Dance and live music on a rooftop in the middle of the city! Dance Umbrella: Of Riders and Running Horses

Whenever I see a dance performance I always come out gushing and full of energy, wanting to tell everyone  how great what I’ve just seen is.

It’s coincidental that the past two things I’ve seen have involved live music. First Hofesh Shechter’s Political Mother at the O2 Academy Brixton for his #HOFEST season, and tonight was Dan Canham’s Of Riders and Running Horses, part of this years Dance Umbrella festival.

From when I first got my ticket it sounded curious – dancers performing on the roof of a car park in Farringdon? I didn’t really know what to expect.

Dance Umbrella had taken over the top two floors of a multi-story car park in the city, complete with box office, cloak room and bar with hot drinks which we soon realised would be very handy! When 8 o’clock came we all went up to the rooftop, the ‘stage’ marked by a row of chairs for a lucky few and the rest, standing.

It was windy up there on the roof, but I soon forgot about that when the music started.

The dancers, blending in, dressed almost like we all were, popped out of the crowd and from the moment they appeared, there was not a moment where the relationship between them and the music was broken and it was a joy to watch their euphoric moment. When I saw Political Mother (which I have to say I was blown away by), for me the sheer force of Shechter’s musicians meant for the first 10 minutes or so, I didn’t really notice the dancers as I was so sucked in by the sound. In ORARH this wasn’t the case, both dancers and music in joyful harmony, and it was a genuine connection, dancers passing smiles and winks between themselves and the musicians, it was like a private club I wanted to be a part of! And I was almost thankful at the end when they asked the entire audience to join them and dance.

Both the music and the movement, visually, was so infectious that they didn’t have to ask anyone twice! Everyone was on their feet, it was pure joy on that rooftop!

Such an uplifting and unique start to Dance Umbrella, I can’t wait to see what else is in store.


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