News / Ottawa

House of PainT puts on for city's swelling breakdancing scene

Fourteen-year-old festival under the Dunbar Bridge will come with its hardest-hitting lineup yet when it kicks off on Thursday.

NONE Breakdancers spin, flip and fly at last year's House of PainT Festival under the Dunbar Bridge. Uploaded by: LaForge, Matt

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NONE Breakdancers spin, flip and fly at last year's House of PainT Festival under the Dunbar Bridge. Uploaded by: LaForge, Matt

It's no secret that Ottawa's breakdancing and hip hop scene is getting bigger and bigger every year.

And the catalyst for these expanding artforms has been a little party under the bridge that really isn't so little anymore.

One quick glance at this year's House of PainT Festival lineup — boasting as it does A-Trak, Skratch Bastid and Souljazz Orchestra — will have those who know the game thinking that Ottawa's is Canada's breaking haven.

And, according to festival interim general manager Sami Elkout, it is.

“I wouldn't even say it's just about Ottawa. House of PainT is one of the most consistent breaking battles that has been happening for the last 14 years in Canada,” said Elkout, who dances with the Ottawa crew Breadcrumbs. He's been competing nearly every year, with his crew making it to the finals at last year's competition.

“It has definitely solidified itself as something that is consistent in the scene and people in Ottawa are always looking forward to it.”

Over the past 14 years, House of Paint has grown from just a DJ slaying beats for breaking battles to a multi-discipline art showcase that offers live graffiti, slam poetry competitions, youth performances and music and art workshops throughout the weekend.

This year, the fest branched out to include afterparties at various clubs and other events that provide several different touch points throughout the city – helping expand House of PainT's reach to more people than just those who show up under the Dunbar Bridge, which runs over the Rideau River on Bronson Avenue.

“This is the first year that we've decided to partner with people on some of these afterparties, and I think that comes down to being able to connect with our community a bit more and reaching out to the vast people that we have,” Elkout said.

These partner events include a nightime boat cruise with Timekode DJs Zattar, Memetic and Bear Witness from A Tribe Called Red, a Skratch Bastid DJ party at the city's new 27 Club (formerly Zaphod's) and the 2017 DMC Ottawa Regional DJ Battle at Kinki that will feature the city's top DJs vying for a spot on the DMC competitions circuit.

House of PainT's music co-ordinator, Mike Mikkelson, has pulled out all the stops this year with a “kickass” lineup along with several youth performers and local DJs.

The festival gets underway Thursday at La Nouvelle Scene with Slam Poetry before it heads under the Dunbar Bridge Friday to Sunday for a weekend of art.

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