Back To The Lab 

A hip hop choreographer’s course. 13-25 January 2020


What is it about?

Breakin’ Convention knows the UK has a wealth of hip hop dance talent.

That’s why Breakin’ Convention is pleased to offer four hip hop choreographers a unique opportunity to go Back To The Lab. Participants, along with up to four of their own dancers, will work with dance heavyweights, Jonzi D, Jonathan Burrows, Ivan Blackstock and Anthony Lennon over two exciting weeks of mentoring, experimenting and devising new work.

Who is it for?

Aimed at experienced choreographers, the course is designed to explore new ways of approaching choreography, direction and staging. We aim to give you the means to approach your work from fresh, new angles without losing the essence of what you do. Breakin’ Convention is committed to the elevation of the UK’s hip hop dance theatre development and believe this is a valuable opportunity for even the most accomplished choreographers to go Back To The Lab! There is also one place open to a choreographer from Europe.


Please send the following to

  1. Your contact details including name, email, telephone and address.
  2. A statement of your present artistic focus, background on the dancers you work with and your reasons for wishing to attend Back To The Lab (400 words max).
  3. A link to footage of your work.
  4. If you are based outside of London and require accommodation and travel in order to attend the course.

Participants and their dancers must be able to commit to both weeks of the course. Please do not apply if you are unable to make any of the dates.

The deadline for applications is Friday 20 September 2019. You will be informed of our final decision by Friday 4 October.

If you have any questions please contact Michelle Norton on +44 (0) 20 7863 8220 or

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Further Info


The course is free. Participants (choreographer and dancers) will each receive £150 in expenses per week for up to four dancers.

Accommodation and travel are available for choreographers and dancers attending the course from outside London. Please indicate on your application if this support is required. Local travel will not be covered for London-based artists. A travel bursary of up to £150 per person is available to choreographers from outside the UK but within the EU.

Course Details

Week 1: Mon 13 – Fri 17 January 2020

Led by Jonathan Burrows with Jonzi D, you will work alongside the other participants taking part in workshops exploring a variety of choreographic methods through practical and discussion-based lessons.

The focus of the week will be looking at alternative approaches to animating a story, concept or idea through hip hop dance movement and technique.

The aim of Week 1 is to challenge participants to try and work in different ways and gain new choreographic tools. 

Week 2: Mon 20 – Sat 25 January 2020

The second week of the course is led by Jonzi D, Ivan Blackstock & Anthony Ekundayo Lennon. Here you will devise and develop a new idea, with your own dancers, and apply the skills you have learned during Week 1. The week will culminate, on the Saturday night, in the Back To The Lab performance in the Lilian Baylis Studio. You will share the work (in progress) that you have developed and it will then be opened up to the audience for questions and criticism.

The aim of Week 2 is to give you the time, space and opportunity to experiment with new ideas and approaches without the pressure of a formal performance. It allows you to put into practise what you have learned, take creative risks you might otherwise not and receive high quality mentorship.

Other benefits

Participants will receive mentorship from a lighting designer who will work on lighting plans for your work. You will also attend dance shows at Sadler’s Wells and spend time post-show with Jonzi and the other participants critiquing the work. There will also be other sessions from a range of industry experts on funding, producing and touring and marketing, and your performances will be filmed and photographed professionally.

Lead Mentors


Jonzi D

Jonzi is the founder and Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention and Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells. He has been actively involved in British hip hop culture since the early eighties and is widely regarded as a pioneer of hip hop theatre. Since graduating from the London Contemporary Dance School, he founded Jonzi D Productions and created Lyrikal Fearta, Aeroplane Man, TAG... Just Writing My Name and Markus The Sadist and The Letter, in response to being offered an MBE.


Jonathan Burrows

Jonathan danced with the Royal Ballet for 13 years before pursuing his own choreography. His main focus now is an ongoing series of duets with the composer Matteo Fargion, with whom he has given over 300 performances across 31 countries. They are contributing artists for William Forsythe’s Motionbank website project. Other high profile commissions include work for Sylvie Guillem, Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt and the National Theatre. Burrows has been an Associate Artist at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Gent, London’s South Bank Centre and Kaaitheater Brussels. He is a visiting member of faculty at PARTS in Brussels and has been Guest Professor at universities in London, Hamburg, Berlin and Giessen. A Choreographer's Handbook (2010) by Jonathan is available from Routledge Publishing.


Anthony Ekundayo Lennon

Accomplished actor and director, Anthony is the newly appointed Trainee Artistic Director at Talawa Theatre Company where he previously directed the (TYPT) sell-out production of Hatch at Hackney Showroom. He is also Resident Director for the world premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman UK tour. He’s directed his own re-visioning of Shakespeare’s Othello set in a world of ‘Black Ops,’ eavesdropping, surveillance and conspiracy at the Birmingham Hippodrome and also Article 8, George and BATR Zone C at Theatre 503. He was the assistant director on Iqbal Khan’s production of Othello at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been staff director at the National Theatre as well as assisting at the Almeida, Tricycle, Royal Court, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Talawa Theatre Company. His career highlight was as assistant director on Debbie Allen’s all-black production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.


Ivan Blackstock

Ivan Blackstock describes himself as multifaceted artist and curator who has his roots in hip hop and pop culture, stimulating audiences through movement with multi-disciplinary art forms in conventional and unconventional environments. Blackstock invites the audience to his world of conceptual methods of sound and visual storytelling. His signature style of work has a multi-sensory edge-like quality with an incredible dexterous punch. He works closely in breaking structures and forming new ones using many tools and methods through research and improvisation and to support his concepts for each creative work.