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Fantastic Feats

Posted on May 23, 2019

Human body sculptures, free runners and virtual reality playgrounds launch the City of London’s Fantastic Feats next month. Kickstarting the event is Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner’s imaginative pop-up performance entitled Bodies in Urban Spaces, which will see human bodies squeezed into nooks and crannies across the city.

A group of local dancers, performers, and free runners will lead audiences along a predetermined route, creating a “human body sculpture trail” – intertwining and stacking their bodies in doorways, arches and alleyways.

Performances will start at 8.30am, 12.30pm and 5.30pm at 1 Principle Place, EC2A 2BA. Onlookers will be encouraged to travel through Liverpool Street and Moorgate, finishing at the Barbican Estate’s Lakeside.

Other highlights of Fantastic Feats include Volo: Dreams of Flight by Brendan Walker’s Studio Go Go, which will take place from June 18 to 22 at four locations across the City including St Paul’s Cathedral, Christchurch Greyfriars Church Garden and Smithfield Rotunda.

In partnership with Culture Mile, the installation invites visitors to sit on a swing while wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset. Four VR swings will be installed on trees across the City. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machines from 500 years ago, the VR swing experience will simulate the sensation of flight.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and Teatro Dei Venti will bring a reinvention of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to Guildhall Yard on June 22 at 8pm. With physical theatre and circus, this Italian street theatre production features Captain Ahab’s ship and his obsessive search for revenge in a UK premiere. Expect to see acrobats, actors, musicians and feats of mechanical engineering, accompanied by archaic drumbeats from the Campania region of southern Italy.

Finally, to mark the 125th anniversary of its opening, Tower Bridge, in collaboration with All Things Studio, will provide pedestrians with a view of alternative designs originally submitted for the bridge in the 19th century. Running from June 30 to September 30, three “peep-show” boxes located on the north-east pier, the south-east pier, and the south-west pier will display these unusual illustrations.

Alongside these four events, free guided walking tours will take place from June 4 to September 27, entitled Lords of All They Surveyed: the men and women who built the City of London. Visitors will embark on a journey to discover feats of architecture and construction, and hear about City Surveyors past to present.

Commissioned by the City of London Corporation, Fantastic Feats will feature more than 50 mostly free-to-attend and family friendly events. The six-month programme celebrates London’s long-standing history of architecture and engineering firsts, as well as anniversaries of some of the city’s most celebrated innovators. These include the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph William Bazalgette (1819–91), the civil engineer responsible for creating London’s sewer system, which was key to relieving the city of cholera epidemics; the 125th anniversary of the completion of Tower Bridge; and the joint 150th anniversary of the openings of Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct. Click here (cityoflondon.gov.uk) for more.

Pictured: Bodies in Urban Spaces. Photograph by LIsa Rastl.

Simon Oliver has been production editor of Dancing Times since 2010 and is highly experienced in design across print and online magazine production. Throughout his career, Simon has worked on a diverse range of subjects including music, family history, book collecting and poker.

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