For those who don’t know, Urban Explorers is an annual dance event in Notts, coordinated by the internationally renowned Tom Dale Company, who have come together with Inspire to uplift and encourage young dancers across the city.
In the first half of the show we saw choreography by the Tom Dale Company performed engagingly by all of the participating members, as well as some stellar performances from the likes of pro dancers Jemima Brown and Kassi Jameson. Using the concept from his touring show “I Infinite” the contemporary dance performance told a stunning visual story that spoke of environmental change and new technology.
TDC has dance music culture pumping through its veins, which is easy to tell by the use of tracks from artists at the forefront of the electronic music scene, such as Four Tet, Djrum and Jon Hopkins. The use of colourful light projections and shadow play added layers to the storytelling, and we travelled from what felt like a field at sunrise to the depths of a jostling nightclub. Looking at the faces of each dancer, it was clear to see how invested each member was to the art they were collectively creating.
In the second half of the show, each participating dance group got to showcase their own original dance performances. It was brilliant to see diversity in the range of ages, dance styles and abilities involved. Seven dance groups from all over Nottingham performed including squads like SANDance, MX4 and Black Thunder. Seeing their original performances was a delight, and showed just how much the Urban Explorers programme pushed the dancers to work beyond their usual boundaries.
What seems to work especially well about the programme, is not only did it allow them to develop new skills and work with acclaimed professionals, but it also gave them the access to network and collaborate amongst each other, building a stronger community for themselves.
Tom Dale plans to make this a regular, annual occurrence in Nottingham, so if you are a dancer or part of a dance group, keep your eyes peeled; this would be a great opportunity for any young performer to gain experience working in a professional capacity and involve themselves in something rather special.