A View from Bell Square's Artistic Director: Stage or Street? Iron Skulls at Bell Square

Next up at Bell Square is Spanish dance company, Iron Skulls, with their show, Sinestesia

A few months ago, this show played at Sadlers Wells in central London, generally considered to be one of the world’s premier venues for international dance.  A review described the show as “fast, furious, streetwise and great fun” and “brilliant, high octane!” 

So, can a show transfer successfully from the main stage at a traditional dance theatre to the gritty, urban environment of a city street?  Well, this is street dance – and I would say the street is where it truly belongs!


Seeing a performance in a theatre, and seeing it outdoors, is a very different experience.  I will be first in the queue to see a great piece of dance in a theatre – there can be something very special about the intensity and focus that this type of space brings.

But I also love seeing performance in a public space.  This is for everyone.  There are no conventions here, no artificial barriers - you can sit, stand, move around, enjoy the show however you like.  There is often a very direct connection between the audience and artists in an outdoor setting.  The artists are very close to you and the experience feels very real - sometimes quite raw.

Shows meant for indoors and outdoors are therefore usually quite different in style.  Very few shows work well both indoors and outdoors, because the context is so very different. 

Iron Skulls, though, is one of the few companies that perform successfully both indoors and outdoors, even with the same show - they understand how to adapt their shows for different environments.

Iron Skulls Company, based in Barcelona, is a dance collective that started in 2013, formed from a group of B-Boys called Iron Skulls Crew.  B-Boying is a form of street dance started by young Puerto Ricans and African Americans in the mid-1970s on the streets of the Bronx.  The Iron Skulls dancers come from across Spain and bring diverse influences to the group – contemporary dance, hip hop, martial arts and acrobatics.  They also interweave music production, fashion and graphic design, creating a very distinctive style of urban dance.

The “virtuosic, visual drama” of Iron Skulls (Guardian) has successfully graced the stages of the world’s most famous dance theatres.  It has also toured to many of the most famous outdoor festivals.  In 2017 alone, they have performed in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Gibraltar, the USA and Costa Rica, in addition to Spain and the UK.

I saw this show outdoors in a huge public square in rural Spain. It was great.  I also saw it with an audience of about 8000 other people, which did create a special kind of atmosphere!

But for me, the soul of Sinestesia is on the street.  And I think I will like this show best of all when I see it at Bell Square – on a city street where it truly belongs.


Come and decide for yourself – and let us know what you think!

Iron Skulls Company perform Sinestesia at Bell Square on Saturday 7 October.  There will be an afternoon performance at 2.30 pm and a ‘night-time’ performance at 6.30 pm.  The show lasts 25 minutes.