Take your partners for Norwich’s BIg Dance 2012

Time Gentlemen Please, an energetic production devised by Norfolk-raised Damien Barber that mixes traditional folk dancing with hip hop and street dance moves, is a highlight of Big Dance 2012. SIMON PARKIN previews it and the other events.

With the final preparations being made for the Olympic opening ceremony, there has been much mocking about the possible inclusion of Morris dancing.

The people who find the idea so hilarious have obviously never seen the work of Norfolk-raised musician Damien Barber, who has spent the past decade touring with his high-energy 'maverick English folk' roadshow of young clog, Morris and street performers.

His hugely acclaimed Demon Barber Roadshow, which saw traditional and not-so traditional dancers team up for a fusion of clog dancing and break-dancing, won best live act in BBC2's 2009 Radio 2 Folk Awards.

That experimental show, gave Damien, who was brought up in North Walsham and Norwich but is now based in Yorkshire, the impetus and confidence to mount Time Gentlemen Please.

Returning to Norwich Playhouse on July 8 as one of the highlights of Big Dance 2012, a series of dance events across Norwich, Time Gentlemen Please takes the premise one step further.

A fusion of folk dance and street dance, it pushes back the boundaries of traditional dance by inviting three young hip hop dancers for a night out at their local pub The Fighting Cocks.

Most Read

The story involves the three hip hop dancers being invited to the pub, leading to a dancing stand-off between the contrasting styles.

Damien, who is also bringing The Demon Barber Roadshow to the Wymondham Festival on July 7, has grown ever more passionate about traditional dancing, no matter the mockery that often accompanies the sight of old men dancing with bells on.

'These dances belong to everyone but people don't recognise that, and I think that's to do with there being a lot of stereotypes surrounding it,' he says.

And what about Morris in the Olympics? 'I think it's really important that there is some representation there of traditional English customs. We've got some of the best dancers in the country and we have a new approach to presenting traditional dance.'

t Time Gentleman Please, Norwich Playhouse, July 8, �17.50 (�15 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

t The Demon Barber Roadshow, Central Hall, Wymondham, July 7, �14, under-18s �4, 01953 601939,




t Ragroof Theatre promise a tea dance with a difference outside the Forum on July 5. Shall We Dance (3-4pm/7.30-8.30pm) will see a beautiful bandstand brought to life by glamorous dancing couples from the roaring 1920s to the thrifty 50s. Get ready to enjoy the charleston, waltz, tango, foxtrot and jive. Dance the afternoon and evening away (4pm-5.30pm/8.30pm-10pm) to vintage sounds. The Shellac Collective — aka DJ Greg's Greats and DJ78 — will spin 78rpm records from bygone times (5.30pm-6pm/6.45pm-7.30pm), and fine purveyors of filthy swing Top Shelf Jazz will provide the dance grooves (6pm-6.45pm).

t Tim Cross will exhibit his collection of stunning and dramatic photographs showing the art of dance in the Forum Atrium from July 2-14 July. And there will also be archive footage from the Royal Opera House and costumes from the Royal Ballet School.

t Inertia, a specially commissioned digital installation by award-winning choreographer and video artist Darren Johnston, will be showing on the Fusion big screen at the Forum from July 2-14. The piece integrates underwater choreography, multi-projection interfaces and otherworldly spacial design.

t One of Hollywood's classic dance movies An American in Paris, starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and with music from George Gershwin, is being screened for free for one night only on a giant, outdoor movie screen on Millennium Plain on July 4, starting at 7.30pm.

t Bo Nanafana Social Club, well known for their hugely successful cabaret nights, host a free evening of rock'n'roll, swing and vintage sounds to an outdoor stage on Millennium Plain on July 6, 5-10pm. The Shellac Collective will be DJ-ing between 5-7pm before a swing dance class to eclectic sounds and jumping live bands between 7pm-8pm, providing the perfect opportunity to dress-up and show-off. Then from 8pm nine-piece big band Fat 45 will be bringing back the dance music of the 1940s and 50s and setting the dance floor alight.

t A series of lunchtime talks at The Curve in the Forum offers a chance to meet the people behind the performances. On July 3, Darren Johnston will talk about his video installation Inertia. On July 10, Steve Kirkham, who first performed in Matthew Bourne's work over 20 years ago, will give an insight into the creation of upcoming Theatre Royal production Play Without Words. On July 11, Anna Meadmore, curator of the Royal Ballet School's White Lodge Museum will give an illustrated talk about Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet. And on July 12, Tim Cross will talk about his exhibition of dance photographs. Talks take place 12.30pm-1.30pm, tickets �5 (�3 cons), 01603 630000.