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Dance Umbrella 2013

Posted on July 5, 2013

robyn orlin john hogg

robyn-orlin-john-hoggThe full programme for Dance Umbrella 2013 has been announced, celebrating 35 years of bringing “brave new dance” to London. This year’s festival runs from October 3 to 20. The line-up ranges from Trisha Brown and Robyn Orlin to springboards for emerging artists and dances performed alongside The National Gallery’s paintings by Hieronymus Bosch.


The 2013 festival is the last to be directed by Betsy Gregory, who steps down in November, to be succeeded by Emma Gladstone. Gregory said: “Dance Umbrella 2013 brings a new format, with events concentrated in two areas of the city, King’s Cross and Stratford. The festival has been programmed so that the public can experience a multitude of events in a single day, across venues. Many events are free – a greater proportion than at any other time in our history – and we are proud that so much of the programme is accessible for all to enjoy.”


Dance Umbrella has a long-standing relationship with Trisha Brown, whose company made its festival debut 30 years ago. This year, the company will dance I’m going to toss my arms – if you catch them they’re yours, Astral Convertible and Watermotor at the intimate Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins. The performances are part of Brown’s three-year Proscenium Works (1979–2011) tour, when her company will dance major stage works for the last time before being radically reorganised.


Other highlights include Dog Kennel Hill Project’s TUG, a performance on and by Regent’s Canal at King’s Cross. Featuring a specially adapted heritage showboat, TUG can be seen from the boat or from the towpath. Shobana Jeyasingh’s TooMortal will be danced in and across the pews of St Pancras Church in Euston.


B Project’s Durational Dances will be performed at The National Gallery, beside paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and his contemporaries. B Project, an artist development initiative, invites European choreographers to create new dances inspired by Bosch, part of the Bosch 500 Foundation’s celebration of the visionary painter and his work.


Freddie Opoku-Addaie will dance Show of Hands, a new solo framed by a mass of carved wooden hands, which will be performed at both the Platform Theatre and at Stratford Circus. Also at Stratford Circus, South African choreographer Robyn Orlin works with Moving Into Dance Mophatong in the UK premiere of Beauty remained for just a moment then returned gently to her starting position… (pictured). Orlin also presents One hour with Robyn Orlin, an interactive creation with the audience.


Alongside the main performances, there will be extra events at the main festival venues. The art collective straybird present Stray Gifts (To Be Claimed By Whoever Shall Find), a mobile installation exploring movement and choreography through selected film works, housed in a specially adapted van. Double Take: 35 years of Dance Umbrella is an exhibition of photographs by Hugo Glendinning and Chris Nash, to be presented a various festival venues. BELLYFLOP, the editorial collective of independent dance artists, will be in residence for four days of the festival, with a programme of performances, events and published materials.


For full listings, and to buy tickets, visit


Photograph: John Hogg


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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