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Dancing for the Queen

Posted on May 11, 2011


Tourists gathering around the gates of Buckingham Palace on Monday, May 9, were bemused and delighted by the Big Dance Royal Flash Mob suddenly emerging from the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial. 

With one year to go to its 2012 programme, Big Dance marked the occasion, and celebrated royal patronage of the performing arts for young people in the UK, by ambushing passers-by with a choreographed piece involving over 100 dancers, mainly from students at University of East London (UEL).

The choreography was devised by Anna Buonomo, with a sound mix provided by Michael Floyd of MO Creatives Ltd, as part of a 12-week Big Dance module for second-year students studying Dance: Urban Practice at UEL. Using the theme of Romeo and Juliet as their inspiration, the dancers explored romance – very timely given the location – through urban dance techniques. 

In addition to UEL students, dancers joined the performance from dance groups and training schools across London including: Creative Academy, Middlesex University, London Contemporary Dance School, Havering Schools, The Turbelles and Ultimate Dance NRG. 

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “In another amazing Big Dance first this was an exciting way to celebrate the royal family’s support for the performing arts. It also brings to the fore the talented youngsters coming out of our colleges who will help ensure London remains at the vanguard of dance and creativity.” 

On 20 May this year young people from across the world are invited to sign up for the Big Dance Schools Pledge – a partnership with the British Council’s Schools Programme – in preparation for a world record attempt in 2012. 

Big Dance is the world’s biggest celebration of dance and dancing and will take place across the UK between July 7–15, 2012. It is part of London Festival 2012, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. 


Photograph © Louise Haywood Schiefer



Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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