News: Looking forward to Big Dance 2012

Monday 9 May 2011

Big World Dance in Trafalgar Square, 10m July 2010
Photo:Kois Miah

A mass dance in Trafalgar Square has become a regular fixture for the end of Big Dance week and next year’s event (which is part of the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad) takes place on Saturday 14 July and is already being masterminded by Wayne McGregor.

The Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer, with an interest in new technology and a track record in cutting edge contemporary work with his own company Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, might not seem the obvious choice for a dance event which will involve 2,000 people of all ages and abilities, but at a briefing last week McGregor said that his own involvement in dance grew out of taking part in folk dance at school – and his first job was as a community dance animateur in Havering. “I am excited at the prospect of being part of Big Dance” he says. “A major part of my preoccupation over the last few years has been to see how I can find ways to inspire creativity among young dancers and choreographers. Trafalgar Square will be the ultimate dance stage for all of us work on. I hope we will turn Big Dance into not just a celebration but a real movement.”

Previous years have seen Trafalagar Square filled with dancers performing routines by choreographers Luca Silvestrini (2010) and Aletta Collins (2008) and an event organised in conjunction with BBC1 and broadcast live on a Saturday evening (2006). For 2012, Wayne McGregor will be focusing on choreography, rather than mass routines. Everyone of us, he says, can choreograph and although he will be setting the vision and overall choreographic framework he wants to see original work being created across London, with members of his own company working in partnership with dance groups, emerging and professional dancers and choreographers from a range of dance backgrounds – and none. It will include unexpected partnerships – “for example I’d like to see young people making work on professional dancers” he says- and McGregor’s role will be to bring all the creation together in a unified whole.

Working in collaboration with the British Council, Big Dance will also be reaching out to schools all over the world in 2012. School children will be able to take part in a global record breaker to create the largest multi-location dance routine ever performed at 1pm on Friday 18 May 2012, to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic Torch in the UK, marking the start of the seven- week countdown to Big Dance Week. This project, which is part of the British Council’s schools programme, invites all schools to provide 20 minutes of dance activity every day in Big Dance week. In 2010 The Big Dance Schools Pledge encouraged over 40,000 children to get up and dance.

Big Dance London, which is supported by Legacy Trust UK, Mayor of London and Arts Council England, includes major new events and continues to be co-ordinated through a partnership between the five Big Dance Hubs: East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, Sadler’s Wells and *Siobhan Davies Dance. *

In 2012, the programme for Big Dance will extend to communities all over England through a network of leading national dance organisations co-ordinated by the Foundation for Community Dance. These hub leads include: South East Dance, Dance South West/Pavilion Dance, Dance 4, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Yorkshire Dance, DanceEast and Dance City. Plans are underway for similar hub networks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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