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The city is brimming with dance events for this summer’s London Festival 2012

Already home to dance havens the Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Southbank Centre, London always has plenty to offer by way of groundbreaking dance productions. This year dance in the city is ramped up a notch by the London Festival 2012, seven weeks of celebration to culminate the UK’s Cultural Olympiad. With more than 25, 000 artists taking part from all 204 Olympic and Paralympic nations, there’s plenty in store for dance lovers this summer in the capital.

big dance festival UK

The Big Dance festival kicked things off in May, launching a nationwide celebration of dance, designed to encourage everyone to get their dancing shoes on. Upcoming Big Dance events include Physical Ballet, a free ballet-meets-parkour extravaganza choreographed by Daniel Jones at the King Edward VII Park in Wembley on 25th July.


Pop along to Victoria Park in London’s East End on 29th July to take part in the Big Dance Theatre Workout. This free, interactive dance session gives you the chance to learn the moves from the classic movie, Grease. Workshops and demonstrations will have you hand-jiving and twisting like Danny and Sandy in no time, before a final performance allows you to join the cast and dance your socks off.


Alongside the Big Dance events, the Southbank Centre is running a season of specially commissioned Olympic dance works, many highlighting the performances and choreography of disabled dance stars. The much-anticipated Candoco Unlimited premieres on 7th September, with award-winning choreographers Marc Brew and Claire Cunningham, each creating a large dance piece for Candoco Dance Company’s international company of 12 disabled and non-disabled dancers. Guest dancers from Beijing and Rio de Janeiro will join the Company, in what will be a showcase for the skill and artistry of some of the leading disabled artists working in contemporary dance today.


creating the spectacle sue austin
Creating the spectacle, sue austin

Sue Austin’s Creating the Spectacle also takes place at the Southbank, as part of Unlimited, a programme that encourages collaborations between disability arts organisations and performers to create brand new works that celebrate the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Running from 29th August to 9th September, this ambitious work presents a series of performances by performer and self-propelled underwater wheelchair. It certainly is sure to create a spectacle, with the aim being to encourage debate about the nature and value of contemporary dance when explored through the experience of disability.


Further performances at the Southbank include, Private Dancer, Janice Parker’s innovative work that creates a life-size luminous house, inhabited by 18 eclectic performers. With the aim being to imitate the personal space of our own homes, the performances are shared with an audience of one, for a truly immersive and intimate dance experience like no other. On 31st August, Marc Brew presents Fusional Fragments, another new work that promises an athletic fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance, while 7th September brings the renowned David Toole and Hind to the stage for The Impending Storm, a collaboration between disable and able-bodied dancers from the UK and South Africa.

play without words

Elsewhere in the city, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre continues its smash-hit run of Matthew Bourne’s Play Without Words until 5th August. Its first ever revival since its debut at the National Theatre in 2002, it tells of the struggle for dominance between the sexes during the swinging 60s, with a live jazz score.


And if you’re planning on a trip to London this summer, consider the Crowne Plaza London City.


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