If you go down to Westfield tonight you’re sure of a big surprise…!

“If you go down to Westfield tonight you’d better not go alone…

English National Ballet_It's a secret

Shoppers will be taken by surprise on Friday 18 May as 200 dancers burst into action to the thumping pulse of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the deep’ and an eclectic soundtrack by Dental Records. A range of dancers from across London will come together to perform in a variety of styles including Flamenco, Street Dance, Tap and Ballet, fused into seven high-energy minutes.

English National Ballet and East London Dance (West and East Big Dance hubs respectively) have teamed up to launch the countdown to Big Dance 2012, a two-month long dance festival involving 5 million people throughout the UK.

Choreographer André Gingras, Artistic Director of Danceworks Rotterdam, and lead Dance Artist Laura Harvey have monitored the progress of the groups on Facebook over the past three months.  André believes passionately that Flash Mobs, as these site-specific pop-up performances are known, “return dance to its roots. People have always danced in open spaces – this is healthy”.

Healthy it certainly is.  Whilst the majority of dancers are in their teens and twenties, the group is all-inclusive. Open Age, an over-50’s dance group includes Marie, aged 80, a former fire-eater with Billy Smart’s circus, Lesley, a tap dancer who described the group’s dance style as “cool and funky”, and Prim, a widow and queen of the ‘Bus Stop’ dance, who said “dance keeps me moving and I get to dance with all the boys!” At the other end of the age-spectrum are young street dancers Ricamarie, Christina and Vanessa, both aged 8, from St. Edwards School, Upton Park. Vanessa said “This is really exciting, it makes me feel like a famous dancer on tour!”

Fiona Fraser

Big Dance has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK, and is delivered by Mayor of London and Arts Council England.

Big Dance is part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.