Everybody dance now!

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 15:24

Our annual celebration of culture inspired by the city, Urban, has returned, bringing not only hip-hop karaoke, urban gardening and spoken-word poetry, but also dancers getting down in style in every corner of Royal Festival Hall. 

Want to join in? We’ve asked expert dancers from some of Urban’s dance companies in residence to share some steps.

Bruno from Tanguito presents... The tango


To dance tango, you need to put yourself in the dance completely, forgetting the world around you...We can spot really good dancers by the quality of their connection with their partner – we talk about “one person, four legs".
Bruno from Tanguito
Tango is a partner dance, so find a friend and decide who will lead and who will follow.
  1. Assume the tango position: stand facing each other with the leader’s left hand holding the follower’s right hand. The leader’s right hand should be on the follower’s waist. The follower’s left hand should be on the leader’s upper arm. 
  2. The leader takes a step forward on the left foot, while the follower steps back on the right foot. The leader then takes a step forward on the right foot, while the follower steps back on their left foot. 
  3. The leader steps to the left on their left foot, and leaves their right foot with its toe on the floor.
  4. At the same time, the follower steps to the right on their right foot, and leaves their left foot with the toe on the floor. 
  5. The leader steps back with their right foot, placing it behind their own left foot. At the same time, the follower takes two steps, stepping forward with their left foot and then with their right foot, which is placed next to the leader’s right foot. 
  6. The leader swivels on their heels and brings their left foot in to join their right foot so feet are placed together. At the same time, the follower brings their left foot around their right foot so that their feet are placed together and they are facing the leader.

Vicki Igbokwe from Uchenna Dance presents... The Two Step

‘Dancing is a sure way to a happier life’ says Uchenna Dance founder and creative director Vicki Igbokwe. And there’s the added bonus of learning some hot moves for your next work do or Friday night out.’ Vicki started Uchenna dance to share steps from house dance, waacking, vogue and African dance with students and performers. Her moves featured in the opening ceremony of London’s 2012 Olympic Games. 

The Two Step
  1. Stand in a neutral position with your feet together 
  2. Step your right leg out to the side and then step your left leg to the right, so that you’re back in a neutral position 
  3. Repeat the move to the left: step your left leg out to the side and step your right leg to the left
  4. You can think about  it as step, together; step, together
  5. Once you’re comfortable with the step, add your own groove with the rest of your body. 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 presents... The Smurf

Pineapple Community is a community dance empire, which has made dance available to teachers and communities in London and the UK for the past 15 years. 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.’

Do The Smurf
  1. Standing in a neutral position with your feet slightly apart, bend and straighten your knees so that you are bouncing to the beat
  2. Make your right hand into a fist and slowly bring it in a half circle around and in towards your chest (this is on the one count)
  3. Extend your arm as if you’re punching somebody (this is on the two count)
  4. Drop it to your side and repeat with your left arm, one two
  5. Once you’re comfortable, you can walk forwards instead of bouncing, or move your chest in and out, as if you’re breathing, to the one-two count

Simeon from BirdGang Dance Company presents... The Birdgang Stomp

Simeon Qsyea thinks people should learn to dance because ‘it’s something that’s been in our history since man was made... As soon as  there’s music or 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 BirdGang Dance Company founder has brought thought-provoking hip-hop-based moves to the BBC, Sadlers Wells, the X Factor and The O2.  

The Birdgang Stomp
  1. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides
  2. Raise your left leg and bend your elbows so that your fists are at shoulder height
  3. Stomp your foot and at the same time, send your fists down towards the floor and nod your head
  4. Then with your feet planted on the floor, bop your head like the Churchill dog while rotating your upper body 360 degrees. Move your chest and shoulders to the front, then to the right, to the back, to the left and to the front again. You’re swaying all the way round, as if you were drunk!