3 June 13 words: Rachel Elderkin
Playful dance and family fun at Lakeside’s Family Festival Weekend

Alongside BMX demos and circus style acts there were some great dance performances by Spill and Nottingham based company Nu-Projeks.

Fearless and energetic, Spill burst onto Highfield’s playground with an action packed performance. This half hour show is full of tricks, gymnastics and playful dance moves which constantly impressed an audience of children and adults alike. Taking the playground antics of kids as a starting point, Spill playfully interpret childhood games and give a whole new purpose to the use of a park’s apparatus.

The swings are the starting point for Spill’s takeover of the play area and are cleverly integrated into a sequence of acrobatic moves performed with perfect timing. From the outset there is a great interaction between the performers and this connection gives a cheeky and often comical edge to their choreography.Spill

The company fearlessly roll and dive around the landscape of the park, bouncing off playground structures and swinging round bars. The apparatus is always used in a fun and inventive manner and while tricks are a central part of this performance they are incorporated in such a way that it can still be considered as a dance piece.

The tricks are certainly impressive and a daring climb to the top of Highfield’s pyramid structure, complete with a one-handed balance, is particularly breathtaking. All acrobatics are performed with a great lightness and agility, giving the audience a sense of confidence in the skill and strength of the dancers.

Between the tricks a mix of contemporary and break dance creates some fun routines. Games such as Grandma’s Footsteps lend themselves to Spill’s playful choreography and with a few gymnastics and breaking moves thrown in the company perfectly capture a sense of childlike physicality. Basketball and skateboarding skills also come into play and provide some further moments of quirky choreography.

Unfortunately there were some technical issues with the Sunday performance and the music was lost, making it evident how essential sound is to an outdoor performance. The company coped well and valiantly rounded off their performance, but with an audience of predominately younger members it was a difficult task to keep everyone engaged when working in such a large and open space.

SpillHowever, this is undoubtedly a high-energy, entertaining and inventive piece performed by a skilful company of dancers. The full show ends with an amusing electro-pop routine, in which it seems clear that the cast have a lot of fun with this piece. For the kids (or the bigger kids) there was even a chance to learn some of the funky electro-pop dance moves in a short workshop led by the company members between performances.

Playful and highly physical, the show was a great addition to the Lakeside festival and definitely a hit with the younger members who seemed particularly inspired by the playground afterwards. Who says that play parks aren’t suitable for adults?

Nu-Projeks, a company of Nottingham based dancers, also showed off their skills in breaking, hip-hop and contemporary dance with an entertaining take on Alice in Wonderland. With the White Rabbit, Alice, The Cheshire Cat and the Tweedles all in attendance, this was a fantastic show for children to see. The narrative-style dance piece played with the tea-party theme and there were some great moments of choreography with the characters gathered around the table.

Nu-Projek’s gave an entertaining performance with a story that was clear and easy to follow, plus there was some skilful breaking moves courtesy of the Cheshire Cat. Fun, colourful and with a well selected mix of music tracks this short show was particularly accessible for a family audience, yet the cast also kept up a high standard of dance and choreography throughout.


Besides dance, Lakeside’s International Children’s Theatre and Dance Festival had plenty to offer and with a lucky spell of summer weather it proved a highly popular event. Let’s hope the fun and festivities of Whee! will be back next year.

Lakeside's International Children's Theatre and Dance Festival took place at Lakeside University Park, Nottingham, from 27 May - 2 June 2013.