- Miles Hedley
SUMMER IN THE PARK with Greenwich Dance
Greenwich Dance and cultural umbrella group Artstrust are staging a free two-month festival called Summer In The Park which boasts a wide-ranging bill headlined by three truly innovative acts - Autin Dance Theatre, Joseph Toonga’s Just Us and Folk Dance Remixed.
The season, which runs from 3 June to 6 August, also marks the start of a three-year partnership with Greenwich Park, with the three headliners being part of the park’s current £8million regeneration project.
Four other venues in the borough are also hosting events that include community picnics and – of course - celebrations of the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Autin is the first of the three big-name attractions to take to the stage with Out Of The Deep Blue on 24 June when a towering sea-giant puppet (pictured) will lead the troupe in a family show inspired by the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
A fortnight later, on 8 July, Royal Ballet Emerging Choreographer Toonga and Just Us will perform Born To Protest, a hiphop/spoken word piece celebrating black excellence and challenging racial stereotypes. It is aimed at youngsters aged from 14 to 25.
And on 22 July eight dancers and four musicians from Folk Dance Remixed will give us Step Hop House, a fascinating mix of hiphop and traditional folk dances from around the world.
All the headline events will offer local schoolkids the chance to showcase their dance skills, as well as inviting audiences to try a few moves of their own.
The partnership with Greenwich Park partnership will also feature a programme of Saturday classes in the park from 25 June to 6 August including tai chi, family history walks and Kiduku Rhythms, which is based on a Tanzanian dance style that brings people together through rhythm and movement.
The series of family-friendly community picnics kicks off at Charlton House on 3 June with a Diamond Jubilee celebration starring South London band Ceilidh Tree. The other three are on 26 June at Maryon Park on the Charlton-Woolwich border with a guest appearance by the Cut A Shine ceilidh band, Eltham’s Queenscroft Park on 24 July featuring the Endurance Steel Orchestra, and Gallions Park in Thamesmead on 31 July with a return visit from Just Us with Born To Protest.
Further information about times, venues and bookings at greenwichdance.org.uk