Passed by Regent’s Canal lately? Along with the usual water birds and barges, you may have glimpsed the more extraordinary sight of professional ballet dancers pirouetting by the water’s edge.
While many of London’s great stages remain closed, some performers are taking matters into their own hands and coming up with wonderfully surprising ways to make sure the show still goes on. DistDancing, a series of alfresco performances alongside the canal in Hackney from members of the Royal Ballet – which has been closed to live audiences since March 17 – is one of the most inventive solutions we’ve seen.
Created by Chisato Katsura, a first artist of The Royal Ballet, and Valentino Zucchetti, a first soloist of The Royal Ballet, the socially distanced shows began in July to give the professional dancers a chance to perform in front of an audience again and as a rare chance for the public to see live dance.
Every weekend the dancers perform short shows on a pontoon in front of waterside arts venue Hoxton Docks, with an audience watching from the towpath opposite. Dances have ranged from modern spectacles performed to live music to more traditional displays, which have created beautiful moments like this:
Circus performers and aerial artists have also performed, as have major members of the dance company, such as Royal Ballet principal Matthew Ball, first soloist Mayara Magri, and first artist Annette Buvoli.
What’s more, the performances are completely free. To catch one, just turn up on the towpath for a surprise show at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm on either Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather. Although it doesn’t look like the rain can dampen the experience of seeing live dance again.
Follow DistDancing’s Instagram to keep up with the latest announcements. Shows will continue on Saturday or Sunday every weekend at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm until early October (depending on the weather). DistDancing will announce via Instagram whether the show will be on Saturday or Sunday that week.
All images: @dancersdiary
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