Three days of 25,000 dancers, performances, classes and celebrities – EN goes behind the scenes of dance festival, MOVE IT.
MOVE IT, the must-attend event in the calendar of a dancer, celebrated not only its 11th year this year, but also all things dance and performing arts, as it shimmied its way to ExCeL London on 10-12 March.
Attracting more than 25,000 visitors, Upper Street Events – organiser of the high-energy festival of dance – upped its production game to offer a more energetic and experiential experience for visitors.
“It’s one of those shows that people just love,” Sally Bent, Upper Street Events portfolio director, tells EN. “Our NPS is always really high, people come back year-on-year and we have a really strong rebook on-site as well.
“We work with a fantastic creative team who are experts in the dance world. As exhibition organisers, dance may not be our area of expertise, but we work with people who are: people who bring the latest choreographers and dancers to the show and add elements to the experience.”
The organiser also worked with production and event technology firm OneBigStar, who provided full technical production support to MOVE IT and delivered creative input, technical liaison and support.
MOVE IT’s Main Stage brought together electricity, inspiration and celebrities of the dance world and dance schools. From Kimberly Wyatt & Well Fit Crew, to Dani & Sia, the diversity of the dancing world was showcased through an eclectic mix of styles, ranging from the very best of commercial dance to beautiful contemporary pieces, high energy hip-hop and colourful world numbers.
The 15m x 14m Main Stage built by OneBigStar also featured performances from Flawless, Strictly Come Dancing pros Neil Jones and Katya Jones and Lord of the Dance, and saw an impressive array of lighting and sound equipment.
New for 2017, MOVE FIT launched alongside the show and featured more than 100 new classes and workshops, ranging from high energy HIIT, to weight-based exercise, to holistic laughter yoga.
Visitors had access to all the latest trends in fitness wear, fitness equipment, food and nutritional advice and samples, class providers, fitness training and qualifications.
The MOVE FIT Main Stage hosted international fitness brands Zumba, BEACHBODY, Clubbercise, Bokwa, Jungle Body and Fight Klub and included lighting and sound equipment along with a 5m x 3m LED screen, alongside the FIRMFIT Dance Fit Stage, which was a high-energy stage where visitors could try out some of the hottest trends in dance fitness.
“This year, we’ve tried to make the event more of a festival of dance and fitness,” Bent adds.
“All the major dance colleges come and promote their dance services; we see a mixture of retailers also, so it’s a great shopping experience for all. It’s a must-attend event and it really is well-respected in the industry it’s in.”
A BIG ENTRANCE
Bent believes the success of the show and its 11-year history is due to the content that’s in place.
“Right from the Main Stage to the mini classes and workshops, the programme is what makes the event. As organisers, we make sure that we bring something new every year. It also helps that MOVE IT has the support of the majority of the biggest people in the dance industry, which gives it real credential.”
Making quite the entrance, literally, OneBigStar created an entrance tunnel by designing a rigging truss the same size as the floor space, capable of supporting all the lighting, PA, graphics, drapes and voiles and giant 1m mirror ball needed to deliver it.
Within the tunnel, lighting beams, shapes and GOBOs projected onto the carpet and white voile walls were used to attract visitors’ attention.
Also new for 2017, Upper Street Events took an extra hall in ExCeL and put in a 250-seat theatre for the MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships.
“We had an open call for entries, with performances from individual people, to troupes doing shows and people doing dance competitions from shows like Britain’s Got Talent.
“We had a panel of judges including Arlene Phillips, Jennifer Ellison, Lukas McFarlance and Marlon ‘SWOOSH’ Wallen.”
That explosion of raw, undiscovered talent from all styles of dance and all ages is what keeps visitors coming back to MOVE IT year after year, and what encourages EN not to hang up its dancing shoes.