30 years in pictures: Big Dance

30 years in pictures | 11 October 2023

Big Dance 

Big Dance was a biennial pan-London celebration of dance and dancing, conceived by Jacqueline Rose and delivered by the Greater London Authority, which took place over nine days in July and involved a range of dance events in unusual places throughout the city such as shops, parks, galleries and museums. Greenwich Dance Agency was chosen to be one of five organisations across London to be a hub for the Big Dance alongside East London Dance, English National Ballet, Sadler’s Wells and Siobhan Davies Dance. gDA’s role was to lead and coordinate dance activities throughout the boroughs of Greenwich, Bexley, Bromley and Lewisham – working closely with partners across the Thames Gateway and at Laban.  

Created in 2006 the Big Dance project ran until 2016 when it culminated in a mass particpation performance in Trafalgar Square choreographed by Akram Khan. Throughout this period gDA created and presented a number of incredible projects: the following being only the tip of a dancing iceberg. 

Big Dance Schools Pledge

Greenwich Dance’s Big Dance 2012 Schools Pledge took place at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich – part of a Guinness world record attempt to have the most people dancing at the same time in multiple venues. Pupils from Morden Mount Primary School and St Alfege with St Peter’s Primary School took part.

30 years in pictures: Big Dance. A group of children wearing Big Dance tshirts stretch their arms to the sky.

Big Dance 2012. Photo by Tracey Fahey

30 years in pictures: Big Dance. A group of children wearing Big Dance tshirts are dancing

Big Dance 2012. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith

30 years in pictures: Big Dance. A group of school students pose with one of their colleagues standing on their knees. They are in the painted hall.

Big Dance 2012. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith

Big Dance Schools Pledge Greenwich

In Woolwich, pupils from St Ursula’s Convent School and James Wolfe Primary School took part. 

Big Dance Schools Pledge Woolwich

Big Dance Walk (2012)

The public and passersby were invited to a guided journey through Oxleas Meadows led by artists Thomas Goodwin and Petra Soor. Working with an intergenerational cast of local people, the site-specific work was also interpreted in British Sign Language.  

30 years in pictures: Big Dance. A group of performers stand among trees. Some are clinging to them.

Big Dance Walk 2012. Photo by Gigi Gianella

Through and Out (2014)

Devised by choreographer Jorge Crecis, hundreds of dance-skippers from the local community joined professional dance artists in one epic event in Greenwich Park.

30 years in pictures: Big Dance. A group of young people jump up in front of the camera. They are in a sunny park

Big Dance 2014. Photo by Danilo Moroni

Nearly 200 people, aged seven to 70, from south east London schools and community groups, were involved.  Audiences listened to a soundtrack on MP3 players and had the chance to join in at the end. 

“The most amazing and wonderful thing about Through & Out Skipping Extravaganza was the ending… it was incredible to see more than 500 people, including the families and friends of the participants and other park visitors releasing their inner child out and skipping their hearts out in Greenwich Park.”

Jorge Crecis

Greenwich Dance’s artistic director Kat Bridge said at the time:  

“This was one of our most ambitious participatory projects yet, teaching hundreds of people of all ages across South East London dance and rope-skipping moves. 

They have been on an incredible journey with the support of Jorge Crecis and our fantastic team of dance artists.”

Kat Bridge

Workplace Dance

The participation team took dance to some unexpected places such as Woolwich Barracks, a firestation and offices in the borough.

Workplace Dance. Photo by Roswitha Chesher

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