It’s a new Breathe Regularly season and we celebrate summer with a dazzling array of performers from across the globe in a programme that will really stir your senses! We say farewell to 10 years of Big Dance and ‘bom dia’ to the colour and vibrancy of Brazil as the 2016 Rio Olympics get underway. Our special pop-ups Breathing Spaces continue too, bringing personal performances of magic, poetry and music into more public spaces and to more people.
We love Big Dance, the biennial festival of people dancing which is supported by the Mayor of London. As it comes to its hip-shaking, foot-jangling crescendo with Big Dance Week (running from July 2 – 10) Breathe is doing its part in sharing the love for dance as an inclusive art form. The week traditionally offers a selection of dance performances and events which aims to bring colour and excitement to public spaces across the nation. To kick off our summer Breathe Regularly season we were keen to share the power of dance with our visitors and therefore invited South Asian dance group Akademi to perform their awe-inspiring dance routines at St Thomas’s hospital.
On Monday, the two graceful performers took centre stage and entertained a captivated audience. This time Akademi presented the Kathak – a traditional form of North Indian classical dance which uses mime, storytelling and rhythm to pass on the purity of the Indian culture and values. The Kathak was traditionally used as a form of welcoming guests or expressing the spirituality of the mind and body.
Before the concert began, the women tied a long string of golden bells around their ankles called a Ghunghru. With each rhythmic step, these lively bells would clink and chime. With expert precision and through intricate moves with their feet and bodies, the dancers integrated the delicate sounds into the sooting music. Each solo performance lasted around ten minutes with both dancers displaying astonishing skill and elegance. All dances were educational in their own way – one in particular telling of the love between the Hindu God Lord Krishna and his beloved, Radha. The dances revived important historical narratives of expressing love in a both spiritual and physical sense which is what the Kathak is all about.
We started our summer season with an event dedicated to both, celebrating the heritage of the multi-cultural communities of our city as well engaging with its inclusive performing arts scene as culminated in projects such as Big Dance. With that Breathe demonstrates its continued commitment to delivering unique experiences for all patients, staff and visitors, and bringing everyone closer together in one space as a shared community.