Dance Umbrella, London’s annual international dance festival has today announced its full programme of live and hybrid performances for the 2023 festival, taking place between 6 – 31 October in venues across the capital and beyond.
Artistic Director & CEO of Dance Umbrella, Freddie Opoku-Addaie said “In 2023, Dance Umbrella celebrates 45 years in motion.
This year the programme showcases the very best of hip hop culture, performance art, audio-visual experiences and operetta from artists originating from Cameroon, Greece, South Africa, Taiwan and Croydon.
The breadth of work in the programme is astounding. Along with our funders and presenting partners we are proud to make excellence affordable with a range of ticket prices, as well as free, and pay what you can events across London and online.
It’s a privilege to be able to introduce audiences to some of the most inquisitive, boundary-pushing dance artists from around the globe.”
London Battle will take over Somerset House’s iconic open-air courtyard for a day packed with showcases, workshops, cyphers, live DJs and a big outdoor party.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip hop culture and with Breaking set to be the highlight of the 2024 Paris Olympics, Dance Umbrella and Somerset House are bringing together some of the most exciting talent from the four corners of London to go head-to-head across a diverse range of styles.
Curated by choreographer Jade Hackett, you will be the judge, deciding which part of our global city brings the best dance flavour – north, south, east or west.
For the live programme, Change Tempo returns for 2023 to introduce London to two international artists whose transformational works blur the line between dance and visual art, challenging cultural biases.
As part of Change Tempo’s double bill, SU PinWen’s performance art piece Girl’s Notes interrogates notions of gender, drawing inspiration from the traditional views set out in a Taiwanese text which directs girls in the ‘correct’ way to be a woman. Featuring a live on-stage pianist, LIN Mai-ke, this captivating work explores the intentions behind our everyday actions. SU PinWen will also present an accompanying digital piece that will be available as part of Dance Umbrella’s Digital Programme.
Completing the doubleheader for Change Tempo, in Comme un symbole, French visual artist and choreographer Alexandre Fandard embodies the image of the marginalised youth, bursting onto the stage to portray a figure as despised as it is eroticised. The work subverts this stereotype in a way that is both deeply compelling and ultimately surprising.
For children aged 3-5 years, Skydiver will tour venues around London on the Orbital Touring Network, which celebrates its 10th year. Prepare to soar through the fluffy clouds where flocks of birds and butterflies flutter. Explore the dream-like world that waits above us, in this multi-sensory dance experience for families.
Take your little ones on a magical journey with Skydiver and experience how movement, sound and stunning visuals bring whimsical characters to life in an enchanting encounter in the skies. Greek dance artist, dramaturg and director Xenia Aidonopoulou makes visually compelling dance-theatre works filled with wonder and imagination that will captivate even the youngest audience members. Presented by Little Big Dance and Dance Umbrella in partnership with the Orbital Touring Network.
Get ready to experience a collision of analogue and digital worlds as hip hop movement architects BirdGang Ltd bring together an intergenerational cast from the communities of Croydon for Family (dys)Function, part of This is Croydon, The Mayor of London’s London Borough of Culture.
Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z and everyone in between are invited to join a family gathering at Stanley Arts. This new production will feature BirdGang’s unique blend of movement, spoken word and music, in a light-hearted exploration of connectivity across generations. An award-winning company with hip hop at its heart, BirdGang Ltd choreograph, teach and produce avant-garde dance for stage, screen and live events. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience their latest dance invention. Presented and produced by Dance Umbrella with support from Stanley Arts.
Completing the live programme, ONE DROP is by turns a speculative summoning, a decolonial dream, an autopsy of the Western stage, and an operetta.
The title refers to two concepts – the one drop reggae drumbeat, and the one drop rule of the Race Separation Act, created in the US in the early 1900s, in which a single drop of “Black blood” made a person “Black” despite their appearance. This work interrogates the ghosts of the Western stage and its relationship to capitalism, coloniality and modernity.
Award-winning Cameroonian-Finnish choreographer and artistic director Sonya Lindfors creates important work exploring power, representation, and Black body politics.
Available to a global and national audience from 6 – 31 October, Dance Umbrella’s digital programme consists of a curated selection of dance films from Ioanna Paraskevopoulou, Trajal Harrell, Vincenzo Lamagna & Danilo Moroni, and SU PinWen.
Trajal Harrell will provide a Choreographer’s Cut. Now in its fourth year, this edition of Choreographer’s Cut sees Harrell selecting his 2019 work Dancer of the Year to discuss exclusively for Dance Umbrella audiences.
Stopgap Dance Company presents Dance Tapes. This provides a series of choreographies of speech and sound created by Disabled artists from the UK, Japan, and Zimbabwe. These artists are Kazuyo Morita, who presents On The Way To My Body and Shyne Phiri with Within My Own Bones.
Finally, Artist Encounters is an online professional development workshop with a guest artist focusing on cultivating practical skills, sharing knowledge, and asking questions that resonate.
On sale from September, Dance Umbrella’s Digital Pass is Pay What You Can and will give audiences access to the entire digital programme within this year’s festival, available online to global and national audiences from 6 – 31 October 2023.
As previously announced, marking a UK premiere at the festival this year, and making her Dance Umbrella Festival debut, Athens-based Ioanna Paraskevopoulou brings MOS to the Barbican. Witness the stage transform into a cinematic soundscape, as two performers create a captivating audio-visual experience. Using everyday objects: umbrellas, plungers, and of course, coconut shells, MOS evokes the movie sounds made by expert foley artists for film and TV.
The physical act of generating audio while following the film becomes an energetic dance, with tap numbers turned into recordings that are looped, distorted, paused, and intensified. Ioanna Paraskevopoulou is an award-winning dancer and choreographer who focuses on the interplay between movement, sound, and imagery, and whose past collaborators have included Dance Umbrella Artist Dimitris Papaioannou.
Intoxicating expression and pulsating rhythms combine as the award-winning South African dance company Via Katlehong returns to Dance Umbrella, to debut on the Sadler’s Wells stage.
Bringing together choreography from two sought-after dance creatives, Via Injabulo is a celebration of global movement styles. Mixing house dance and top rock with pantsula, a South African township dance, Marco da Silva Ferreira’s førm inførms examines the idea of collective identity. In Emaphakathini, Amala Dianor seeks to break down borders with a feast of rousing beats from live on-stage DJing, drawing on traditional dance techniques to explore the individual personalities within the Via Katlehong company.