The choreographer felt the urgent need to bring happiness and relentless fun to the weekender she has curated for the Southbank Centre’s Summer Reunion series

‘With the year we’ve had, we just needed people to have insanely, intensely engrossing, almost relentless fun,” says choreographer Jade Hackett of the weekender she has curated for the Southbank Centre’s Summer Reunion series. Working with music producer DJ Walde under the umbrella of ZooNation dance company, Hackett is taking over the Thames riverside terrace for a free mini festival, three days celebrating UK hip-hop culture, and just celebrating full stop, having been starved of live shows and social occasions during the pandemic.

“It’s the first stepping stone to reintegration, bringing people together in a really safe way,” she says. “We’ll kick it off with music by Afrika Bambaataa, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, that’s the vibe; awesome social dances, the electric slide, Soul Train lines, it’ll be super fun.” Audiences can watch dance battles and performances from the likes of female popping collective AIM and Afrobeats dancers HomeBros, but there’s an emphasis on participation, with a series of workshops covering dance from the 70s, 80s and 90s as well as newer styles such as Litefeet. There are daytime family activities and evenings dancing to DJ collective The Midnight Train playing garage, grime, house, R&B, hip-hop and soca – a little carnival fix for those feeling the gap left by the cancellation of Notting Hill carnival for the second consecutive year.

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