Take a look back through the Dance Umbrella archives to find out more about some of our most recent festivals since 2014. Explore each programme in full by downloading the past festival brochures.


2020 marked the 42nd year of Dance Umbrella and Emma Gladstone’s 7th and final festival. Although the festival in its usual format was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still found a way to celebrate the work of contemporary choreographers. For Dance Umbrella Digital we brought together over 40 artists from across the globe for intimate conversations; took a behind the scenes look at the choreographic process; debated the pressing topics of the day; ran choreographic workshops for different ages, shared articles and playlists, streamed films and invited audiences to a digital dance party.


From Zone 1 to Zone 5, in a record number of venues across London, 2019 saw DU bringing you the work of artists from four continents. Their imagination offered new ways of perceiving the world, a force for change in envisaging different futures, and illuminating our current realities.

The festival artists played with a rich palette of music, sound, design and text in the performances, their passion to speak through choreography united them under our Umbrella. Guest Programmer Freddie Opoku-Addaie finished his tenure at DU in style, UK newcomer Amala Dianor played to sold out houses, and Oona Doherty was the Guardian’s No 1 Dance Show of 2019 with her group work Hard to be Soft.


In 2018 Dance Umbrella turned the big 40 and that year we set out to engage Londoners more widely across the city than ever before.

We brought dozens of international artists from twelve countries to share their visions, kicking-off with two firsts together – New York City’s Big Dance Theater’s first visit to the capital and Dance Umbrella’s first partnership with The Old Vic. We also welcomed back Dimitris Papaioannou for his debut performances at Sadler’s Wells, which was subsequently nominated for an Olivier Award.

A free spectacle featuring 200 women traveled across town, alongside DU’s fifth tour of work for younger audiences. We invited audiences to journey to new artistic lands with Irish dancer Colin Dunne, Canadian ice skaters Le Patin Libre, China’s incisive Wen Hui, Via Katlehong’s rebellious pantsula from South Africa and to witness a freestyle dance battle at CRXSS PLATFXRM.

Main events

  • Big Dance Theater 17c
  • Colin Dunne Concert
  • Dadodans KoKERS
  • Dimitris Papaioannou The Great Tamer
  • Gregory Maqoma Via Kanana
  • Ivan Blackstock CRXSS PLATFXRM
  • Janine Harrington Screensaver Series
  • Le Patin Libre Threshold
  • Sasha Milavic Davies everything that rises must dance
  • Wen Hui Red


These were live performances by artists with things to say to us all, using the power
 of the body in motion to reveal truths and share stories.

Audiences had the chance to catch a soloist walking on air as metal folded around her, attend a three course Beethoven dance meal, witness radical Flamenco or travel from a multitude of fluorescent Koreans to waste land walks with headphones. We shared a digital world of colour for our younger audiences. We held our first Dance Umbrella Lecture at the National Theatre, and presented two special takeovers – one by guest programmer Freddie Opoku-Addaie at Rich Mix, the other at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Main events

  • Charlotte Spencer Projects Is this a Wasteland?
  • Cia Maduixa DOT
  • Eun-Me Ahn Let Me Change Your Name
  • Shoreditch Takeover Lisbeth Gruwez / Julie Cunningham / Vanessa Kisuule / Charles Linehan
  • Lyon Opera Ballet: Lucinda Childs / Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Maguy Marin Trois Grandes Fugues
  • Rachid Ouramdane Tordre
  • Rocío Molina Fallen from Heaven (Caída del Cielo)
  • Satchie Noro & Silvain Ohl Origami
  • Yinka Esi Graves & Asha Thomas / La Macana / Sello Pesa / Alesandra Seutin / Kioko / Yaaba Funk Out of the System


In 2016 we brought you spartan duets by Olympic choreographers from Greece, shows where 20 Londoners took to the stage, two shows for children by flying Dutch men and women, and a mixed bill by five anonymous artists that asked audiences to take a leap of faith. There was Kathak from India unlike anything you’d seen before, Norwegian artists breaking the age barrier, and even a room full of music and lush green grass for audiences to kick off their shoes and catch their breath.

Main events

  • Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company Inter_rupted
  • Arch 8 Dancers Tetris / O Snap / No Man is an Island
  • CCN Ballet de Lorraine Unknown Pleasures
  • De Dansers Dream City
  • Dimitris Papaioannou Primal Matter
  • Hege Haagenrud Use my Body while it’s still Young
  • Jamila Johnson-Small i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere
  • Jérôme Bel Gala
  • Laura Dannequin The Secret Slowness of Movement
  • Quarantine Wallflower


For Dance Umbrella 2015 we presented ten shows across thirteen boroughs in London; on inner city rooftops, in outer London parks and in theatres of all shapes and sizes. They formed part of a programme brought together to move you emotionally, intellectually and in some cases physically. We continued our mission to be a catalyst that introduces audiences to artists in new ways. Highlights included Gregory Maqoma’s memorable show about the incarceration of his grandfather fighting for freedom in South Africa, and Charlotte Spencer’s tender show – a walk in the park with a difference.

Main events

  • Charlotte Spencer Projects Walking Stories
  • Claire Cunningham Give Me A Reason to Live
  • Dan Canham / Still House Of Riders and Running Horses
  • Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy / Hemabharathy Palani / Surjit Nongmeikapam Out of India
  • Gregory Maqoma Exit/Exist
  • Idan Sharabi Ours
  • Katherine Morley 16 Singers
  • La Veronal Voronia
  • Lisbeth Gruwez AH/HA
  • Tony Adigun The Factory


From flamenco, hip hop and contemporary; to ice skating and shows for babies, the Dance Umbrella 2014 artists all focused on the power of the body in motion to help us to read the complex world around us. Emma Gladstone’s first Dance Umbrella Festival saw distinctive, personal, brave and articulate performances from choreographers unfettered by definitions of their art form; they chose movement over text, physicality over narrative and emotion over logic. Audiences enjoyed 3 world premieres, 6 UK premieres, 4 commissions, a transatlantic debate, digital projects, workshops and talks that took place in 14 venues across 11 London boroughs and in Brooklyn, New York.

Main events

  • Eduardo Fukushima Crooked Man
  • Eleanor Sikorski Big Hands, Big Heart
  • Hege Haagenrud / Ramirez & Wang / Wayne McGregor Triple Bill for Ages 8-12
  • Ivan Blackstock A Harlem Dream
  • Jérôme Bel Disabled Theatre
  • La Veronal Siena
  • Le Patin Libre Vertical Influences
  • Rocío Molina Bosque Ardora
  • Tao Dance Theatre 6 & 7
  • Turned On Its Head Shiny

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