Open Art Surgery 2017

A Hip Hop theatre workshop

Call for Applications

What is it about?

Breakin’ Convention and Harbourfront Centre know Toronto has a wealth of Hip Hop talent. We also recognize there is a lack of quality professional development opportunities available. We are proud to offer Hip Hop artists/crews a unique opportunity to develop theatrical skills. Participants will work with dance theatre heavyweights, Jonzi D and Crazy Smooth for one week of mentoring, experimenting and devising new work that culminates in a public performance.

Who is it for?

You don’t need to have any previous theatrical experience but you should have a solid understanding of your own Hip Hop discipline (dance, rap, dj, beatbox etc). The course is designed to explore ways of approaching choreography, story-telling, direction and staging. We aim to give you the means to create theatre from fresh, new angles without losing the essence of what you do.

Breakin’ Convention is committed to the elevation of Hip Hop theatre and believe this is a valuable opportunity for even the most accomplished Hip Hop artists.


Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

Open Art Surgery dates

Monday, March 13 – Saturday, March 18, 2017

Application schedule

Application deadline: November 1, 2016
Invited artists informed: November 15, 2016

See application details below.


The course is FREE to successful applicants. However all participants must be available for the full week as outlined above.

For more information about Breakin’ Convention visit

“Open Art Surgery challenged the boundaries of Hip Hop conceptually and allowed us to let loose, be creative but ourselves in a different setting. Hip Hop can take place anywhere. Bringing Hip Hop to a theatre helped us as bboys and bgirls step outside the regular battle/competition scenario and changed the audiences’ perception too.

— Judi Lopez, OAS participant 2014

Course details

Following a hugely successful first outing in 2014, Breakin’ Convention partners up with Harbourfront Centre to deliver another edition of Open Art Surgery. Participants from the first Toronto Open Art Surgery went on to develop work further, receive funding and were programmed for various performances.

Led by Jonzi D with Crazy Smooth, 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 techniques.

You will also devise and develop a new idea, applying the new skills you acquire along the way. The week will culminate, on the Saturday night, in the Open Art Surgery performance at Harbourfront Centre. You will share the work (in progress) that you have developed and it will then be opened up to the audience for questions and critique.


Please email the following details to address below:

1. Your contact details including name, email, telephone and address.

2. A statement about yourself and/or crew and your reasons for wishing to attend Open Art Surgery (400 words max).

3. A link to footage of your past theatre work, performances or battles.

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

The deadline for applications is November 1, 2016.

You will be informed of our final decision by November 15, 2016.

Submit your application, or direct any questions you may have to: Lynanne Sparrow, Artistic Associate, Harbourfront Centre on 416-973-4231 or

My experience of Toronto and its diverse, vibrant arts scene has always left me with a desire to return. Open Art Surgery will allow me to connect with artists across a range of disciplines to create new and exciting theatre.

— Jonzi D, Artistic Director, Breakin’ Convention

Course Tutors

Jonzi D

Jonzi D is the 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. In 2004 he founded the Hip Hop dance theatre festival, Breakin’ Convention at Sadler’s Wells. Most recently he created The Letter which explores his response to being offered an MBE.

Crazy Smooth

Dancing since 1997, Crazy Smooth is one of Canada’s top street dancers, performers, choreographers, instructors, judges, and community leaders. He is the founder and artistic director of Bboyizm, an award-winning street-dance company that has been instrumental in the preservation and proliferation of street dance in Canadaand internationally.

About Breakin’ Convention

The UK’s Breakin’ Convention is one of the world’s leading Hip Hop theatre organisations and is committed to celebrating, elevating and supporting Hip Hop theatre. Based at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and spearheaded by Jonzi D, we work with the most respected, innovative and inspirational artists.

Through our world-renowned international festival, national and international tours, professional development, youth projects and educational programme we seek to position Hip Hop dance alongside more historically established artforms.

In 2022 Breakin’ Convention will open its Hip Hop academy in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, UK.

Home  \  Who We Are  \  Submissions & Partnerships  \  Open Art Surgery 2017