The Dance We Made
If I'm completely honest an "interactive pop-up dance event" isn't something I'd go out of my way to see. But I was pleasantly surprised by Big Dance 2012's charming project, The Dance We Made, which sees dancer Tim Casson visiting various locations in London to perform dances choreographed in-situ by members of the public...
Unlike the disturbing recent trend for filmed flash mob-style events – which either give the impression that the public is taking part in a massive celebration of all things T-Mobile, or shows participants willingly giving up their time to meet and then contrive to be spontaneous – The Dance We Made is far less cynnical in its approach.
Arriving at a given London location, dancer Tim simply talks to a handful of people about their lives and then, yes, makes a dance out of their particular stories in direct collaboration with the story teller. The brief final pieces are then filmed and uploaded to The Dance We Made website.
Below is the performance created from his most recent trip (day five of 20) to a quiet Old Spitalfields Market, where there is nonetheless a willing group of choreographers. One of the participants, Barry, even manages to sneak in some 'jazz hands' into his routine (a 'tap dance finale' as Tim has it).
Modern dance with a 'participatory' element would, as I said, normally see me making my excuses and looking for the exit light. But I really liked the ebullient nature of The Dance We Made and its rather sweet approach to taking dance out on to the streets of London, inviting the public to almost inadvertantly reveal that there is, if not a dancer, then at least a creative type in everyone.
The Dance We Made runs until July 15. It visits Canary Wharf's Cabot Street today (between 1-2pm), then Peter's Hill for the Millennium Bridge (1-2pm) and Trafalgar Square's north terrace (3.30-4.30pm) on June 20; the Barbican's lakeside terrace (12-2pm) on June 21; and Camden Market (1-2pm) on June 27, with other dates to be confirmed. The project is part of Big Dance 2012, supported by Sadler's Wells, The Swarm and Arts Council England. More at bigdance2012.com.
Spitalfields film: Performer: Tim Casson; Camera: Luc SungYuLun and Alisa Boanta; Editor: Alisa Boanta; Visuals: Simon Allen; Soundtrack: Oli Newman.
Louise's routine at Old Spitalfield's Market
Mark's dance in action
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Looks like Tim is dancing again in 2013. Check out the The Dance WE Made 2013 preview on youtube.com/thedancewemade. He'll be choreographed at the Glastonbury Festival and then across the pond in New York City. Check it out. Watch the dances from last year and subscribe to get this years creations!