Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dancing In The Streets: South East Prove They Can Dance Big

Saturday 10th July 2010: Brighton and Hove

My day began as a witness (and part participant I must admit) to the Bollywood and Samba / Carnival workshops held at the Lighthouse in the morning. Just over 20 people arrived to learn from the expert Bollywood dancer Charlotte Jalley, who has featured in many Bollywood films whilst mastering a very patient and clear instructing technique. As a dance new to many of the participants, what Charlotte said was true; “If you’ve got a big cheeky grin then the rest doesn’t really matter” and the last thing the room lacked was cheeky grins. ‘Guaranteed to make you laugh’, this workshop did not disappoint and encouraged many of the class to stay on an extra hour for the next workshop: Samba / Carnival led by Rosaria Gracia. Rosaria taught not only the exotic rhythms of this sensual Afro-Brazilian dance, but also threw in lessons about the history of its origins, making for an enlightening and educational hour. Having taught across the world, Rosaria has a wonderful understanding of people and the way in which Samba can bring out one’s sensuality. One participant who had attended both workshops described the dance expressions of the different cultures ‘uplifting’. The vibrant atmosphere and the buzz as the workshops came to an end said it all; these people wanted more.

Following the workshops I spent lunch time in central Brighton helping to organise the three flash mobs which occurred, known as Little South East Dance Goes LARGE... Thirty people apparently spontaneously dancing the exact phrase of choreography to ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge was a spectacle to anyone walking past and in many instances brought people to an abrupt halt. Attendees of the morning workshops joined us, as well as children and youth workers from workshops during the week in which the phrase had been taught. The atmosphere was electric and I for one had a fantastic time. The audience that had gathered were eventually asked to learn the dance, which a few did, and then it was performed again with a bigger group of people. It was a shame that more people did not have the confidence to come up and learn but the flash mob certainly got people talking about South East Dance and worked as a wonderful attraction to promote the free performance that afternoon in Victoria Gardens. The fun-loving and vibrant atmosphere made it an exciting event to be a part of and succeeded in bringing together different areas of the community.

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