A critically acclaimed hip hop powerhouse, the Sadlers Wells Project, Breakin’ Convention, is also running youth schemes for 13 – 16 year olds. Here one individual, Poppy writes about her incredible experience.
I love lyrics, poetry and music but until last year had only ever written poems in my bedroom, sung in front of close friends and family and danced to in the kitchen. After lots of Google searching, I came across ‘Future Elements’, a project managed by Breakin’ Convention in February half term and led by professional hip hop artists. The project is a chance for us to get our voices heard and for 13-16 year olds from all UK postcodes to join together to create a music video. We are given complete freedom to express ourselves whether that’s through dance, set/costume design, rap, spoken word or story-boarding. Mentors lead workshops and are a constant source of inspiration, but they hand it over to us to create the concept, song, lyrics and costumes for the video. At the end of the project, there’s a real sense of achievement that everything in the video is a result of our minds being put together as a group.
To begin with, I was unsure about signing up because the little voices in my head told me that I wouldn’t fit in and didn’t have enough experience but I’m so glad I did it because this project is a true gem! The atmosphere is so inclusive and you feel so welcome it’s impossible to feel out of place. Also, there’s something about walking through the doors of the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells that feels like a wave of excitement and warmth. Everybody there is filled with such a positive and supportive energy, so that when I first came to the project I soon realised there was no need to be nervous.
Since I discovered and participated in the project, I feel like I have stepped into a world which is far bigger than that notebook in my bedroom. Over the last year, I feel blessed that I have been able to create alongside other like-minded people doing the things that I love. Also, in my mind the ‘Future Elements’ project has lasted so much longer than just a week. Another way that the project helped my confidence develop is the ‘Future Elements Night’, which gives us the chance to perform alongside other young artists and dancers from across the UK before the music video is premiered for the first time (followed by an after-party!). This was the first time I had performed one of my own songs in front of a big crowd – something I had never even considered doing before.
Welcoming, inclusive and supportive, I am sure that this initiative is going to keep on inspiring young people for generations to come. In London, on our very doorstep, there is a place which is bringing people from all different backgrounds and ages together. They have lifted us up, made us feel valued and shown us a future filled with possibility. Thank you Breakin’ Convention!