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Greenwich + Docklands International Festival Announce Vertical Dance Spectacular

From filling the streets with Technicolor foam to sinking a house in the docks for a rooftop dance, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival never disappoints.

But they might have surpassed themselves with their newly announced, RESURGAM spectacular, which will see a death-defying, vertical dance taking place on the facade of London’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.

The free performances takes place from 31 August to 2 September and will see Californian dance group BANDALOOP fusing mid-air choreography with rock climbing techniques and original music, exploring GDIF’s 2023 theme “Acts of Hope” in a very literal way.

This event also celebrates the 300-year anniversary of the cathedral’s architect Sir Christopher Wren, who also has a strong connection to Greenwich, where he designed both the Old Royal Naval College and the Royal Observatory.

Thomas Cavanagh, BANDALOOP Executive Director says: “It is an honour to be premiering RESURGAM on the south-side exterior of St Paul’s Cathedral for London audiences who we invite to look up; at hope, at what is possible and at the grand harmony between vertical dance, living history and extraordinary architecture.

"BANDALOOP has toured the world performing on skyscrapers and UNESCO heritage sites, but this London premiere is a one-of-a-kind celebration of place, an aerial dream in realtime.”

The 17 day festival of free outdoor arts and theatre takes place from 25 August to 10 September 2023 in public spaces across Greenwich and East London. Other highlights include the heart-stopping, OPEN LINES tightrope walk across Woolwich on 25 August - the French high wire walker will be be supported by 12 local poeople suspending the ropes, to continue the “acts of hope” theme.

Over at Royal Victoria Dock, the water ballet, CYGNUS will be performed nightly from 31 August to 3 September by a life-sized, multi-coloured, animatronic flotilla of swans, which change colour in time to the ethereal music. A full-sized house will also be submerged into the Docks for Sliding Slope, a rooftop peformance addressing climate change on 2 and 3 September.

On 2 and 3 September, three performers will be perched on 10m high poles, swaying and dancing in the sky at the Greenwich Peninsula, for the dreamlike Rozeo performance.

Meanwhile in Canary Wharf, Dancing City will take over its public spaces and waterfronts from 9 to 10 September, with 12 performances. Highlights include BOUNCING NARRATIVES, which takes place on a trampoline on top of a shipping container where the audience can lie down and watch from beneath.

From 6-10 September, people can board a double decker for THE ARCHITECT, GDIF 2023’s theatrical flagship piece in support of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. The experience is a life-affirming celebration of Black lives and  asks how  we create a blueprint for the future, three decades after the senseless murder of Stephen Lawrence

On 27 and 28 August, ANCIENT FUTURES touches down in The Moorings, Thamesmead. Afrinauts, a crew of curious visitors from another world, invite audiences to join a dance party combining music, circus and sound system culture. Featuring new music by Woolwich’s own grime artist Afrikan Boy this ritual celebration combines West African folklore, fantasy and science fiction.

And 26 August sees the UK premiere of The Air Between Us, a spectacular duet, celebrating equality and connection, by multi-award-winning disabled artist Rodney Bell and dancer/choreographer Chloe Luftus. The festival will feature more than 35 events, including two world premieres and 14 UK premieres inspired by the theme Acts of Hope, inviting Londoners to come together for uplifting moments of shared wonder and connection.

Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. 25 August - 10 September. Across Greenwich and East London. FREE


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