News: New film shows London as the City of Dance

Thursday 20 October 2016 by Mark Doerfel

An eclectic mix of London’s dance stars have joined the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s #LondonIsOpen campaign to showcase the very best in dance from across the capital in a new short film – released today in the final days of the Dance Umbrella festival, which ends this weekend.

The Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign was launched to spread the message that London remains united, full of creativity and open for business following the EU referendum in June. This sentiment is strongly felt across the dance community, and is reflected in the range of international dance seen this month as part of Dance Umbrella. The festival’s Director Emma Gladstone, who acted as a consultant on the film, said: “Dance Umbrella welcomes artists and audiences from across the world to our amazing city. 75 artists have flown in from nine different countries, giving 34 performances in 16 venues around town. Openness is the key: London is Open!”

City of Dance brings together a huge variety of professional and amateur dancers and dance companies to share the message that ‘London is Open’, including Arlene Phillips, Tamara Rojo of English National Ballet, Jonzi D of Breakin’ Convention, Eric Underwood and Thiago Soares of The Royal Ballet, Debbie Moore of Pineapple Dance Studios, Dame Gillian Lynne, Mark Baldwin of Rambert, BalletBoyz, The National Youth Theatre, Ballet Black and Julie Cunningham to name just a few. The film showcases the vast range and diversity of styles available to watch and take part in across the capital, including ballet, krumping, salsa and contemporary. It travels across distinct London landscapes and offers a glimpse into some of the most famous dance studios across the capital, including Barbican Centre, Sadler’s Wells, Somerset House and The Royal Opera House.

Jacqueline Rose, Big Dance Director at City Hall, said: “Creativity thrives when new ideas and perspectives are encouraged to flourish and this city prides itself on welcoming everyone with open arms. It is great to see the breadth of London’s dance industry joining our campaign to show London is open to creativity and talent from around the world.”


Full list of dancers, companies and dance institutions featured:
Dancers and companies: Ivan Blackstock, BirdGang Dance Company; Debbie Moore, Founder of Pineapple Dance Studios; Maria Yacoob and Celia Francis, contemporary dancers and teachers; Kiran Kishore, Bollywood Fusion dancer and teacher; Aneta Zwierzynska, Dance & Capoeira teacher and choreographer; iD-Dance Youth Company with thanks to Ryan Jenkins, International Creative Director and Stylianos Thomadakis, dancer; Ballet Black; Amelia Carwell, dancer; Ceyda Tanc Dance; Mark Baldwin, Rambert Artistic Director; Anna Fiorentini Performance Troupe; Matt Harris & Jasmine Takacs, Strictly Come Dancing troupe dancers; Gisele Edwards and Milton Lopes in ‘Calling Tree’ by Rosemary Lee and Simon Whitehead; Julie Cunningham & Company, Choreography: Julie Cunningham, Dancers: Harry Alexander, Hannah Burfield, Julie Cunningham and Alex Williams; BalletBoyz; Akademi Dance Company and dancers Subhash Viman, Elena Catalano, Mathangi Keshavan; Arlene Phillips, Choreographer and Theatre Director; Eric Underwood, Soloist at The Royal Ballet, model and presenter; Gillian Lynne OBE, Choreographer and theatre and television presenter; Candoco Dance; Thiago Soares, Lead Principal Dancer of The Royal Ballet; Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director and Lead Principal Dancer of English National Ballet; Mix It! Dance group; Melody Squire, choreographer and Sol Dans Company; Alice Laidler and Estelle Payet, freelance dancers and choreographers; Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and dancer Noora Kela; Dance Umbrella team; Jonny Labey, actor and dancer; Inarah Manji, dancer; Jonzi D, Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention; Uchenna Dance; East London Dance; Jonadette Carpio, dancer and BBC Young Dancer 2015 Hip Hop finalist; Claire Hough, AKA ShortieLDN AKA ShortieBuck, of Buckness Personified; Karim Saber, dancer; Clint Sinclair, Breaker and founder of Rain Crew; with thanks to Duwane Taylor, Buckness Personified and Hakim Saber, Rain Crew; Leap of Faith and their teacher Molly Wright; Nora (Eleanor Sikorski and Flora Wellesley-Wesley) performing the triple bill ‘Nora Invites…’; ‘National Youth Theatre’s 2016 REP Company production of Romeo + Juliet, directed by Kate Hewitt and choreographed by Polly Bennett’ with thanks to Joe Duggan, Head of Communications at National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.

Venues and locations: Barbican Centre, The Royal Opera House, Somerset House, Sadler’s Wells, Pineapple Dance Studios, Rambert, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Brixton Skate Park, St Luke’s Primary School, St George’s Gardens, Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Aspire National Centre for Spinal Injuries, Bengali Workers Association Surma Community Centre, English National Ballet Studios, London Palladium, Platform Theatre and Ambassadors Theatre.

More on #LondonisOpen
A film of famous locations opening their doors.
All campaign videos to date

The film’s dance track for the video, No Letting Go, is singer The Phat Lady Sings’ debut release.



Some of the participants talk about their lives in dance, in London:

“London has been my home for over 50 years and for me it is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of dance, dance companies and their extraordinary dancers. There are dance schools and centres spreading far and wide all over the city and people can see dance or take classes, whatever age and whatever genre they want to engage in. I want to encourage everyone to take a class and have fun!” Arlene Phillips, Choreographer and Theatre Director

“There is nowhere quite like London – it is truly a unique city – each borough has its own distinct character and history which in turn shapes its culture. It boasts some of the best dance companies, venues and dancers in the world. In ballet we like to cherish our traditions while working on new creations, experimenting with other styles and cultures. We could not do that without the diverse and high calibre talent that the capital attracts.” Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director and Lead Principal Dancer of English National Ballet

“I fell in love with this city that never stops moving ten years ago when I moved here from New York and have since made it my home. This campaign is very close to my heart as I believe dance should be accessible to everyone no matter what your background.” Eric Underwood, Soloist at The Royal Ballet

“I set up Pineapple Dance 35 years ago and believe it is the most open door in London! We have dancers aged 3-103 coming from every background – from bankers to disabled children to people who save up to pay for class each week. Dancing together in the studio each week creates a family that supports one another and I think that is a wonderful thing which I hope only continues to grows.” Debbie Moore, Founder of Pineapple Dance Studios

“Dance is an artform which brings everyone together from all walks of life and lets you express yourself. Whether you are a young person who is looking to making a career in dance or an elderly person who just loves to move, dance is a physical outlet to be creative and let go and that’s what I think makes it so special and inclusive.” Mark Baldwin – Artistic Director Rambert

“I first danced at the London Palladium over 50 years ago and it is as thrilling to be filmed here for you now as it was to perform there then. I have choreographed over 70 shows and have seen how dance inspires and unites people. Dance is always changing and progressing – it is just as important today as it was then and I hope we continue to support dance in every way we can.” Gillian Lynne DBE, award winning television and theatre Director/Choreographer.

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