Things To Do

Dad Dancing in the Wandsworth Arts Festival Fringe

[Image - Zoe Manders]
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Beyond the wealth of fun activities in the Easter holidays, it might feel like there is little else to do before the summer arrives in earnest. We all cross our fingers and hope for a sunny weekend to go for a walk, or even brave a trip to the beach, but otherwise, activities are somewhat limited. With that in mind, perhaps dancing with your children in the fringes of the Wandsworth Arts Festival offers a truly unique way to spend some time together. 

Starting on May 2, this year the festival sees a variety of activities for all the family, ranging from a Toast Temple (after all, who doesn’t love toast?), walking tours that take a scenic route from the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to Battersea Power Station, to an outdoor dance performance incorporating circus skills and a market stall. It brings the high street alive and remarkably, even a school of trout to the roof of the Southside Shopping Centre.

If that isn’t enough, on the edge of the arts festival and at the centre of creativity in Wandsworth stands the Battersea Arts Centre, who in collaboration with Second Hand Dance, are producing a terrific project entitled ‘Dad Dancing‘.

A collaboration between Rosie Heafford, Alexandrina Hemsley, Helena Webb and their dads, the project explores the relationship between children and their fathers. It is inspired by a series of workshops, inviting dads (or uncles, brothers, granddads or carers) to go along with their children and celebrate the fine art of Dad Dancing. The workshops are free and they are coming to the BAC to delight in those shameful knee-wiggles and air-punches – celebrating the choreographic mastery that they are. This type of event will be brilliant for boosting confidence, unleashing your creativity and above all, having fun as a family.

Alongside the workshops is an opportunity to write a letter to your own dad, read the one your son or daughter has written to you and contribute them to the “Dad Dancing” installation in the Battersea Arts Centre. The letters will be displayed between 14 – 17th May.

The workshops for Dad Dancing contribute to the company’s contemporary dance piece which will be performed at the Battersea Arts Centre this November. The piece looks more specifically at the process of growing up as a daughter and of growing up into a father, as well as the insecurities and personal triumphs that go hand-in-hand with those. 

The workshops may appear totally mad, but that is absolutely the appeal of them. Andy Webb, one of the dads who performs in the production, has described dancing as a release from the “day to day grind”. Plus, due to the demand on the creative parts of the brain that you might not otherwise use, throwing some shapes has “a far greater beneficial effect than simply sitting on a beach somewhere.” We all know that exercise is great for the mind, body and general well-being – dancing especially – but dancing with your kids? That will have even greater benefits.


Workshop Information:

Sat 3 May | 10:30am – 12:30pm

Dads and their children aged 7-14

Sat 17 May | 10:30am – 12:30pm

Dads and their children aged 7-14

Sat 17 May | 2:30 – 4:30pm

Dads and their children aged 14+  

(Places for the Dad Dancing worshops are free but must be booked in advance.)