News: Ten years of Big Dance

Thursday 30 June 2016 by Carmel Smith

Darcey Bussell leads a dance work out in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Bettina Strenske

This week (2 – 10 July) thousands of people will be taking part in Big Dance events across the UK. In London the final Big Dance week starts with hundreds of people performing Akram Khan’s choreography, with original music by Nitin Sawhney, in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. Check our listings for a selection of some of the activities taking place in London on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Big Dance Bus will also be making stops at many locations across London.

The Trafalgar Square mass dance, bringing together people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, has been a highlight of Big Dance in every Big Dance, which has happened biennially since 2006. Previous choreographers were Jeanefer Jean-Charles (2006), Aletta Collins (2008), Luca Silvestrini (2010), Wayne McGregor (2012, Olympic edition) and Rafael Bonachela (2014 Commonwealth edition).

Big Dance has been the biggest and most ambitious celebration of dance in the UK. Delivered through a unique partnership led by the Mayor of London and People Dancing, Big Dance is led by many organisations including in London: East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, Sadler’s Wells and Siobhan Davies Dance known as the Big Dance Hubs.

Over the last ten years, Big Dance has focused on four key areas of development:
• Creating dance hubs, a new collaborative network across London, the UK and internationally to support participatory work
• Championing the A to Z of dance to reflect the full range of dance styles in the UK
• Highlighting the value of mass dancing in fostering the spirit of community
• Promoting dance as a contribution to health and wellbeing

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Supporting London’s creative industries is one of my core priorities as Mayor, and dance is a key part of the capital’s cultural offer. For the past decade, the Big Dance has energised audiences through hundreds of events and performances. Its work in bringing communities together both in London and across the globe is now more important than ever. Akram Khan’s moving choreography has inspired people of all abilities to prove that whatever your age, dancing is a great way to have fun and keep fit.”

Photos of the launch of Big Dance 2016: Bettina Strenske

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