Greenwich Dance Up My Street goes online

Published: 28 May 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber

Roswitha Chesher, Mathieu Geffré, Zoie Golding, Sarah Blanc, Temujin Gil

Following the COVID-19 lockdown, Greenwich Dance has refashioned Up My Street—Showtime!, a borough-wide project designed to tackle cultural inequality and loneliness, into Up My Street—Online!.

Beginning on Thursday 25 June 6PM and running till 16 July, four TV-style episodes, each 15 to 20 minutes long, featuring new dance works, interviews with choreographers and excerpts from their eclectic back catalogues will be streamed on the organisation’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Greenwich Dance has commissioned four choreographers—Zoie Golding, Mathieu Geffré, Temujin Gill and Sarah Blanc—to each create a piece of dance for the camera, made entirely within lockdown restrictions. Edited by film-maker Roswitha Chesher, each piece will be part of a magazine-style episode hosted by Blanc. Each choreographer has a cast of between eight and ten professional dancers and volunteers aged between 13 and 68, most of whom are strangers to each other.

Golding has used the detective character from her interactive live piece Sleuth to create an interactive digital game. Geffré worked with his cast on Zoom, holding one-to-one sessions to set them choreographic challenges. Gill, working with long-time collaborator Sunanda Biswas, explores the question “what’s important to me now?”. Blanc worked with performers from Lotus Youth Dance Company and Dancing to the Music of Time, Greenwich Dance’s Over-55s company, who devised poetry and movement using Zoom.

Melanie Precious, Greenwich Dance’s CEO, said, “Up My Street was designed to bring dance to parts of the borough at risk of being overlooked. It was about putting a social event right into the heart of people’s communities. When COVID-19 hit, we got together with our four choreographers and filmmaker to work out how we could offer those same communities some of what the original promised. Up My Street—Online! is what we have come up with.

“Greenwich Dance is about making work for unusual places and spaces and why shouldn’t that include WhatsApp, Zoom and the Internet? Doors have been closed to us but browser windows have been opened and this project is inspiring all of us to rethink what dance by and for the community really means and what it looks like.”

The release schedule is:

  • 25 June: Film 1: Zoie Golding, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre presents Unshackled—A SLEUTH spin off
  • 2 July: Film 2: Temujin Gill presents Essentials
  • 9 July: Film 3: Mathieu Geffré presents The Ceremony
  • 16 July: Film 4: Sarah Blanc presents This Time Will Pass