30 years in pictures: Up My Street

30 years in pictures | 08 November 2023

30 years in pictures: Up My Street. Five dancers leap into the air on a village green. In the foreground is a sign that says Middle Park Avenue

Up My Street the SHOWTIME photoshoot. Photo by Roswitha Chesher

Up My Street SHOWTIME was a planned tour of a cabaret – style format, very much inspired by the earlier cabarets as programmed by Richard Blanco and Kat Bridge, mixing community dance with professional excerpts and borrowing the rural touring format of taking these to community centres across the borough.

Artists confirmed to perform included ZoieLogic Dance Theatre, Temujin Gill’s Grounded Movement and Matthieu Geffré – compered by Sarah Blanc.  

These images are from the photoshoot and involved members of Lotus Youth Dance Company, local young people, Temujin Gill and his dancer Sam. The shoot took place outside each community centre next to its nearest street sign and was intended to root the performances within the heart of the community.

Then Covid cancelled our plans.  

Instead of postponing, as we had no idea when performances could realistically take place, we pivoted the entire project online. We contacted all who had booked tickets and invited them to join a community cast, linked them to one of the choreographers and tasked them to make a dance film in fully locked down conditions. Then we recorded, again remotely, TV-style episodes of the choreographer in conversation with Sarah Blanc in the midst of which sharing the finished film. Film makers Roswitha Chesher and Martin Collins shared the editing and the finished results were viewed by over 30,000 people on You Tube and Facebook, as well as being played on the Big Screen in General Gordon Square, Woolwich.

30 years in pictures: Up My Street. A still from Sarah Blanc's video which featured tiny screens filled with dancers

A still from Sarah Blanc's Up My Street film

What an experience. I will be truly grateful for this project for as long as I can remember. For a project that was supposed to be live, and to be able to be evolve it into something like this with such a fast turnaround- It was wild. I loved working with my two groups for our film This Time Will Pass. There was an instant respect and care between all of us and the themes I brought to the groups, were developed to become their own stories, capturing a very unique moment in time.  

I really enjoyed hosting the weekly shows. I remember feeling the pressure of wanting this to be brilliant and do the best job ever. So before each recording I’d try and de-stress myself by dancing around to Britney Spears in my kitchen. I feel so bad for all the outtakes that Martin had to sift through whilst I forgot script, lost confidence, gained confidence, squabbled with my partner Sam (who helped us out with the setup of the cameras and sound) and too many lipstick on teeth checks.  

It was a mountain of work that so many of us really gave our all too again with the unwavering support of Melanie and the whole Greenwich Dance team. A dream!”

Sarah Blanc 

30 years in pictures: Up My Street. A still from ZoieLogic's Sleuth film. A detective with a trilby, mac and magnifying glass is caught up in red tape

A still from Zoie Golding's Sleuth film

“What we achieved together in lockdown against all odds was amazing!!!! We devised a whole new interactive detective dance film, involving local people from their homes, led CPD skill sharing sessions and I had the pleasure of supporting a community member to make their own movement film. Greenwich Dance truly knows what it takes to collaborate with artists and ZoieLogic is proud to be part of the fabric of the work they do.”

Zoie Golding, Artistic Director of ZoieLogic Dance Theatre 

30 years in pictures: Up My Street. A still from Mathieu Geffre's film. A dancer wearing headphones is in his living room, sliding off the sofa and onto the floor

A still from Mathieu Geffré's Up My Street film

Up My Street was a project designed to meet people by creating a more tangible access to our works through participation and attendance. In a world that turned upside down and where physical contact became the greatest of dangers, Greenwich Dance enabled us artists to remember the essence and relevance of our creative engagement. Up My Street was a celebration of connection, it shone a light on our purpose and our power, it made us feel alive. Thank you Greenwich Dance for involving me in the making of a project that put artistic freedom and participants wellbeing at the heart of its purpose.

Mathieu Geffré 

You can hear artists Sarah and Mathieu discussing the challenges of moving the project online in our episode of Talking Moves Pivoting Work Online 

Once the project had ended it was followed up with Make Your Own Dance Film – a ‘counter’ project where members of the community were partnered with one of the choreographers and either Ros or Martin to storyboard and create a dance film of their own. Their moving work can be seen here… but have your tissues ready.

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