Photo: Cam­illa Green­well

Dance Umbrella and Somer­set House are thrilled to unveil the exhil­ar­at­ing details of Lon­don Battle, a sen­sa­tion­al event set to ignite the heart of the city’s dance scene. Tak­ing place on the open­ing week­end of the fest­iv­al, Sat­urday, Octo­ber 7th, Lon­don Battle prom­ises an unfor­get­table day in the icon­ic open-air court­yard of Somer­set House.

Pre­pare to be immersed in a whirl­wind of tal­ent, energy, and the infec­tious spir­it of hip-hop cul­ture, as we cel­eb­rate its 50th anniversary. With Break­ing poised to steal the spot­light at the 2024 Par­is Olympics, this event is a dazzling trib­ute to the art form that has inspired gen­er­a­tions.

Cur­ated by the vis­ion­ary cho­reo­graph­er, Jade Hack­ett, Lon­don Battle will see the city’s finest tal­ents from every corner unite to show­case their skills across an eclect­ic range of styles. From show­cases to work­shops, cyphers to live DJs, and an epic out­door party, this event has it all.

But here’s the twist – the audi­ence becomes the jury! You will have the hon­or of decid­ing which quad­rant of our sprawl­ing glob­al city claims the title of the best dance fla­vor – will it be the elec­tri­fy­ing north, the soul­ful south, the dynam­ic east, or the cre­at­ive west? The stage is set, the dan­cers are primed, and the battle lines are drawn. Lon­don Battle at Somer­set House is not just an event; it’s a dance revolu­tion that will leave you breath­less and inspired. Get ready to exper­i­ence the future of dance on the streets of Lon­don!

We catch up with Jade Hack­ett to find out exactly what to expect…

What inspired you to cur­ate an event like “Lon­don Battle” at Somer­set House?

A love for my city. A love for my com­munity. A love for the dance. A love for Battle cul­ture. A love for health. A love for fam­ily. I wanted an event, here in my city, that answers to all these great loves in one event.

Could you share some insights into the selec­tion pro­cess for the tal­ent and teams from the four corners of Lon­don?

It’s a mar­riage between top tier dan­cer and styles. Each cap­tain needed to be a dif­fer­ent style to answer to the true nature of an all style battle. So once west was chosen and that per­son was a break­er, although I know awe­some break­ers in every area, there can’t be anoth­er cap­tain that breaks and so on and so on. Find­ing the cap­tains is hard. It’s a massive chick­en and egg puzzle!

With the 50th anniversary of hip hop cul­ture in mind, what unique ele­ments can attendees expect from this event?

DJs spin­ning decks, rap music will defo fea­ture, graf­fiti paint­ing ses­sions to open the fest­iv­al and lots of dance per­form­ances, the main battle event and lots of free fam­ily friendly classes that every­one can par­ti­cip­ate in. I still think it’s import­ant that we do all of this with a bit of a UK flare. So really excited to hear music that was born here. Drum and bass, dub, gar­age, grime, drill and poten­tially a little bit of lov­ers rock for the after party too for all the mature attendees. Hip hop cul­ture has come a long way and this fest­iv­al is hope­fully a slice of the UK con­tri­bu­tion to that his­tory.

Photo: Cam­illa Green­well

How do you envi­sion the role of the audi­ence in judging and decid­ing which part of Lon­don brings the best dance fla­vor?

I think the audi­ence will get to par­ti­cip­ate in their own battles and the crowd reac­tions will defo let you know who’s their favour­ite. I think it’s a really great way of intro­du­cing battle cul­ture to those that may have nev­er seen a battle in their life. No bet­ter way to learn than to do it your­self.

“Lon­don Battle” includes work­shops, show­cases, and cyphers. Which aspect are you most excited about, and why?

All of it!! They are each a bit of a big­ger jig­saw puzzle for an entire event. The fest­iv­al has a heart­beat that is build­ing towards our main event and I’m gonna enjoy watch­ing how it all unfolds. The most excit­ing thing about it is that the event is free. This means that the class bar­ri­er is broken and all fam­il­ies can come out and enjoy the day togeth­er.

Can you tell us more about the work­shops and what par­ti­cipants can gain from them?

We have incred­ible teach­ers that are super fun and enga­ging. Olu Alat­ise, a female power­house that really needs no intro­duc­tion teach­ing Afro will bring the pep­per, spice and oil up those waist­lines. Issac Bap­tiste, incred­ible soul­ful house dan­cer, will have head bop­ping and jiv­ing whilst feet mov­ing and body jackin’. Kloe Dean, hip hop cho­reo­graph­er to the stars, will be giv­ing you the star treat­ment hav­ing cho­reo­graphed for artists like lil Simz, Ghetts, Anne-Mar­ie and much more. Tiago San­tos will be bring­ing the disco vibes and awe­some wackin’ to the fest­iv­al to let loose and bring the drama! All in all, gonna be heaps of fun.

What are your expect­a­tions for the show­case per­form­ances from Lon­don’s most excit­ing tal­ent?

Grav­ity defy­ing, tech­nique pre­ci­sion, energy filled per­form­ances. The Queens, an all female Shway waackin’ style inspired crew will bring the fire. Gully South Block (GSB) will keep it 100 per­cent buck demon­stra­tion Krump cul­ture at a high level. An incred­ible solo by Lauren Scott who will blow your mind with her pop­pin con­trol and music­al­ity and fin­ish­ing it off with the hip hop titans, BoyBlue Enter­tain­ment. The per­form­ances will be some­thing def­in­itely not to miss.

The event fea­tures a diverse range of dance styles. How do you see this diversity con­trib­ut­ing to the over­all exper­i­ence?

That IS the beauty of hip hop cul­ture and its dance. There are so many dance styles under its umbrella for the very fact that it caters to diversity. To all shapes and sizes, genders, class, age. No mat­ter how you identi­fy, this is an open accept­ing space for all.

What mes­sage or feel­ing do you hope attendees will take away from “Lon­don Battle”?

That this city holds some of the world’s most awe­some tal­ent in move­ment artistry.
This mul­ti­cul­tur­al city is beau­ti­ful and we can come togeth­er and cel­eb­rate this togeth­er.

Could you share some high­lights or sur­prises that attendees can look for­ward to dur­ing the Hip Hop cel­eb­ra­tion at the end of the event?

Let’s fin­ish it with a bang and have the party of all parties. Offi­cially say­ing good­bye to an awe­some sum­mer with vibes and wheel ups from our dj’s.

How does “Lon­don Battle” at Somer­set House fit into the lar­ger mis­sion and leg­acy of Dance Umbrella as a Lon­don fest­iv­al with a rich his­tory span­ning 45 years?

All I per­son­ally know is Somer­set House, ori­gin­ally built in the 16th cen­tury, was built for the aris­to­cracy. Cen­tur­ies later, Dance Umbrella and Somer­set House are now host­ing an under­ground hip hop fest­iv­al in this palace and fill it with all the people that this space wasn’t built and inten­ded for. That’s poetry to me. Dance Umbrel­la’s lar­ger mis­sion is soci­et­al poetry thus adding to its rich his­tory that will span over the next 45 years.

Could you elab­or­ate on the ways in which Dance Umbrella serves as a plat­form for emer­ging and diverse tal­ent, and how this philo­sophy is reflec­ted in the cur­a­tion of “Lon­don Battle” and oth­er fest­iv­al activ­it­ies?

This event is also help­ing to raise funds for Mary­land stu­di­os. A space that was the hub of our com­munity that sadly got taken down. Recently, dan­cers have man­aged to acquire the space back and need sup­port to get it up and run­ning again. Dance Umbrel­la’s efforts to acknow­ledge the import­ance of the space is incred­ible. Bring­ing back this space, will mean a lot to gen­er­a­tions of emer­ging dan­cers from all dif­fer­ent back­grounds, who will be able to train in a place that made so many great dan­cers pre­vi­ously.

Dance Umbrella & Somer­set House present


Cur­ated by Jade Hack­ett

Sat­urday 7 Octo­ber 1 — 6.30pm

Somer­set House’s Edmond J. Safra Foun­tain Court


1 — 3.30 — Work­shops

3.30 — 4.30 — Show­cases

4.30 — 5.30 — Battle

5.30 — 6.30 — Party

Dance Umbrella Fest­iv­al 2023 takes place 6–31 Octo­ber, across Lon­don and online.


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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.