Four years ago, the Tower of London’s moat filled up with a sea of blood-red poppies, in a monumental art installation commemorating WWI.
This week, it’ll be flooded with a totally different but equally spectacular event: a dance party that marks the end of international theatre fest LIFT. ‘It feels a little bit like we’ve occupied the Tower,’ muses super-choreographer Hofesh Shechter of his frankly enormous new show. Shechter, the mastermind behind such megaton dance works as ‘Grand Finale’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Political Mother’, has got four choreographers from east London (Becky Namgauds, Duwane Taylor, James Finnemore and Joseph Toonga) and worked with Tower Hamlets communities to create ‘East Wall’, a gargantuan dance and live-music extravaganza, steeped in hip hop, krump and grime, which will fill the actual moat of the actual Tower of London. ‘I think in the show there are 120 dancers,’ says Shechter, ‘and together with that we will have a choir, a marching band, our own little band. It’s going to be huge.’
Is there something political about staging a celebration of east London’s working class, immigrant youth and musical culture outside a building that is the ultimate symbol of British establishment power? ‘We’re not aiming to create political work,’ he says. ‘But in a way, just by placing one thing next to another it becomes political. As an artist, you look at it and think: That looks fun.’
'East Wall’ is at the Tower of London from Wed Jul 18 to Sun Jul 22.