Illustration: Joelle Green

Illustration: Joelle Green

FRINGE was a programme of performances, events and published materials reclaiming the fringe as a place of power.

In 2013 Dance Umbrella celebrated 35 years of bringing brave new dance from around the globe to the capital. BELLYFLOP was in residence over four days of the festival – 5, 6, 12 & 18 October – at three venues: Central Saint Martins, The Place and Stratford Circus.

BELLYFLOP Magazine began the process of curating the FRINGE programme hesitantly. Not for lack of ideas, enthusiasm or instruction, but rather for lack of knowing what ‘BELLYFLOP the curator’ was exactly – what does it mean for Dance Umbrella to ask us to curate a programme? We are many people – many artists with many different ways, visions and positions. We do not have a single method, aesthetic or viewpoint. Yet we have a name (albeit a ridiculous one) and it unites us. We have been BELLYFLOPPED and it is as mystifying as it is exciting.

Individuals in any working collective need to share some common ground – BELLYFLOP has two fuels to its engine: the first is dance, the second is the mission to celebrate and encourage the plurality and subjectivity of critical opinions. The rest is up for debate.

As individuals we don’t ever aim to represent anyone other than ourselves. As a collective we represent ourselves but also, inevitably, a larger group: artists with things to say; anyone who wants to challenge the ‘us and them’ relationship between artists and critics; anyone who imagines that anything they do or say might be possibly interesting or important for other people to witness.

Why FRINGE? The ‘fringe’ might be seen as a decoration or excess, something that happens on the sidelines, but it can also be considered as a movement-maker, a cheeky tactile seduction, and a satisfying insistence on doing more than necessary for the sake of delight. Rather than struggling with our position as a programme-within-a-programme we decided to reclaim the fringe and to consider it as a place of freedom and power.

As a title, FRINGE suggests many things – it suggests certain aesthetics and artistic scenes; it suggests particular economical and political structures, that are increasingly vital today; and it suggests the physical and geographical bodies against which these human structures can be compared. The underground, vast, information sharing and non-hierarchical organism that is Slime Mould can become an analogy for the internet or for the occupy movement or indeed for the ideals behind the Arab Spring. Everyone in the middle, everyone in between and no one at the top. These structures are made of individuals but not reliant on individuals.

The work we have chosen for FRINGE is somehow relevant to these ideas. Either because of the artistic realm from which it hails, because of its artistic investigations, because of its political posturing or just because it looks good with a fringy hair-do. The connecting threads are therefore multiple and fine. All artistic decisions in BELLYFLOP are made by many people and this is reflected in the programme – presenting a spectrum of what the fringe might be.

FRINGE, commissioned by Dance Umbrella, is curated by BELLYFLOP and designed by The Bite Back Movement.





Image credit: Zinzi Buchanan as 'STEVE'. Photo by Anne Sophie Malmberg

Image credit: Zinzi Buchanan as ‘STEVE’.
Photo by Anne Sophie Malmberg

7-7.40pm: STEVE by Zinzi Buchanan (Germany/UK)
Berlin-based dance maker Zinzi Buchanan kicks FRINGE off with the UK premiere of her solo project, STEVE. STEVE is the beginning of an investigation into drag-show performances; Zinzi explores forms of mediated exhibitionism in a search for the undertones of drag.

7.45-9pm: FRINGE Publication Launch
BELLYFLOP’s limited edition publication exploding the theme of “fringe” will be launched on the opening night of FRINGE. Compiled by BELLYFLOP and designed by The Bite Back Movement, the issue features an introduction by BELLYFLOP and articles, illustrations and a DVD contributed by Charlotte Ashwell, Francisco Carballo, Phoebe Collings-James, Joelle Green, Gillie Kleiman, Hamish MacPherson, Louise Mochia, Eleanor Sikorski and Flora Wellesley Wesley. The publication will be available to buy for £5 at FRINGE.

7.45-9pm: Moments Before by Alexandrina Hemsley
Alongside the publication launch, texts designed and written by Alexandrina Hemsley will be exhibited.
Moments Before inhabits a performance space and traces an absent protagonist/performer/woman/writer/enthusiast/neurotic/romantic/Alex in the making of a piece of work.

Image credit: Mira Kautto in 'Terminal'.  Photo

Image credit: Mira Kautto in ‘Terminal’.

10.45-11pm: Terminal by immigrants and animals
Finnish dance artist Mira Kautto makes a return to London for an exhilarating late night solo performance of Terminal. This dance is one in an ongoing series of short dances made by Jamila Johnson-Small with whatever resources are at hand. Bespoke dances. Lazy dances. Cheap dances. Indulgent dances. Cramped dances. Living room dances.


Ongoing, around the building: Be Your Black Girlfriend
by Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small

Collaborative tour de force Jamila Johnson-Small and Alexandrina Hemsley present Be Your Black Girlfriend (BYBG), a project that expands from the themes explored in their first collaboration and dance duet ‘O‘. Making various parasitic appearances over the course of FRINGE, BYBG exists in the spaces in-between a traditional dance show and everyday social relationships. The performer-spectator relationship is both more brazen and more intimate as Alexandrina and Jamila present themselves to each spectator/participant as their very own Black Girlfriend.

Image credit: Stephanie McMann and Roberta Jean in 'Road Postures'. Image by David Stewart

Image credit: Stephanie McMann and Roberta Jean in ‘Road Postures’. Image by David Stewart

7-7.30pm: Road Postures by Roberta Jean
Choreographer Roberta Jean presents Road Postures, a duet made in collaboration with Stephanie McMann. This work frames two bodies that are both charged and uncharged successively and at once. Roberta stages a physicality that was found through probing the corporeal patterns in urban people’s lives.

9.15-10.30pm: FRINGE Cabaret
BELLYFLOP caps off the first FRINGE weekend with a bang, presenting the all singing, all dancing, sparkly FRINGE Cabaret. Hosted by Matthias Sperling, the cabaret features acts by a marvellous assortment of independent dance artists: William Collins, Jacob Hobbs, Saoirse Ní Bháin, Elsa Petit and Holly France, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome and Nena Zinovieff, Moreno Solinas and Igor Urzelai, and Marquez&Zangs.


Image credit: OPENLAB.  Photo by Eleanor Sikorski

Image credit: OPENLAB.
Photo by Eleanor Sikorski

Ongoing, various spaces: Be Your Black Girlfriend
by Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small

See Sunday 6 October.

3-4pm: OPENLAB with Antonio de la Fe (Spain/UK)
OPENLAB welcomes both participants and audience to an open door, one-hour workshop in the Founders’ Studio. OPENLAB is a model for professional self-development for performers facilitated by Antonio, a London-based, Spanish dance artist. OPENLAB’s frame of research revolves around a basic question: what does “to perform” entail? Professional dance artists who wish to participate in this workshop should contact Antonio at: For more information, visit OPENLAB’s Archive.

Image credit: Dan Watson in 'Jacket Dance' Photo by Brian Archer.

Image credit: Dan Watson in ‘Jacket Dance’
Photo by Brian Archer.

4.15-4.30pm & 8.15-8.30pm: Jacket Dance by Dan Watson
Dan Watson presents Jacket Dance with collaborator Matthew Winston. This piece explores the idea of “ridiculous dancing”. Not as a joke or ironic comment, but curiously and joyfully. They think there must be something seriously meaningful and interesting in the idea of ridiculous dancing.

7-8pm: Simultaneous Artist Monologues
BELLYFLOP’s presence at The Place comes to a head with Simultaneous Artist Monologues. Join independent dance artists Antonio de la Fe, Alice Tatge, and BYBG (Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small) as they speak their minds in the same room, at the same time. Listen to them all, listen to one, skip between words and ideas, draw threads between them, see no connections at all.

Image credit: Nadja Hjorton in 'Radio Dance'. Photo

Image credit: Nadja Hjorton in ‘Radio Dance’.


6.30-7.30pm: Radio Dance by Nadja Hjorton (Sweden)
At the last stop on the FRINGE circuit, Swedish choreographer Nadja Hjorton makes her UK debut with Radio Dance, a solo dance performance that uses the format of radio as a vehicle to move through a subjective dance history, with Sweden and the world’s political climate as a backdrop.

9.15-10.45pm: A Lyrical Dance Concert
by Gillie Kleiman (UK) and Sara Lindström (Sweden)

Image credit: Sara Lindström & Gillie Kleiman in 'A Lyrical Dance Concert'. Photo by Martyn Boston

Image credit: Sara Lindström & Gillie Kleiman in ‘A Lyrical Dance Concert’.
Photo by Martyn Boston

Rounding off the FRINGE programme, Anglo-Swedish duo Gillie Kleiman and Sara Lindström present A Lyrical Dance Concert, a comedy double act come gig come cabaret come experimental dance performance. Get your glad-rags on, grab a drink and a pal, and giggle along with this mixed-up whirlwind of glamorous divas, guitar solos and gangster rappers… Visit A Lyrical Dance Concert’s blog.


The FRINGE Publication Launch (5 October), OPENLAB and Simultaneous Artist Monologues (12 October) are open door (limited capacity). For all other FRINGE events places can be reserved on the day of the performance at the venue in person (one per person). Limited capacity. Venue opening times: 3pm on 5, 6 & 12 October; 6pm on 18 October.
FRINGE events are free to attend.

Join the FRINGE Facebook event.

See the full Dance Umbrella 2013 programme schedule to find out what else is on in the festival.

For more information about FRINGE contact Flora Wellesley Wesley:

For more information about Dance Umbrella 2013 contact Tony Shepherd:


FRINGE: Fringe Travel

It’s 3.30am on Monday morning (or is it still Sunday night?) and I’m off to catch a bus, to catch a train to Chesham. The Read more >

FRINGE: Love Songs/ STEVE/ Terminal/ Moments Before

FRINGE makes me want to do a bellyflop: to break open the water with my awkwardly soft and nauseous belly.

FRINGE: Radio Dance by Nadja Hjorton / A Lyrical Dance Concert by Gillie Kleiman and Sara Lindström

Guest writer Kitty Fedorec offers her thoughts on the last evening of the FRINGE programme.

FRINGE: Radio Dance by Nadja Hjorton / A Lyrical Dance Concert by Gillie Kleiman and Sara Lindström

As part of FRINGE, BELLYFLOP asked people from various backgrounds who have not contributed to BELLYFLOP before if they would be interested in responding to Read more >

FRINGE: Dan Watson – Jacket Dance

As part of FRINGE, BELLYFLOP asked people from various backgrounds who have not contributed to BELLYFLOP before if they would be interested in responding to Read more >

FRINGE: Simultaneous Artist Monologues – Alice Tatge, Antonio de la Fe, BYBG

I am here for Simultaneous Artist Monologues from Antonio de la Fe, Alice Tatge, Alexandrina Hemsley & Jamila Johnson-Small. Entering the studio I take a Read more >

FRINGE: Terminal by Jamila Johnson-Small

“…if not a dystopian future, if Harrison Ford isn’t about to turn up, then what?”


“…there is a tendency to feel a bit on the outside, on the fringe, but most of the time I doubt there is an inside or maybe I’m just not very bothered anymore.”

FRINGE: Road Postures by Roberta Jean and FRINGE Cabaret: Review #1

– The hoarding that you walk through from the arse of Kings Cross up to the new, huge University of the Arts London building is Read more >