Newham residents invited to 'dance like no-one is watching'

Newham residents invited to 'dance like no-one is watching'.

An action-packed weekend of exciting dance showcases featuring talented local performers and others popping up in everyday locations and streamed online, comes to the borough next month courtesy of Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Newham Council.

Surveillance: Dance Like No-one is Watching, is taking place from August 14 to 16 as part of Newham Unlocked, the Council’s new-look cultural festival of events and activities across the summer and beyond that highlights the rich and diverse mix of creativity that exists in the borough.

The Council has commissioned arts development organisation Certain Blacks to deliver the Surveillance: Dance Like No-one is Watching weekend. Performers will appear in an array of Newham locations, with audiences able to watch from anywhere in the world thanks to the internet and social media as online observation becomes part of everyday life.

Mayor Fiaz said: “It will be a totally different type of festival with exciting dance performances from talented artists in everyday locations for people to watch online. It’s another fantastic showcase event in our Newham Unlocked programme that is capturing people across the borough using their imagination and creativity to get through these incredibly challenging times as we recover from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have an amazing array of talent in Newham, especially amongst our young people. By co-producing a powerful arts and cultural programme with our residents we are showing our diversity and opening up opportunities for more people to embrace arts, culture, and heritage in new and different ways to how they may have done before.”

Surveillance: Dance Like No-one is Watching invites will be streamed, but if you catch one live in Newham, film it, photograph, and post it online, tagging #surveillancefestival. Artists confirmed so far, with more names, locations plus exact dates and times to be announced, include:

  • Upswing - Catch Me - a leading circus company founded by Victoria Amedume. Catch Me is an intimate and surprising take on age and gender combining risk-taking, trust and collaboration. Part installation, part performance, Catch Me asks how we see each other and who we value. Join Upswing for a poetic mix of dance, circus and furniture!
  • Nutkhut - ideas-led and art-focused, Nutkhut fuse performance, film and participation with comedic sensibility whilst “reimagining the told and telling the new”. Led by British Asian artists Simmy Gupta and Ajay Chhabra, Certain Blacks have commissioned Nutkhut to create new work set in or around Queens Market on Green Street, Upton Park.
  • Tito Bone - blind, non-binary drag king Tito Bone showcases their signature skills of song, dance and audio description. Wearing eco-glitter and proving accessible art is the epitome of cool, expect wit, sparkle and physical dexterity with a dash of satire thrown in.
  • Nwando Ebizie – Nwando is an award-winning, neurodiverse artist noted for her performative, musical and artistic skills plus theatrical alter-ego, the Afrofuturist Lady Vendredi. Nwando presents new work promising both glamour and transformation. Expect “a rebirth, a celebration of blackness, fabulousness and of family”. Expect the unexpected.
  • The Modern Jazz & Folk Ensemble - jazz musicians Rowland Sutherland (flute) and Orphy Robinson (vibraphone, marimba and percussion), join folk luminaries Emily Portman and Alasdair Roberts for an exclusive concert. Solo sets plus the musicians as a quartet celebrate Nick Drake’s seminal album Bryter Layter ahead of its 50th anniversary.

The Newham Unlocked borough-wide festival has been designed with residents and arts organisations in a bid to unleash the artistic talents of the borough’s people, and to ensure that children and young people get the chance to experience the richness of a vibrant and diverse new approach to cultural expression.

Mayor Fiaz added: “We will work with a range of partners that already contribute to Newham’s cultural offer, as well as those that will be locating in Newham in the coming years. By 2022 some of the world’s leading arts and cultural institutions will be at the heart of London’s brand new cultural destination, East Bank at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will include BBC music studios, a Sadler's Wells dance theatre, the London College of Fashion and a new Victoria & Albert museum.

“Each young person will have the opportunity to discover and develop their individual talents, to pursue excellence and seize opportunities, and to have fun as part of a programme which will place Newham as a leader across London in cultural engagement.”

Published: 28 Jul 2020