What I find very inspiring and what our teachers encourage us to do, is to watch other (dance) performances in order to get even more creative, animated and motivated. With its countless theaters and admission free museums, London is very exciting and inviting for this.
In January I was lucky enough to see Stomp!. I am still a little speechless when thinking about this performance. Hidden in a little theatre off West End they swept us into their energetic world of rhythms, proving that you don’t need a high tech drum kit in order create mesmerising beats and sounds. Brooms, feet, hands and matchboxes will do. Not to mention the massive metal frame which, let’s face it, looked like a dream of a playground.
If I have the chance, I will definitely go and see them again.
In February I was able to watch one of the most iconic Musicals. No, not talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show (I still want to see this though!). I am talking about Rent. Based on Puccini’s La Boheme -That’s right, based on an opera! – this musical is not one of the cheesy-happy-clappy-musicals but tackling topics such as HIV, drug addiction and death. Don’t get me wrong, I also like my jazz-hands-everything-is-lovely-shows, but shows like Rent or Blood Brothers do have a different depths to them than -another one of my favourites – Mamma Mia!. My lovely sister made it possible for me to go and see one of the performances celebrating the 20 years anniversary in Bromley. You know a musical is iconic, when you get a Western European audience to moo with Maureen. Or have parts of the audience in tears, loudly sobbing after two thirds of the show. I guess the actors did enjoy the performance almost as much as we did, judging by their broad grins when they received their well deserved standing ovation.
Before rambling on I’d like to share one thing. I learned something vital watching the various street performers, especially at Covent Garden: When you go to see a good show whether you pay for it or on the streets, don’t be the uptight or sniffy person that will clap their hands three times knowing that they have paid the performer a lot to entertain them or just seen something nice for free. Honestly, the money buys their food and pays their bills. But the audience’s encouragement, reaction and applause will feed their motivation and passion. I’d say this is almost as (if not more) important than the actual payment in notes and coins.
The amazing thing about London is that you don’t have to pay an awful lot of money in order to see art. As I mentioned before, there are some fantastic street performers and musicians out there as well as many museums you can visit for free. Or, if you like urban art, you find your way to Shoreditch. Obviously, there is more street art around London that in Shoreditch, but Shoreditch is pretty much known for it. You’ll find fully painted houses next to little posters or stickers and huge graffitis. I could have spent the entire day there and this will definitely not be the last time I roamed the roads of Shoreditch.
Regardless of whether you are interested in urban art or street art or not, I have one advice for any person visiting or actually living in London: Enjoy this town by getting lost! Living in London for almost five months now, I can tell how easily you get used to have your coffee and sandwich on the go, how easily you get annoyed at tourists blocking the tube stations with massive rucksacks or, even worse, blocking the escalators because they don’t get the concept of standing on the right and moving on the left.
As a tourist you will probably come with a bucket list, containing Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abby and London Eye. To be fair, there’s nothing to say against visiting these places. But if you allow yourself the time to get lost, not hop on the bus or the tube but actually WALK through London, you’ll be surprised at what you find.
Last week, when Viktoria and me went to Shoreditch, we met at London bridge and decided to walk to Shoreditch. Otherwise we would have missed famous Spitalfields market. We would have missed borough market! And we most certainly wouldn’t have made the decision to take the Thames walk, have coffee at Costas at the tower, cross over Tower Bridge and take the Thames walk all the way from Tower Bridge to Waterloo Station.
How many of you knew, there is a Skate Park right next to the Thames, pretty close to the London eye? How many of you have enjoyed the sounds of street performers while admiring the lit up trees lining the Thames walk? And to be honest, from there you have an amazing view on London Eye and Big Ben, without trying not to get stuck in masses of tourists and wondering how many Big Ben Selfies you might be able to photobomb… 😉
I am pretty sure this doesn’t only apply to London, but this is where this realisation really struck me. So in the best possible way: Get lost! 😉