Dance Umbrella was one of the many organisations to feel the de-stabilising wrench of the funding rug being pulled from under them during the Arts Council cuts. But rather than fading into the national statistics of failed-art organisations-at-the-hands-of-the-Tories, The 34-year-old company have decided to respond in a creative and gung-ho way. Betsy Gregory and Jonathan Burrows have opted to celebrate a very particular kind of dance: the kind that demands a small venue, small audience – and it’s an intimate experience.
The festival usually takes place in the high profile spaces at the Southbank or Barbican, this time the festival will be housed in and around the Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martin’s new Kings Cross site. It may not have quite the same name-dropping ring to it, but believe me, the towering warehouse that CSM now calls home is one of the most impressive buildings I have seen in a long time. It will no doubt serve the festival admirably.
As always, the festival will include performances – both on and off site – installations, talks and film screenings. Despite adversity, Dance Umbrella has come up with a fascinating programme that seeks to open up dance to a wider audience. Following the attention that the Pina Bausch documentary, the Olympics opening ceremony and the recent Turbine Hall performance art has demanded, dance is well and truly in the spotlight; this can only help with their cause.
Dance Umbrella takes place on October 5th – 14th. For more info, www.danceumbrella.co.uk