During the lead-up to Big Dance 2012, a number of ‘microgrants’ were awarded to dance organisations across London. Here is a snapshot of some of the projects that were developed:
London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
Choreographer Rosie Whitney-Fish produced Dear Lido for Twickenham Lido, which was performed by young people from several schools in the borough. They took part in a learning residency experience, where they were able to create dance-theatre pieces and some of the repertoire from the Dear Lido UK tour.
Despite being from a variety of schools and backgrounds, the young participants came together to form a creative working relationship with each other through the project.
They responded well to working with dance-theatre, even though it was a new experience for them, and have expressed interest in continuing with this type of work - and working with Rosie - again.
LBRUT Arts Service hopes that these young people will continue to work together as the borough’s youth dance company, and that they will work with professionals to create and tour work.
Combination Dance Company
Combination Dance Company received both a commission from The London Borough of Richmond and also a Big Dance Microgrant to create a new professional dance work that celebrated the benefits of plants and parks on public health.
The movement was based on a case study of a particular plant, C. Roseus, which is currently researched locally at Kew Gardens. The key public performances took place in Richmond Park at an event attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and at Richmond’s Richdance Festival.
A tour of local schools and special schools followed during Big Dance 2012 to make sure that the piece was accessible to a wide audience and to encourage local people to get dancing. Over 1000 people from diverse backgrounds enjoyed the performances and workshops.
Mala CHERGA Theatre
Mala CHERGA Theatre created a short dance piece, Spring Passes, and accompanying workshops with four young dancers from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
It toured London in July, visiting two primary schools and a community centre in Westminster, a café in Harrow and four locations onboard the Big Dance Bus, and reaching people who normally do not have easy access to dance activities.
The piece took inspiration from a haiku poem by Basho – ‘Spring passes / and the birds cry out – tears / in the eyes of fishes’ – and was set to a new, haunting composition by Ivan Bozicevic's.
The piece explored the changing of seasons as a metaphor for life and death, loss and passing of youth and time. Using images from nature and art, Mala CHERGA Theatre created an evocative, moving and visually arresting dance which examines the sensitivities around desinence and mortality, so often taboo in Western society.
Encouraged by positive feedback from the audience and the participants, Mala CHERGA Theatre is planning to develop the work further and create a longer piece to tour to various venues around UK. You can find out more at
SpiralArts were delighted to use their micro-grant to support their intergenerational work and, in particular, their new dance piece, The Mountain, which they performed as part of Big Dance 2012 at Open Ealing in July.
The Mountain engaged a group of eight dancers, which including mature, experienced dance teachers and choreographers, and students from the BA Hons Music Theatre Course at London College of Music.
The piece was inspired by the imagery and challenge of mountains, a sequel to last year’s piece The Lake. The music used was an original electronic composition, and a local artist had a display of artwork inspired by the piece alongside the performance.
There is considerable enthusiasm to develop the project further and, in particular, to focus on the combination of intergenerational work with creative choreography.
The aim now is to find a place to centre SpiralArts and to find ways to consolidate and develop the work started through classes and workshops, and to create a ‘core group’.
Future plans include the creation of a third dance, The Forest, to complete the trilogy.