During the Seven Dials Festival in London’s Covent Garden, we were out and about collecting stories and chatting about dancing to members of the public. The material collected is to be a part of our continuing project exploring the Hidden Histories of those living in London’s West End.

One lady spoke of the famous and infamous ballet dancer Nureyev, rumoured to have had an affair with Fontaine; she remembered getting tickets to see him play Mercutio when he was too old for Romeo - the best tickets. She was so close she could see him at one point as he sat on stage, heavily panting, and thought to herself 'you're not going to be dancing much longer'. She remembered the disappointment of coming face to face with your hero's mortality.
Another person we spoke to remembered his experience of being taught forro in Brazil (the tame original version came from Europe); he was so embarrassed by the closeness required by the dance, and its sexual suggestiveness that he had to give up.
Someone else remembered a Congolese man he'd seen in New York, a man with no legs, but who had been dancing on his hands. 
We also spoke to a group of visiting Swedish girls, who were training as dancers and described their joy at being able to dance freely in clubs, without scrutinising eyes of their teachers.
And a woman who had once been a little girl, staring in at the windows of a ballet studio opposite where she lived; whenever she went walkabout, aged three, she would be found stood standing outside the window. She moved before she ever got lessons but now she teaches Bollywood dancing in schools.

- Charlotte Thompson


Some of our Congolese colleagues also joined the festival with a greatest of Congolese music. We also used the day to give the first performance of Ashamed To Kiss, a condensed version of The Taming of the Shrew, one of our Shakespeare Shorts adaptations. A few weeks later we performed it again in a double bill with Paulina, a one-woman telling of A Winter’s Tale, at The Astor Theatre Deal, Kent.

(Photos ©Adam Levy)


Back to News Page