Break it Down is all about the transformational power of dance & the powerful positive impact that REAL Hip Hop Culture can have on young people when used correctly.
We believe that Dance & Hip Hop has the power to inspire individuals both physically and mentally by uniting people in shared activity whilst also connecting each individual to his or her own unique creative force. And we also believe that It has the power to propel people in new directions, to help them transgress any barrier – to succeed and break it down!
This for us is an end in itself – but also, more importantly, when you break it down, it is a means to an end.
This is why we are dedicated to helping young people through providing them with accessible instruction programs in the dance form known as “breakin’” “bboyin” or more commonly known as “break dance”.
Break It down covers all aspects of Hip Hop culture and tuition that includes Breakin, Poppin, Rock Dance, MC & Beatbox Skills , Graffiti, DJ Turntablism, Street Workout, development of true knowledge of self and professional international opportunities.
We aim our activities at disengaged young people in deprived areas. We want to help them connect to themselves and each other; and to encourage them to develop discipline, self-esteem and physical fitness – to make them feel like they really can break it down.
With the assistance of funders we find a suitable venue, and provide experienced and vetted tutors to market and then successfully deliver our programs.
Our strategic plan is to deliver long term programs and encourage students to follow a bespoke graduation route by progressing through assessments which recognise and reward their engagement and technical ability.
Ultimately, we want to create opportunities for Break it Down graduates to assist our projects – we will provide them with mentoring by industry professionals and help them learn new skills whilst they help us with fundraising and project delivery.
We are a new charity – but our people have a strong track record in the field.
Break it Down was inspired by, and seeks to build on the success of, a community dance program which ran for many years in the South Wales Valleys.
The program, called The Get Fresh Project, provided breakin’ dance development in Rhondda Cynon Taff between 2007 and 2014, and engaged hundreds of young people throughout its operation – many of whom came from deprived and troubled backgrounds. A number of the beneficiaries were engaged in the programs for the full seven years, and benefitted substantially in terms of self-esteem, and physical and mental well-being.
Indeed, throughout the project, it was clear that breakin’ in particular, provided the young people involved with a way to harness their creative energy and develop a sense of purpose. Parents and schools alike confirmed what an amazing influence the program had on the participants – by giving these young people an outlet and a focus they engaged better with peers, parents and teachers – and engaged better at school and home alike.
We came to realise that you can’t just tell young people to try harder at school, or behave better.
The opportunities for some young people are so limited, and their aspirations and self-esteems so low, that one needs in some senses to start from scratch. The starting point, when you actually break it down, is to provide young people with a focus and a tool for change – and that is why we got started, and that is why we do what we do.
The Get Fresh Project was created and delivered by Jason Barker aka BBOY Slammellzee. Jason, and other Break it Down partners, have also been driving forces behind the creation and delivery of cutting-edge international dance events in South Wales, such as Ya Don’t Stop BBOY Burnout (South Wales Valleys) and Breakin’ the Bay (Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay).
Jason now acts as Break it Down’s Creative Director, and armed with a wealth of insight and experience, is tasked with delivering projects in our target areas – from Cardiff to London.
So – let’s Break it Down!
- Miranda BalinValleys Kids/ArtWorks Artistic DirectorJason (Slammo) has a longstanding working relationship with ArtWorks, Valleys Kids. He is an exceptional practitioner whose first and foremost interest is the young people he works with. He has achieved ‘the impossible’ with many of our young people who have become dedicated artists in their own right, can’t recommend him highly enough.
- To have witnessed the growth of the young people throughout the projects and see them become fine young men has been an honour and inspiration and I am truly proud to have been a part of its successPoe OneStyle Elements
- Definitely helped our young people to become more creative in the arts through the forum of breakin'. Really shook off their stereotypical image of male dance instructors with engaging personality and knowledge of the barriers and issues that they face in being taken seriously by their peers and community leaders.Andy MckayBad Bikes
- Jason's contribution to Breakin' the Bay, as part of a team of curators, was fantastic. He brought knowledge, passion and ambition to the project and was able to deliver on all three, both for the artists involved and for the audiences that watched. Jason challenged us to think bigger and better about the event and I feel that this paid dividends for all involved.Rob Ashelfordformerly Associate Producer, Wales Millennium Centre, now Programme Manager, Nesta
- Jason made a huge positive impact to many young people across Rhondda Cynon Taff, through his work as a break dance teacher and mentor.Liz DriscollRCTCBC Cultural Services