Dance Around The World FestivalBy: Elsa Perez London
What is it?
Dance Around The World Festival presents dance by over 50 of London's cultural communities, in a programme of performances and open workshops. It is open to anyone - no restrictions whatsoever. No partners nor previous experience is needed. Our workshop leaders are experts at working with mixed groups and making sure everyone has fun. We have wheelchair access and a toilet for the disabled.
How does it work?
A new performance happens every 20 minutes in the beautiful main hall and three different one-hour workshops each hour in two smaller halls and a marquee in the garden. People can move from space to space whenever they wish, as if at an outdoor festival. The whole building is a-buzz with people moving around from the free cloakrooms to the halls, bar, cafe or garden. You can watch videos of former festivals in the bar or listen to the Jam sessions that happen there from time to time as musicians, from often different countries, get together to make spontaneous music. Often dancers join in creating their own dances to the music. Diverse languages are heard and beautiful costumes are seen all over. Because it is in a confined space, not in a huge field or park, more socializing happens. It is wonderful to see people of all cultures mixing together so naturally.
What kind of dance?
The dances are mostly of Folk traditions but we have broadened the range of styles to cater for a varied audience. We include Street dance, Hip-Hop, Cheerleading, Line Dance, Salsa, Argentinian Tango, Jive, Belly, Bhangra etc. We end each day with a dance party. On Saturday night we have a Latin American theme and on Sunday night, a World Folk Dance theme. There is lots of audience participation on both nights with the help of callers and dance animateurs who lead everyone in dance.
The festival is organised by three directors of DATW CIC: Anne Leach, Caspar Cronk and Elsa Perez. We are all dancers. This is our 12th year. We are volunteers as are all the others who help at the actual festival each year. Most of the artists are also volunteers. Their reward is free entry to two fun days of dance, doing as many workshops as they like, presenting their work with pride, seeing other performances, advertising and networking. This gives opportunities for paid work and to enlist new students for their classes. The volunteers gain experience in running an event or dealing with the public and have free time to enjoy the festival. The audience/participants have a wonderful experience. This is what makes the festival unique.
We want to share the joy of dance with others as we believe it is good for the body, the mind and the spirit. It combats loneliness, and gives you that 'feelgood' feeling.
We want to promote intergenerational and inter-cultural socialization, which is sorely lacking in many communities. Our festival promotes social cohesion.
We want to be independant of funding and are nearly there. It will happen when we build up our audience.
Most people return each year - artists (even if not performing) and audience. We mostly target locals. In previous years (with more funding) we did workshops in local schools and community centres.
Why do we need money with so much volunteering?
We had no funding last year and are not yet sure about this year. The festival costs about £5,500, covering the hire of three halls over two days, marquee hire, gas heater and gas, photographer, bands, cloakroom attendant, flyers, programmes, posters, rental of projector and screen, wristbands, T-shirts and Hoodies, meals for volunteers, music workshop leaders, postage. We raise income by selling tickets: £12 day & night, £9 night only, £20 weekend, Concessions £2 less and children free. We keep our prices affordable. Consider that £12 would pay for two workshops at the most, not 8. We sell T-shirts and Hoodies and a few adverts in the programme. We hire out our portable dance floor and the directors do paid workshops or performances during the year to increase income.
We are now going to use Facebook and other on-line services to increase our advertising and therefore audience. If we receive backing of £500 (or more!) we will have some left over to start next year's festival. As a Community Interest Company (CIC) we cannot use any profit for any other purpose.
We usually have a separate conference on some aspect of dance, prior to the event. We could not do it last year and it won't happen this year, because of lack of funding. Past conferences were: Collecting dances around the world, The influence of Black dance on American, Latin American and modern dance.
For more information, pictures and video see our website: www.datw.org.uk
You can also check out Elsa's 'Dance Around The World' facebook page here.
For more information, please contact Elsa at : email@example.com
26-09-2012 07:46 PM
On Sunday Mandinga have their first rehearsal for their dance on Sat. night - ‘Who put the horns on the bull?’. It will be a lively, naughty Samba number.
Anne and I are busy doing programming and Caspar and I soon have to drive around Camden and neighbouring districts to deliver posters & fliers.
Sat. past the Iberian dancers performed at a Care Home in Chelsea. Here are some photos.
24-09-2012 01:13 PM
This is me in the last Thames Festival Parade costume - no Zebra stripes here. The picture was taken at a Greenwich festival. The Thames festival and various other recent dance events act as warm-ups for our
Dance Around The World Festival on the 20/21 October. Be There!
24-09-2012 01:54 PM
Four weeks to go and we nearly have half the amount we need. I’m also very busy leafletting and e-mailing. As I am the Latino co-ordinator I have contacted my artists and we are nearly sorted. So far, on the Saturday night we should have Peruvian, Spanish, Brazilian - Samba & Capoeira, Bolivian, Argentinian Tango, Salsa group. Intwo weeks time the complete programme will be on our website and here.
Below is a picture of what I wore at the Thames festival - not the zebra dress.
23-09-2012 03:10 PM
This is not Elsa with Nat, but Nat with a puppet at Thames Festival 2012.
I definitely have better legs!!
I also took part but am still waiting for the photos.
23-09-2012 03:03 PM
This is a picture of Anne, Caspar & Elsa - the three organisers/directors of Dance Around The World, together with Keith and Adriana who made the video. We are celebrating the end of filming.