In the summer of 2016 we welcomed Urban to the Southbank Centre. A celebration of culture inspired by the city, it took over our venues with people of all ages coming together to try out everything from hip-hop karaoke to urban gardening, spoken word poetry to street art. But one of the most popular mediums throughout the festival was dance.
And so we asked some of the expert dancers who joined us to lead classes at Urban to share some of their favourite steps to encourage everyone to get up on their feet. Whatever your age, whether a beginner or a burgeoning ballet superstar.
What do you reckon? Can you take on the two step? Tame the tango? Smash the smurf? Beast the birdgang stomp? Clear some space in your front room and give it a go. Everybody dance now!
Vicki Igbokwe from Uchenna Dance
‘Dancing is a sure way to a happier life’ says Vicki igbokwe, founder and creative director of Uchenna Dance. ‘And, whatever your age, there’s the added bonus of learning some hot moves for your next school disco, work do, or just a Friday night out.’ Vicki started Uchenna dance to share steps from house dance, waacking, vogue and African dance with students and performers. Her moves even featured in the opening ceremony of London’s 2012 Olympic Games.
How to do The Two Step
When I teach this move, I like to think ‘too cool for school’! Let the beat be your guide and the pulse will set you free.
Abiola from Pineapple Community
For two decades Pineapple Community has helped make dance available to teachers and communities in London and the wider UK. Instructor Abiola thinks there’s one big secret to great dancing: ‘If I teach someone a routine and they put their own little spin on it, that makes it more interesting to look at. And also if they look like they’re having a good time it's even better.’
How to do The Smurf
Simeon Qysea from BirdGang Dance Company
Simeon Qsyea thinks people should learn to dance because ‘it’s something that’s been in our history since man was made. The moment there’s music, or even a simple drum beat or a tap or a click of the finger, there’s something that engages us, and makes us want to move our bodies.’ The founder of BirdGang Dance Company, Simon has brought thought-provoking hip-hop-based moves to agreat number of people via the BBC, Sadlers Wells, the X Factor and The O2.
How to do The Birdgang Stomp
Bruno from Tanguito
'To dance tango, you need to put yourself in the dance completely, forgetting the world around you', says Bruno of the Argentine Tango Academy, Tanguito. Tango is a partner dance, so you'll need to find a friend and decide who will lead and who will follow. 'We can always spot really good dancers by the quality of their connection with their partner', says Bruno, 'we talk about “one person, four legs"'.
How to do The Tango
The show must go on(line)
Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.
As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.