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Bell Square Volunteer Catherine reviews Far from the Norm

Today's blog has been written by our social media ambassador Cathie who came along to the Bell Square performance of H.O.H by Far from the Norm. Here's her take on the event and some amazing photos she captured on the day too - just check out the gallery below - just click on the images to see the whole sequence.  Thanks again Catherine and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Blog review by Catherine: 'Far from the Norm' performed today at Bell Square in Hounslow. It is an interactive dance group that uses the hip-hop genre of dance to connect with the audience.

Although a sudden shower had threatened to put an end to the afternoon activity even before it began, the Sun soon came shining through the dark clouds. The organisers heaved a huge sigh of relief and began humming the famous Beatle number ‘Here comes the Sun’ as theywiped the benches and swept the square dry.

Soon the bell was rung on Bell Square to indicate the beginning of the performance. A curious crowd had already gathered around looking forward to this week’s performance. It was a bunch of people of myriad ages and hues. Right from the swinging sixties to toddlers in prams, it was a sight to behold as they all swayed to the beats of the hip hopping dancers.

The dancers worked their way through the crowd and even persuaded a bunch of happy kids to join them in their dance with a skit woven through to convey a message. [End fighting and war in Somalia?]   

It ended abruptly with the crowd waiting for more! They were assured that there were more performances at 3pm too!'

Don't forget - if you want to enjoy our free events in Hounslow you can check up on what's coming up on the web site here.  And if you want to come along and take photos or videos, why don't you sign up as a Bell Square London volunteer social media ambassador here?

See you at Bell Square soon!

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New for 2017: Bell Square Volunteers - do you want to take part?

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The Bell Square London team is always busy finding ways to engage with the local community to create more buzz around our season of events and 2017 is no different.

This year we have launched a volunteer programme working with Volunteer Hounslow and Team London. We are asking people to be part of the Bell Square London team on a volunteer basis to help spread the word about our outdoor arts events using social media. So if you're a whizz on Whatsapp, a fabulous Facebook or an influencer on instagram - you might want to give this a go. Or perhaps you are not at all but would love to be? If you don't have experience, we will be giving volunteers a training session on how to be involved.

Want to know who we're looking for?

Volunteering is open to all - if you are under 16 you will need to get your parents to complete a parental agreement form.  Ideally, you will have a good writing and digital skills which you are looking to improve - the volunteering will involve a variety of activities depending on your experience, anything from posting images to instagram through to writing blog posts and for the more adventurous creating and editing short videos.

Read more about the role on Volunteering Hounslow here. If you don't live in the borough of Hounslow, you can try Team London here.

What's in it for you?

We know you want to support your local community and the great Bell Square London events by volunteering - but it's not just a one way street - we want you to benefit from your experience. We will give any training and support necessary and pay your travel expenses. If you are keen to add this volunteering to your CV we will support that and also give you a reference if you'd like one. In addition, if you want to get writing credits to show you have published work, we are more than happy to give these to you as well.

Want to get involved? Get in touch on the links above and we'll be delighted to hear from you!

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Blogger in Residence TrendFEM reviews: Paradiso, Akademi at Bell Square London

Our blogger in residence, Mary of TrendFEM came along to watch Akademi at Bell Square recently. We were very excited to host her as we knew she would not be disappointed by the whole experience.

As we walked up to the empty square, we could see a large circle drawn in chalk, very intriguing! If you haven't visited Bell Square before you may have walked through it on a 'normal' day - there's a pub, a fish shop, a restaurant and a bookies. When Bell Square is set up for a performance day, the area is transformed with pop up wooden tiered seating in the round.  This creates a horse shoe shape as each end of the semi circle meets the stone benches. There's a gazebo for the production team who are always on site and managing the sound system and helping the performers get set up. You can see how it looks below - it's quite something to see an empty space transformed into something extraordinary - we often have crowds of one thousand or more turning up to watch and enjoy contemporary outdoor arts for free.

Photo credits: Mary Nguyen, TrendFEM

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Here's Mary's review:

Akademi tantalised Hounslow’s local community last Saturday with their multifaceted exploration of Dante’s Paradiso: Man’s Enduring Search for Perfection at Bell Square London, a free festival packed with dance and physical theatre performances. Paradiso is a poignant and highly moving piece of choreography. Following the inspirational conceptualisation of Akademi’s director Mira Kaushik OBE and choreographer Jose Agudo, Akademi instills Dante’s final stage of his narrative poem, written in1308-1321, The Divine Comedy, through a wide-range of contemporary and traditional Indian dance styles.

For 40 years, Akademi has continued with their mission to inspire and bring ‘classical, contemporary, popular and participatory South Asian dance’ to all audiences. Their mission, to inspire, is crystal clear throughout Paradiso. In his literary masterpiece, Dante describes the struggles and obstacles man faces in a lifetime. Akademi expresses these cosmological and mortal forces through the strength of six diverse dancers, some more experienced in Indian dance and others trained in contemporary dance technique.

You can read the rest of her Bell Square London review on TrendFEM.

TrendFEM 2 Akademi.jpg
 

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New for 2017 - Bell Square Bloggers in Residence

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New for 2017 - Bell Square Bloggers in Residence

Last year we introduced the Bell Square Bloggers to help spread the word about Bell Square and this year we have extended the programme and will be working with two amazing London culture bloggers to keep a record of the brilliant events at Hounslow's favourite outdoor arts venue. We will be running our first Bell Square Bloggers in Residence this year to bring an outside perspective to you all and help you keep up to date with events you might have missed. Make sure you keep your diary up to date by visiting our What's On page so you don't miss any of the performances though.

Our first blogger is Mary from Trendfem who will be attending three events and sharing her experience on her blog, we will also be cross posting here as well.

So without further ado, we will let our first blogger introduce herself:

http://trendfem.com/about-us/
My name is Mary Grace and I run a London-based blog called Trendfem, which focuses on my enthusiasm for opera, theatre and performance. I’m currently a proofreader by day and leisurely blogger hobbyist. For the past five years, I have written for other online publications including LondonTheatre1, LDNCARD, Fringe Opera and CultureVulture.net, as well as Theatre and Perform magazine..
If you spot Mary at any Bell Square London events - make sure to say hello - you might even be quoted in one of her blog posts!

If you spot Mary at any Bell Square London events - make sure to say hello - you might even be quoted in one of her blog posts!

You can keep up with Mary's adventures here 

Blog Trendfem
Twitter MaryGNguyen

And of course, Bell Square London here. Don't forget to use the hashtag #bellsquareLDN on your posts so we can share them too please!

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Bell Square Blogger Review - Big Dance Bus 2016

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Bell Square Blogger Review - Big Dance Bus 2016

What a wonderful end to the Big Dance Bus! The journey of the iconic London bus ended on September the 10th in Bell Square, with the rainy weather reflecting the sadness of such an amazing event coming to an end. 

The Big Dance bus pops up in several places across London, with its active and interactive performances lightening up the high streets, parks and even housing estates! The company was founded in 2006, so this year marks its ten year anniversary! It definitely was a special day! The organisation is led by the Mayor of London  and delivered in partnership with People Dancing and the Big Dance Hubs.

Various acts took the crowded stage at Bell Square, and whilst everyone hid under umbrellas or ponchos, their eyes saw some of the most magnificent pieces of performance they could have ever seen. A taste of every culture was seen through the performances, exciting everybody, no matter what background they came from! Everybody seemed to have learnt a new dance style that they hadn't discovered before, so it was also a great learning experience for everyone. From hip-hop to bhangra, everyone danced along. It was absolutely amazing to see the elderly having the time of their lives dancing to the songs too!

One eye catching performance I witnessed was where the driver of the Big Dance Bus came out for what he thought would be a nice sleep. However, he was going to be proved wrong. the talented dancers creeped up upon him, and took both the driver and the audience back into time to show us that change music has overcome. quick outfit changes, music interludes and panic emerged from the stage as we'd teleport from decade to decade. Some of the most extravagant outfits were worn, although the same couldn't have been said for the driver in his pyjamas and night hat!

The most iconic performance had to be at the end, when YOU, the public, follow a dance routine and danced in the rain. As they say "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain"! Children, adults, and the elderly all joined onto the stage to jump about, wave their hands and most importantly, dance! The crowd erupted into joy and laughter upon seeing this. It was great to see a very depressing day transformed into a day of pure happiness :)

The next event at bell square is:

22 Oct. 3pm

LIEUX PUBLICS: LE CONCERT DE PUBLIC

Make sure to go with your friends and family for an enjoyable day out!

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