Greta Mendez curates A Time to Breathe festival

Published: 15 October 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber

Curated by Greta Mendez, new cross-genre festival A Time To Breathe (26–31 October) will span Batuke, contemporary dance, Calypso, choreo-poem, Lover's Rock and more, marking the month of Black History.

Performances will take place in-person at the venue formerly known as Stockwell Playhouse. Artists involved include Carol Leeming, whose poem The Loneliness of the Long Distance Diva featured as part of the Olympics opening ceremony, and Dennis Bovell, who has worked with artists such as Fela Kuti, The Slits, Janet Kay and Madness.

There will be live performances from Jordana Mba with Bantu & Mba which combines Flamenco, Afro-beat, soul and Latin Rhythm, musician and actor Lorna Sutara Gee and dancer and choreographer Gerrard Martin’s duet, A Journey to Love.

New work Skin(s) from Batuke Arts & Friends, led by Iris de Brito, was borne out of a need to respond to the events of the Black Lives Matter movement. Classical ballet, contemporary and African dance vocabularies are fused in Ballet Soul’s electric “We born - we breathe - we die” (OTHELLO) whilst Akeim Toussaint Buck’s Sib Y Osis is a dance theatre performance exploring an emotive journey shared by siblings. Dancer and choreographer Richard Lessey’s work MUSING ON MARVIN: # 1, 3 & 9 remains as socially relevant today as it has been for the past 400 plus years.

Curator Greta Mendez will present Who Am I ?..F#@K !, exploring neglect, bulling and colourism with the pulsing sounds of calypso, text and dance.