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Press Release: Dance Umbrella Announces Digital Programme for 2021 Hybrid Festival

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Monday 13 September 2021








Credits (L-R by row):

Claire Cunningham (photo Hugo Glendinning), Nora Chipaumire (photo Gennadi Novash), Eddie Ladd (photo Keith Morris), Sonny Nwachukwu  (photo Viktoria Szevick)

Jade Hackett (photo Nadia Otshudi), Dimitris Papaioannou (photo Marilena Stafylidou), SAY (photo Yukiko Masui), Valerie Ebuwa (photo Holly Whitaker) 



Following the announcement of the in-person live programme for 2021, Dance Umbrella, London’s annual international dance festival has today announced its digital programme of performances, conversations, films and discussions.


London Battle (conceived and created by Jade Hackett) brings together some of the most exciting talent from London’s hip-hop dance scene in a celebration of the capital’s globally renowned dance and music culture. As a DJ plays a selection of the UK's finest beats, including some by Mikey J Asante, witness dancers going head-to-head in a diverse range of styles to create a thrilling digital dance performance. Get up front, experience the vibe and feel the energy of London’s world class battling. 


In Give Them Their Flowers, join performer, actress and choreographer Jade Hackett as she shines a spotlight on five artists who have and continue to make  significant contributions to the dance world today: Ash  Mukherjee, Kev ‘Renegade’ Gopie, Liza Vallance, Phillip Chbeeb and Shelley Maxwell. This series of intimate in-conversations brings together artists to discuss their work and their path in contemporary creative practice.


SAY: AF (And Friends) is a dance film collaboration, produced by Dance Umbrella,  between dance artists Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui and an exciting range of music artist collaborators. Merging dance influences to create their own unique dance style, this film also introduces reggae influenced artist Casey Pearl & the band; UK beatbox champion MC Zani; the unapologetic and raw Juliana Yazbeck; and South Africa's hottest new duo Tina Redmxn & L Tune ‘Chillin’. This film is part of SAY’s ongoing project “the album”, created with a selection of music artists. 


Choreographer’s Cut returns for 2021 as we invite audiences to step inside the mind of a choreographer with three leading artists giving in-depth commentaries on a previous work. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to go behind the scenes with Nora Chipaumire, Claire Cunningham and Eddie Ladd as they discuss their creative process with Dance Umbrella’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Freddie Opoku-Addaie.


Articles is two specially commissioned editorials from writer, director, and performer Sonny Nwachukwu and performer, actress and choreographer Jade Hackett


Dance Umbrella presents the world premiere of the filmed version of Dimitris Papaioannou’s iconic production NOWHERE, originally commissioned by the Greek National Theater. NOWHERE was originally conceived as a site-specific project, where the space itself was choreographed by programming the new stage mechanisms. A group of humans confronted the spatial challenges created, measuring space with their bodies. A meditation on the very nature of theatre, NOWHERE explores the concept of performance as a machine that mirrors human life.


The filmed version of the central scene (dedicated to the memory of Pina Bausch who had just passed away) was published 7 years ago in June 2014, and went viral with over 2.5 million views.

Created, filmed, and edited by Dimitris Papaioannou, NOWHERE is a co-commission of the New Vision Arts Festival (Hong Kong, China) and Dance Umbrella Festival (London, United Kingdom).


Finally audiences can join Dance Umbrella for a topical Panel Discussion exploring how freelance arts professionals are continuing to adapt within the current climate,hosted and curated by Valerie Ebuwa 

For 2021, Dance Umbrella is launching a brand new Digital Pass which will give audiences exclusive access to all the content available via danceumbrella.co.uk. The pass is Pay What You Can (minimum £5) and gives audiences access to all digital content  within this year’s festival. With content being released throughout the festival, once live, all content will be available on demand until 24th October. 







Choreographer’s Cut: Claire Cunningham, Eddie Ladd, Nora Chipaumire
Available from Friday 8 October, 10am BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/choreographers-cut-2021/
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/ 


Give Them Their Flowers: artists in conversation with Jade Hackett 
Featuring Ash Mukherjee, Kev ‘Renegade’ Gopie, Liza Vallance, Phillip Chbeeb and Shelley Maxwell
Available from Friday 8 October, 10am BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/jade-hackett-give-them-their-flowers
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/


Articles: Sonny Nwachukwu, Jade Hackett
Available from Friday 8 October, 10am BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/articles-2021/
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/


NOWHERE Dimitris Papaioannou 
Available from Monday 11 October, 5pm BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/dimitris-papaioannou-nowhere/
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/


London Battle: conceived and created by Jade Hackett
Available from Thursday 14 October, 5pm BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/jade-hackett-london-battle/
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/


SAY: AF (And Friends)
Available from Monday 18 October, 5pm BST until Sunday 24 October
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/say-af-and-friends/
Buy Digital Pass (Pay What You Can £5, £10, £20, £30), which gives you access to ALL Dance Umbrella digital events: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/digital-pass-2021/


Panel Discussion: curated and hosted by Valerie Ebuwa
Wednesday 20 October, 11.30am via Zoom
Bookable as part of Digital Pass or free - sign-up required: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/panel-discussion-valerie-ebuwa/ 



Takeshi Matsumoto, Club Origami
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/takeshi-matsumoto-club-origami/ 

Stanley Arts | Friday 8 October 2021: 11am & 1pm Book now
The Albany | Saturday 9 October 2021: 11am, 1pm, 3pm Book now
The Place | Sunday 10 October 2021: 11am, 1pm, 3pm Book now
Watermans Arts Centre | Sunday 17 October 2021: 11am, 1pm, 3pm Book now
artsdepot | Sunday 24 October 2021: 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm Book now

Ticket prices vary – see venue websites


DU @BellSquareLDN

Ahilan Ratnamohan, Extra Time

Becky Namgauds & tyroneisaacstuart with students from West Thames College, Assemble 
Bell Square London | Saturday 9 October, 1pm & 3pm, Free
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/du-bellsquareldn/    


DU Watermans Takeover 16 & 17 October

Saturday 16 October

Double-bill: Dani Harris-Walters, Happy Father’s Day & Kesha Raithatha, Traces
7.30pm, Tickets £10 / £9


Sunday 17 October
Takeshi Matsumoto, Club Origami - 11am, 1pm, 3pm | Tickets £10 / £9
Omari ‘Motion’ Carter, International Dance Short Film Programme – 4pm Tickets £5


Timings for Jennifer Irons’ DanceStory and workshops to be announced.
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/du-watermans-takeover/ 


Dimitris Papaioannou Transverse Orientation
Sadler’s Wells | Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 October, 7.30pm
Learn more: https://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/event/dimitris-papaioannou-transverse-orientation/
Book now | Tickets £15-£45: https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/dance-umbrella-dimitris-papaioannou-transverse-orientation/ 



About Dance Umbrella

Dance Umbrella is London’s international dance festival, celebrating 21st century choreography across the capital and beyond. Its mission is to entice audiences, nurture artists, innovate practice, and stimulate interest in the power of the body in motion. Since 1978, the annual festival has brought outstanding contemporary dance to London, presenting more than 785 artists from 40 countries to over one million people. Dance Umbrella has commissioned over 85 new works and presented at 136 different venues ranging from Smithfield Market to the British Library; from canal long boats to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink; from inner city car park rooftops to outer London parks. Alongside the festival, Dance Umbrella creates year-round creative learning initiatives for all ages, develops new choreographic talent, hosts thought-provoking debates and discussions, and offers skill sharing opportunities for creative industry professionals. 





Ash  Mukherjee

Acclaimed by Dance Europe magazine as one of the finest Indian classical dancers of his generation, Ash was handpicked by the This Is It! team to dance a duet with Michael Jackson at London’s O2 Arena in 2009.

He then went on to appear in BBC 3’s Move Like Michael Jackson and worked with choreographer Lavelle Smith Junior (choreographer Dangerous Album World Tour) to create a dance solo which married Indian classical temple dance to Michael’s iconic song Man In The Mirror, which was watched by over three million viewers nationwide.


Ash’s choreographic works include The Flood music video for Katie Melua/William Orbit, Royal Wedding Duet for So You Think You Can Dance BBC, and Margate Mārgām for Margate NOW Festival, part of Turner Prize 2019.


Awards include Best Male Dancer Layavinyas India, nominations for Outstanding Dancer Male by Critics’ Circle National Dance Award UK, London Dance Award, Time Out London Rising Talent & Critics’ Choice artist for Dance Europe.


As an actor Ash has appeared in ‘Will’, a ten episode drama series directed by Shekhar Kapur, choreographed by Francesca Jaynes and produced by Craig Pearce, for Turner Network Television.

Ash's current artistic practice is an integration of bharatanatyam, butoh and original poetry.


Claire Cunningham 

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland. A recent Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany she is also an Affiliate Artist with The Place, London.

One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies).  This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.


Dimitris Papaioannou

Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts, as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make up, and lighting.


He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts.


He formed Edafos Dance Theatre, in 1986 as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theatre, experimental dance, and performance art.


Originating in the underground scene, the company challenged perceptions and gained an expanding number of dedicated followers. MEDEA (1993) marked the company’s transition to big theatres and is considered its iconic work. The Edafos company spanned 17 years, to 2002, and set its indelible stamp on the arts scene in Greece.

Papaioannou became widely known in 2004, as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.


Restarting in 2006, with his production ‘2’, he found himself in the odd position of creating avant-garde works in major theatres in Athens that enjoyed record-breaking long runs, with over 100.000 tickets sold.


In 2009, he began using this platform to create theatrical experiments on a large scale: NOWHERE (2009) for the inauguration of the renovated Greek National Theatre and INSIDE (2011) for the Pallas Theater.


In 2012, stripping down his work to bare essentials, he created PRIMAL MATTER for the Athens Festival, with him back on stage after a ten-year absence.


On the same quest for simplicity, he created STILL LIFE (2014), the first work that toured extensively in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.


In 2015, he created the Opening Ceremony for the Baku 2015 First European Games.

Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers, to intimate pieces, and have appeared in a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens, to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.


In 2017, he created THE GREAT TAMER, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. THE GREAT TAMER toured for two and half years, through 4 continents, 23 countries and 38 cities. It was presented a total of 112 times, before over 90.000 spectators. The work was bestowed with the special award Europe Theatre Prize in Rome in 2017, and Papaioannou was nominated in 2019 for the Olivier award for “outstanding achievement in dance”.


In 2018, Dimitris has become the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. SINCE SHE premiered in May 2018 in Wuppertal (Germany) and was presented in Amsterdam, London, Athens, Paris, and Catanzaro.


In September 2020 he premiered INK, a duet performed by Šuka Horn and Dimitris Papaioannou at the Torinodanza Festival. His latest work TRANSVERSE ORIENTATION will premiere in 2021 at ONASSIS STEGI in Athens, and is scheduled to be presented in more than 30 cities around the world.


Eddie Ladd

Eddie Ladd has spent thirty-five golden years in showbusiness. 


She started making shows in 1989 and these theatre and site-specific pieces have toured internationally. Using new technologies from the very beginning, she received a NESTA fellowship in 2002 to develop this element in her work.  


She has collaborated with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Frân Wen and Arad Goch as a performer and movement director, teaches in schools and colleges and is a Creative Fellow at Aberystwyth University. Brought up on a farm, her aim now is to work in her square mile to combine performance and agriculture.


Jade Hackett

Jade Hackett is a performer, actress and choreographer. 


DANCE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS include: The Pied Piper, Boy Blue Entertainment, Stratford Theatre Royal 2006 (playing Da Brat); Blaze, the international tour, Berlin and Dubai tour; Into the Hoodz, Zoonation Dance Company, London and UK tour in 2016 (playing Zapunzel); The Mad Hatters Tea Party, Zoonation Dance Company, Roundhouse 2016-2017 (playing Queen of Hearts and Cheshire Cat); Some Like it Hip Hop, Zoonation Dance Company, The Peacock Theatre 2019 (playing Kerry).


THEATRE PRODUCTIONS include: Sylvia, Zoonation Dance Company The Old Vic, 2019 (playing Jennie Churchill); Nine Night, written by Natasha Gordon, Trafalgar Studios, 2019 (playing Aunty Maggie and Lorraine); A Monster Calls, written by Sally Cookson, UK and USA tour 2020.


COMMERCIAL WORK includes: StreetDance 3D: The Movie, opposing crew; 2010 Adidas campaigns, ASOS collaboration clothing line; London Olympic and Baku European Games Opening and Closing Ceremony 2012, 2015.


Kev ‘Renegade’ Gopie

Kev ‘Renegade’ Gopie has a long history in Hip Hop. Starting as a 1st generation street dancer in 1982, he progressed to DJing in 1986. A specialist in providing music for various dance competitions, he has been a regular DJ at all of the biggest and most prestigious dance events across the globe including: UK BBoy Champs, IBE, Battle of the Year, R16 Korea, Freestyle Session, Juste Debout, Redbull BC One, EuroBattle, OutBreak and Silverback Open. He has had a major influence on the type, style and the way music is played at dance events around the world.


He is the founder, coach and mentor of national breaking champions, Soul Mavericks and Monsterz popping crew, both of whom are well recognised across the underground dance sphere. He was also involved with Ballet Boyz, choreographing part of their reinterpretation of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which was shown on BBC television.


As the resident DJ for the UK BBoy Championships, he was featured annually in the Channel 4 coverage of the world tour. He also regularly attends events as judge, advisor and panel member. He was a Lecturer in Dance at UEL as part of their Urban Dance degree course. Previously, as one of Red Bull's opinion leaders he was often consulted on issues that affect the scene and was a livestream commentator on one of their flagship events, the Red Bull BC One.


In 2018, he was featured as a head judge at the Youth Olympic Games, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was co-developer of the judging system that was used, and will be used moving forward to the Paris Olympics in 2024.


Currently he is working alongside the WDSF training and certifying judges for events that will be qualifiers for Paris 2024.


Liza Vallance

Liza Vallance is Artistic Director of Studio 3 Arts. Her work is driven by the idea of democratising art; of challenging the cultural and social hierarchies that exist in the creative industries. Liza is an instigator, a storyteller and an activist; co-creating work with communities that helps us make sense of the world, asking questions and provoking discussion. Liza is proudly, and loudly, working class.


Liza trained at Queen Mary College, specialising in Forum Theatre and Performance Art. After graduating in 2000 Liza worked with Split Britches, Augusto Boal, Ali Campbell and Proteus Theatre, creating socially and politically-charged work that toured prisons, mental healthcare settings and community spaces. Liza was subsequently invited to join Studio 3 Arts to develop Big Deal, the organisation’s youth arts provision, in 2003. Liza quickly grew a portfolio of work with young people to include professional touring theatre; dance and choreography professional development; youth-led training for social workers and a youth-run music studio social enterprise, winning a number of awards and accolades along the way. Liza became Artistic Director in 2009 and since then has led Studio 3 Arts to become East London’s leading socially-engaged arts practice, bringing significant financial and cultural investment in to Barking and Dagenham, including leading the successful bid to ACE for £1.5m investment from their ‘Creative People and Places’ Programme. In 2016 Liza led the team that created the promenade adaptation of The Merchant of Venice with a cast of 9 professional actors and more than 100 local people which garnered a 4* review in the Sunday Times. In 2019 Liza successfully fundraised for £1.8m to transform Studio 3 Arts’ home into a world-class arts centre, which is due to open by the end of 2021.


Nora Chipaumire

nora chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe). She is a product of colonial education for black native Africans - known as group B schooling - and has pursued other studies at the University of Zimbabwe (law) and at Mills College in Oakland, CA (dance).



SAY is simply an acronym for Sarah Golding & Yukiko Masui. These two dance artists have been performing and creating internationally since 2012. In 2019; Sarah and Yuki joined their dynamic forces and formed a collective where they developed their passion for “making up” dances to songs & new music which they simply love to bounce to. SAY takes huge pride in including the music artists they work with in their creative process. It is integral that an honest collaboration occurs between both art forms to create complete synergy between music and dance to introduce new audiences to contemporary dance.


Sarah Golding trained at Trinity Laban and received a BA and MA in dance performance (Transitions Dance Company). Once graduated she became a dancer with 'Lîla Dance' in 2014 where she toured nationally and rurally. She has performed for theatre companies and choreographers including the Royal Court, Alesandra Seutin, Bang Bang Bang group, Darcy Wallace, Quang Kien Van, Cathy Waller. Sarah has most recently performed with the West End and world touring cast of STOMP.


Sarah's choreographic credits include Balletboyz (the intro.) Royal Court, TrinityLaban, Mountview (As You Like It, Children of Eden, Candide). She recently had her West End debut as a movement director for the sellout play 'Cruise'.


Yukiko Masui started her dance training in hip hop and latin dance in Tokyo. In 2008, she moved to London to study Contemporary Dance and joined Transitions Dance Company at Trinity Laban as a part of MA course. Since the graduation, she has been working internationally with companies and choreographers such as Agudo Dance, Art of Spectra(SE), Cathy Waller, Norrdans(SE), Rhiannon Faith, Rosie Kay, Tamsin Fitzgerald(2Faced Dance), TRIBE and more.


Yuki's choreographic credits include Norrdans, LSCD, London Studio Centre, NSCD and Ballet Boyz(R&D). Her own works were commissioned by and toured to The Place, DanceXchange, Riley Theatre, Norrlands Opera and beyond. She has also choreographed musicals and theatre productions such as A Little Night Music(Story House), Guy the new musical(Bunker Theatre) and Miss Julie(Southwark Playhouse).


Shelley Maxwell

Shelley Maxwell is a Movement Director and Choreographer working across film, musical theatre and stage plays. As a performer she has danced with Disney’s Lion King, Fela!, Tavaziva Dance Company and the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. Shelley won the award for Best Choreographer at the inaugural British Black Theatre Awards in 2019 for her work on Equus. Her recent work on J’ouvert was showcased on BBC Arts Lights Up Season and in October Debbie Tucker Green’s Ear for Eye will also air on the BBC. She is currently working as the choreographer on the upcoming West End Musical Get Up Stand Up.


Sonny Nwachukwu 

Sonny Nwachukwu is a writer, director, and performer based in London. His work is multi-disciplinary spanning across writing, poetry, dance, theatre and anything that lies beyond. His work primarily focuses on the African and Caribbean Diaspora.


Sonny is a storyteller that incorporates dance and literature making his work relevant, unique, vibrant and thought-provoking. His academic background in Psychology informs much of his work and looks to create certain ideas in this area.


Sonny received his dance training from authentic West African and dancehall teachers. He has performed with numerous Afrobeats and dancehall artists working across the UK and has performed at venues including Sadler’s Wells and SSE Wembley stadium.


In 2019 Sonny was awarded an Unlimited and Spirit of 2012 commission, to create his first full length work entitled Saturn Returns. Other current works, include Triple Threat (2019), Eve and Cain (2021) and (Re)Union (2021). Sonny is the founder of GatewayArts Productions.


Valerie Ebuwa 

Valerie Ebuwa is a freelance dance artist, activist, writer and model from East London. She started her training at Lewisham College before obtaining a BA HONS degree from London Contemporary Dance School. Amongst others, she’s recently worked with Clod Ensemble, Vincent Dance Theatre, Eddie Peake and the MichaelDouglas Kollektiv. As a maker, she has choreographed and curated ValUE and ValUE II. Her writing has been featured in The Stage magazine and is a regular contributor to I am Hip Hop magazine, a printed and online publication championing Hip Hop culture. Her work has been featured in Crack magazine, i-D, Glass magazine and The Earth Issue. 





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