Moving Earth was one of sampad’s biggest and most ambitious dance productions to date. It took place in summer 2012 as part of Dancing for the Games which celebrated the countdown to London 2012 by encouraging people across the West Midlands to get dancing.
Dancing for the Games was part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands, funded by Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England.
Our vision for Moving Earth was to capture the celebratory spirit and international collaboration of London 2012, by showcasing the dazzling array of dance styles practised in our region, including Bollywood, Bhangra, Indian folk dance, hiphop and contemporary African and UK dance.
Taking our cue from the vitality and strength of the natural elements, we united 240 dancers (20 groups of 12) thematically to represent Space, Earth, Fire, Water and Air.
The groups came from a diverse spread of locations across the region and we were genuinely excited to have a chance to broaden our activities by exploring some of contemporary dance styles that they practise, while also reinforcing our existing working relationships with leading South Asian dance groups and connecting with talented new dancers along the way.
In return, the Moving Earth dancers had a fantastic opportunity to join the celebrations for London 2012 by taking part in a large-scale, intercultural dance project and developing their confidence and artistic practice by working with other dance groups and internationally-respected choreographers including Santosh Kumar Nair.
Under Santosh’s direction, the groups developed new dance routines inspired by the Moving Earth’s central theme of ecology.
Moving Earth performances
As well as reflecting each group’s individual dance style, some of the routines incorporated a unique additional twist in the form of high-energy moves taken from Indian martial-arts based dance, similar to Brazilian capoeira. This gave participants a special chance to explore the physicality of Indian martial-arts based dance and develop new skills that they could take forward into their dance practice.
The Moving Earth groups came together on Saturday 2 June in Birmingham City Centre’s Chamberlain Square, for a spectacular, colourful and visually-striking dance performance capturing the spirit and energy of the natural elements.
The performance culminated with all 240 dancers coming together simultaneously to deliver a specially choreographed sequence for the grande finale, which went down so well with the audience that they were asked to perform it twice!
The free performance formed part of Birmingham’s Big Jubilee Weekend, a 4 day extravaganza of music and entertainment that took place in the city centre 2-5 June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Moving Earth groups also performed on stage at Cannon Hill Park on 30th June, as part of a day of special celebrations to mark the arrival of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay in Birmingham.
Some of the groups took part in other special events and activities around the region as part of Dancing for the Games.
Sampad is thrilled to have brought Moving Earth to the West Midlands. We are very proud of all of the dancers and dance-leaders who put in an enormous amount of energy, enthusiasm and commitment and did an amazing job of encapsulating the spirit of our original vision.
Legacy Trust UK is an independent charity set up to create a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from London 2012 in communities across the UK. The Trust is funded by a £40 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund (£29m), Department for Culture Media and Sport (£6m) and Arts Council England (£5m), and is a Principal Funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.“www.legacytrustuk.org”:http://www.legacytrustuk.org
Photos by: Tim Cross and OutroSlide