Dance Umbrella: Five reasons to be excited about the 2017 season

Dance Umbrella 2017 is upon us. Here are five reasons we’re pirouetting with excitement about the programme.

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What do Battersea Power Station, an East London wasteland and Rich Mix have in common? They’re all venues for performances in this year’s Dance Umbrella.

London’s festival of international dance returns this autumn, running from 11 to 28 October. It’s packed with innovative, genre-pushing productions that have us backflipping with excitement. With five UK premieres, two London premieres and three events that are exclusive to Dance Umbrella, there’s enough to thrill an entire corps de ballet…

It’s too much, in fact, for one article. So here are our top five reasons to be excited about Dance Umbrella 2017:

 

Dancing with a 40-foot shipping container

Origami, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Karine de Barbarin)
Origami, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Karine de Barbarin)

It’s not often you see a dancer performing with massive metal box. It sounds impossible… and yet that is exactly what Satchie Noro and Silvain Ohl achieve in Origami. As the container moves and unfolds, Noro dances, supported by wires, around the giant structure. It sounds spectacular. But better than that, it’s FREE. And better yet is the fact that it’s travelling to five locations: Battersea Power Station, Greenwich’s Peninsula Square, Artillery Square at Royal Arsenal, Queen’s Gardens in Croydon and Trinity Buoy Wharf.

 

Interactive performance in a wasteland

Is This A Waste Land?, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Pari Naderi)
Is This A Waste Land?, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Pari Naderi)

If someone dancing with a massive box is not “different” enough for you, how about a show presented on a piece of disused land? With music delivered to the audience’s ears through headphones? Is This A Waste Land?, presented by Charlotte Spencer Projects, is that show. It’s a piece that hopes to provoke questions about how we view the world around us and how we respond to the demands of packed lives. (And also, one imagines, how many layers you need to wear to comfortably watch an outdoor show in October.) They also want audiences to donate unwanted objects… which just makes it all the more intriguing.

 

Beethoven three ways

Troi Grandes Fugues, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Bernard Stofleth)
Troi Grandes Fugues, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Bernard Stofleth)

What’s better than one piece danced to Beethoven’s Grande Fugue Op. 133? Three pieces danced to Beethoven’s Grande Fugue Op. 133. Obviously. That’s what happens in Lyon Opera Ballet’s Trois Grandes Fugues. And it’s even better when those three pieces are the responses of acclaimed choreographers Lucinda Childs, Maguy Marin and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

 

Something for the kids

Dot, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Jordi Pla)
Dot, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: Jordi Pla)

Never let it be said that Dance Umbrella doesn’t cater for all ages of dance fan. Little choreography lovers should see Dot, which plays at four venues during the festival. Created by Spanish company Cia Maduixa, it uses light, colour, dance and also technology to create a charming, child-friendly show inspired by US artist Sol Lewitt. Audiences aged three-years-old and above will love this show.

 

The return of an Olivier Award nominee

Fallen From Heaven, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: djfrat)
Fallen From Heaven, part of Dance Umbrella 2017 (Image: djfrat)

Rocío Molina earned an Olivier Award nomination for her 2014 piece Bosque Ardora. This autumn, the flamenco star returns with latest show Fallen From Heaven (Caída Del Cielo). A tale of womanhood, it presents the purest form of flamenco, using a bare stage, a dancer and four musicians. It does, however, promise a plethora of incredible costumes as Molina moves through a range of personas.

 

There’s plenty more happening during Dance Umbrella 2017, including takeovers of Rich Mix and Shoreditch Town Hall, lectures and workshops. For a full schedule, dates and venues, visit the Dance Umbrella website.