Dance Umbrella, London’s international festival of contemporary dance takes place across the capital from 8 – 27 October 2019.
Emma Gladstone, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella, introduces the programme ‘Dance Umbrella is on the move. This year we will be reaching audiences right across the capital, travelling to more locations than ever before with performances made by choreographers hailing from Africa, Australia, USA and of course Europe. Imagination is the force that makes change possible, and as creators, inventors, thinkers and dreamers they have things to share with all of us. Roll on October.’
Oona Doherty (Northern Ireland) is DU19’s Featured Artist. She will be presenting London premieres of two works, curating one of three afternoons of short dance films at the Barbican and creating work with girls as part of DU’s Access Croydon programme.
Hard to be Soft – London Premiere
Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall: Friday 11 October 8 pm
Having picked up awards at Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Oona Doherty makes her London debut at Dance Umbrella with her searing evocation of the city streets of Belfast. Hard to be Soft unfolds over four distinct verses and, in a tender tribute, weaves everyday stories into a tapestry of mesmerising movement, religious iconography and haunting sound by DJ David Holmes.
Doherty’s unpredictable style and unique way of structuring her work, together with her knack for confounding conventions, has made her stand out as a highly original talent whose work is charged with raw physicality and poetic desire.
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Southbank Centre
Hope Hunt & The Ascension into Lazarus – London Premiere
The Yard: Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 October 7.30pm
Oona Doherty’s solo performance is bursting with fury, swagger and humanity. Hope Hunt shatters facades, dismantles stereotypes and finds beauty on the periphery. Doherty adopts multiple personas of disaffected male youth – too often disregarded and stigmatised – and channels aggression, humour, hedonism, joy and despair in quick-fire succession.
Fragmented and meticulously detailed, her intuitive social portrait vibrates with blistering physical and vocal energy. Gestures, words and utterances combine in a wholly distinctive body language, contorting ideas of masculinity and morality. Doherty invites audiences to look behind the mask of ego and affectation.
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with The Yard
Gregory Maqoma (South Africa) – Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero – UK Premiere
Barbican: Thursday 17 –Saturday 19 October 7.45pm
A rousing dance theatre work, Cion transfixes us with the choreography of rhythmic dexterity and ecstatic intensity to the sounds of a live South African choir.
Making his third Dance Umbrella appearance since 2015, celebrated dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma is Toloki – a paid mourner confronting a world in which greed, power and religious ideology lead so often to the normalisation of needless death and loss. Inspired by the protagonist from South African author Zakes Mda’s stories, this physical lamentation unfolds to the musical motif of Ravel’s Bolero, reinterpreted here through stirring song and percussion by four traditional vocalists joined onstage by eight gifted artists from Vuyani Dance Theatre.
Maqoma, who sees art as a commentary on how we treat others, created this soaring piece as a response to contemporary political events in his own country and globally.
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with the Barbican
Mythili Prakash (USA) Here and Now – World Premiere
Part of DU: FAIRFIELD TAKEOVER
Fairfield Halls: Friday 18 October 7.30pm
Selected by Akram Khan as his ‘choreographer for the future’ as part of DU’s 40th anniversary commissioning initiative Four by Four, LA-based Mythili Prakash presents a world premiere as part of DU’s takeover of Croydon’s gleamingly refurbished Fairfield Halls for a captivating start to the weekend’s events. Classically trained in the Indian dance form Bharata Natyam, Mythili’s first contemporary work features live percussive and vocal accompaniment with lighting by Guy Hoare.
Fairfield Takeover is the latest and largest scale phase of DU’s ongoing relationship with Croydon and the full weekend programme will be announced in May.
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella
Produced and presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Fairfield Halls
Supported by Croydon Council
Philippe Saire (Switzerland) Hocus Pocus – London Premiere
Various London venues 11 – 26 October
For DU19’s London Orbital Tour, Lausanne-based choreographer Philippe Saire directs a dreamlike spectacle, with dance, theatre and stage trickery set to music from Grieg’s Peer Gynt. Igniting the imaginations of children aged six+, this international hit features two awesomely dextrous performers, vivid costumes and eerie props. Voyage into the unknown with this bewitching gem of a family show, in which gravity dissolves, bodies bravely contort and optical illusions conjure other worlds.
A Dance Umbrella Orbital Tour in partnership with artsdepot, Fairfield Halls, Stratford Circus Arts Centre, The Albany, The Place and Watermans
Presented at the Barbican Cinema, Dance Umbrella Sunday Shorts brings three mixed bills of choreographically inspired films curated by DU19 featured artist Oona Doherty, Out of the System curator Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Independent Dance Co-Director Gitta Wigro to the big screen.
- Dance Umbrella: Sunday Shorts 1 – Oona Doherty
Barbican Cinema: Sunday 13 October 3.30pm
- Dance Umbrella: Sunday Shorts 2 – Freddie Opoku-Addaie
Barbican Cinema: Sunday 20 October 3.30pm
- Dance Umbrella: Sunday Shorts 3 – Gitta Wigro
Barbican Cinema: Sunday 27 October 3.30pm
Curated by Dance Umbrella, presented in partnership with Barbican Cinema
Dance Umbrella Lecture: The Role of the Artist in Cultural Democracy
Community artist, writer and researcher, François Matarasso is a firm believer in the positive outcomes of people’s participation in art and he continues to combine community arts practice with research and consultancy all over the world. His latest book A Restless Art, How participation won and why it matters, was published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2019,
A Dance Umbrella event in partnership with the National Theatre
Supported by One Dance UK
Sadler’s Wells: Tuesday 8 – Wednesday 9 October 7.30pm
Supported by the Institut Français as part of FranceDance UK
Four by Four Commission: Georgia Vardarou (Greece) – Why Should It Be More Desirable… – World Premiere
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells: Wednesday 23 – Thursday 24 October at 8 pm
A Dance Umbrella Commission
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Sadler’s Wells