2018 is a special year for the UK. It’s been 100 years since the first women secured the right to vote in the United Kingdom. The journey for gender equality has been long and fruitful and the battle still rages on.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also a proud feminist, launched a major campaign to celebrate the role London played in the women’s suffrage campaign, to mark the progress made on women’s equality over the last century and to drive gender equality across the capital.
The campaign is named, quite wonderfully, #BehindEveryGreatCity. The slogan was deliberately used in the 60s and 70s for feminist campaigns all around the world. The title celebrates the great contributions and achievements made by women in making a city great. ‘Behind every great man, there is a woman’ takes a step back as the emphasis is now on women and the way they shape the whole city.
Everything That Rises Must Dance
Celebrating the centenary of one of the most important events in the history of the UK indeed calls for a dance. Dance Umbrella is bringing a dance performance to the city of London. It is produced by the British theatre company Théâtre de Complicité, founded by English actor Simon Montagu McBurney.
This is no ordinary performance. The dance piece is performed by 200 women in three venues around London as part of Dance Umbrella 2018.
The dance piece is the brainchild of director and choreographer Sasha Milavic Davies, devised with composer and long-term collaborator Lucy Railton.
“Everything that rises must dance is a dance piece fro 200 women of all ages, background, and abilities. It’s based on gestures that each of these 200 women have seen in the street, they have seen another women do” said Davies.
The idea behind the performance is to let the audience get involved in the lives of these women. It’s a free dance piece. The gestures made by these women are the ones they only came up with inspired by what they see in their daily lives and how they move to give the dance a personal touch.
“Some of these women have danced before professionally on stage and some have never danced before. They’re completely personal, they move the way they need to move, they express themselves in the way they want to express themselves. These gestures they’ve seen are their choice so each woman has a very personal set of movements that we turn into a big dance piece” Davies explained.
“Because it’s all based on female gesture at that moment from the street, you get a real insight into the lives of the women’s movement right now around the world” she added.
The piece explores the minute movements of the daily life of women and weaves it with the fragments of folk dance from around the world.
Dimple Devadas was one of the 200 women selected to take part. “It’s been an extraordinary experience to be part of this process with such amazing women. Here’s to women all over the world dancing and rising in every way” she said.
The first two performances were held on 29th September and 7th October. The third and final performance will be on 13th October at Somerset House in London.
“It’s an ode to female movement and by an ode, it’s a celebration of how women move today,” Davies says.