day weekend festival.

This year's line-up gathered by curator Jonzi D includes current world champions Vagabond Crew, New York artist Storyboard P, who comes from the underground flexing scene, and ILL-Abilities, a breakdance company that challenges the misconceptions about people with disabilities.

The Breakin’ Convention line-up scheduled on Monday 7 May is as follows (subject to change):

  • 4pm doors open - 
Freestyling in the foyers, DJ demos from Tha En4cers, live graff jam and more.
  • 4.30pm Lilian Baylis Studio (tickets limited & free to day-pass holders on the day), 
Freestyle Funk Forum: live improv jam with beatboxers, dancers, musicians, DJs.
  • 6-7.45pm Main Stage
House that Union Jack Built (UK), 
B-Boy Ata (Finland), 
Clash 66 (France/Korea)
, Avant Garde Dance (UK)
, Gemini (France)
, Storyboard P (USA)
, ILL-Abilities (International)
  • 7.55-8.25pm Lilian Baylis Studio (tickets limited & free to day-pass holders on the day)
, Kloe Dean (UK), 
Theo Godson Oloyade (UK)
, Simeon Qsyea (UK)
  • 8.30-9.30pm Main Stage, 
Bodicea (UK), 
Vagabond Crew (France)

Watch Breakin’ Convention live on your internet device from 4pm on Monday 7 May on, and It will also be available on demand after 7 May on

  • Breakin’ Convention runs at Sadler’s Wells over the May Bank Holiday Weekend, Saturday to Monday, followed by a national tour; Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 11-12 May; Birmingham Hippodrome, 14-15 May; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 18-19 May; 
Eden Court, Inverness, 22 May; Sheffield Lyceum, 25-26 May; 
Brighton Dome, 29 May; Colston Hall, Bristol, 31 May; West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, 2 June
  • Breakin' Convention website
  • The Space website

Watch Vagabond Crew battle the US's Battle Born in the 2011 Battle of the Year

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