News: Feel the heat!

Monday 12 July 2010

Despite temperatures of over 30ºc in London on Saturday, thousands of people turned out to take part in the grande finale of Big Dance in Trafalgar Square. The Big World Dance was made up of five routines choreographed by Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Protein Dance. They were available to learn online, or in workshops arranged around London by the five Big Dance hub organizations – East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, Sadler’s Wells, and Siobhan Davies Dance.

The dance procession started at 12 noon outside the Southbank Centre, snaked across the Golden Jubilee Bridge and up Northumberland Avenue into Trafalgar Square for the performance in Trafalgar Square to a soundtrack played live in Trafalgar Square by DJ Walde.

Big Dance’s Director Jacqueline Rose estimates that Big Dance this year will have touched 1.2million Londoners and this weekend may well have seen the most dance activity ever taking place in the capital. As well as the big event in Traflagar Square many other satellite events were happening in other locations across the city. Down the river at the open air theatre outside the Mayor’s Office thousands of young people were performing in the fifth annual London Youth Dance at the Scoop on Saturday and Sunday; in Lambeth, over 300 people visited Siobhan Davies Studios on their open weekend; in Dalston Avante Garde Dance took over an abandoned post war underground bunker to guide audiences through an interactive site specific performance called _*The Bunker Thing* _and in many other parks, shopping centres, galleries, museums, streets. and open spaces around London, Big Dance was part of other fairs, festivals and events.

Big Dance is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with addition funding and support from Mayor of London, Arts Council England and the Dance Champions Group. Plans are already underway for BigDance 2012 – when the organizers hope to get 3 million of us dancing. One of the headline events will be a large scale dance for thousands – choreographed by Wayne McGregor, the Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer. contributors have been out and about watching -and taking part – in Big Dance events over the last 10 days. Sam Gauntlett took part in the Big World Dance “read her report here”: & check out oour reviews*,* features*&* youth dance pages. More being added all the time…

Watch this clip from Trafalgar Square:

Catherine Shoard went along to find out what motivated people to take part, “Few could deny the benefits. And Big World Dance must be wonderful if you’re a keen pre-teen, or new to the country and eager to bridge a social gap unhampered by a language barrier.” Guardian, 12 July.10

Judith Mackrell asks what happens after the summer excitement of free events, “Some of the summer’s free dance events, such as David Michalek’s Slow Dancing installation, are as rich as anything on stage. But some, quite rightly, offer disposable fun. And when the carnival is over, I worry that serious dance faces a bleak future. In hard times, how many casual punters will pay to see dance in the theatre? How many councils will fund a dancer-in-residence rather than care for the elderly? And just how effective can Boris’s enthusiasm for Big Dance be, given his party’s plan to shift arts funding to US-style corporate sponsorship?” Guardian, 14 July.10

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