An annual flagship event of The Welcome Project, Our City Dances is returning to Brighton & Hove after a year’s break due to the pandemic, and for the last time before we open The Dance Space in Spring 2022.
This year, Our City Dances will take place from Monday 19-Saturday 24 July, online and at socially distanced outdoor locations around The Dance Space. Whilst some events have been designed specifically for our community partners such as Puffin Community Nursery and Brooke Mead Extra Care Facility, others will be free and bookable for everyone.
Featuring nine free dance and movement related workshops and performances, this year’s festival features all sorts of opportunities to discover and have a go at dance including:
- Dance Like Everybody’s Watching – an invitation to join dancer Lya in a free outdoor dance workshop, which encourages participants to reclaim the streets and assert their right to feel safe, expressive and beautiful through movement.
- Join local arts organisations Carousel and Parable Dance, who support people with learning disabilities to lead creative lives, for an online disco dance party Our City’s Dance Party – everyone welcomed to take part.
- The Beginners Guide to Breaking – an introductory workshop for young people aged 7-11 and their families who’ve been curious about breakdance but have never had the confidence or opportunity to try. From top-rock, to six-step, to baby-freezes, hip-hop dance artist and producer Jamaal O’Driscoll will walk participants through some key breaking principles and leave them with exercises to practice so they can keep breaking after the workshop ends. No head-spins required!
Our City Dances is curated by our Community Steering Group made up of people who live or have a relationship with the Tarner area where The Dance Space is located. Lauren Proto, Creative Communities Manager at South East Dance, has been working alongside the Community Steering Group helping them to curate this year’s festival.
She says: “Our City Dances is free and for every body – whether you’re eight or 80 years old; watching from the sidelines or getting stuck in. With events online and outdoors, and featuring everything from South Asian dance to breaking, we want to challenge people’s perceptions of what dance is and who can do it. Looking forward to seeing you there!”
Lya, whose dance sessions on Hove seafront have become a familiar sight over the past year and who is bringing her workshop Dance like Everybody’s Watching to Our City Dances says:
“I love the openness and tolerance that Brighton and its residents stand for – this city truly knows how to put on a show. Our City Dances will be a perfect platform for my work which is about sharing and spreading joy and happiness.
“I want to create positive associations and diverse representations of what a ‘dancer’ or ‘performer’ looks like. I want to make people feel seen and celebrated in public spaces by finding their own movement, rhythm, style and performative personality. When people are in their element, having fun and making art it also brings life, energy and colour onto our streets.”