News: Big Schools dance welcomes the Olympics

Thursday 17 May 2012 by Carmel Smith

Dancers rehearsing for their Big Dance Schools Pledge performance at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Photo: Sandy Todd

This Friday lunchtime (1pm BST, Greenwich meantime +1), in around 20,000 school playgrounds and halls across the UK some 600,000 school children will be dancing a five minute piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor, to specially created music by Joel Cadbury and Scanner.

As if that wasn’t enough, they will be joined by students in 55 countries around the world in an attempt to create a new Guiness World Record for the Largest Dance Routine – Multi-venue.

It’s all part of Big Dance 2012 the programme which aims to get five million people dancing this summer as part of the London 2012 Festival – and the record breaking dance has been scheduled to mark the arrival of the Olympic torch in the UK.

McGregor’s lively routine takes inspiration from different Olympic sports, including fencing, rowing, running and basketball. As part of signing up to the Big Dance’s Schools Pledge, being run around the world in collaboration with the British Council, schools were given dance related educational resources in return for the commitment to teach their students the choreography, take part in a Guinness World Record attempt and undertake to do an additional 20 minutes of dance a day during Big Dance Week (7-15 July 2012).

One of the highlights of Big Dance Week will be a mass dance event in Trafalgar Square, directed by Wayne McGregor. It will include link ups with Bejjing (Olympic host city, 2008) and Rio de Janeiro who will be hosting the games in 2016 – and also organising their own Big Dance Rio.

Big Dance is funded by the Legacy Trust UK, set up to create a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. It is being organised by the Mayor of London and Arts Council England, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Photo: Dancers rehearsing for their Big Dance Schools Pledge performance at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, by Sandy Todd

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