Looping the Loop

(Better late than never blog – lost in drafts folder) Manchester may  have failed to host the 2012 Olympics but on May 19 2012, Trafford and Salford were celebrating the start of Games Time with Looping the Loop, a cultural event created for our Olympiad programme in the Northwest. According to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester failed to get the bid because of Manchester’s reputation for rain but at Looping the Loop there was only sunshine, international cultures of the world and 6000+ people celebrating the 2012 Games. Spectacle, family entertainment and world class dance were blended with sport and comunity events to create an opening event for the communities around The Quays and all its wonderful sites and spaces.

The event contained a diverse mix of work, local and international and of mixed quality and craft, spanning the playful, spirtual and digital. I fell in love with trance dance again, an old obsession reinvigorated and taken to new heights, passions, experiences through the extraordinary work of Ziya Azaya. his truly talented world class artist from Turkey is other wordly operating in warrior physical performance territory. His work is enchanting. Ziya is a dance artist who spins round and round in a circle continously and durationally in contemporary dervish style, echoing the pulse of the earth and its spirit inside us. The magnitude of his work overwhelms as he weaves a dance all encompassing in its beauty, power and grace. The crowds watching something so intimate in a space so public were stunned.

Looping the Loop also played host to a range of new local and regional work created for the Cultural Olympiad, including Mechanical Games, Handprint and the series of Lets Go Global All About Us commissions. It also included a specially made finale event by Walk the Plank  which used the river as a play space to draw attention to the start of the Games and Olympic artwork commissioned for the bridge. The artwork designed by Matt English  launched at Looping the Loop and remains on the bridge until the end of the Olympic games as the region’s symbol for the 2012 Games, honoring Old Trafford as an Olympic venue.  Walk the Plank brought colour, fire and life to the water and bridge, bringing the Quays alive but the spectacle needed more content and scale for the space it had to fill. Learning for next time.

Looping the Loop was a partnership venture between Trafford and Salford City Council and the organisations who work on The Quays and the first time the Quays had delivered an event across all its venues and spaces. Looping the Loop worked because it took the public on a creative journey around the impressive backdrop of Media City, The Lowry, Imperial War Museum, Salford University and Old Trafford.  Admittedly it  was quite an event to pull off and not a big budget affair. One of its clear achievements was the engagement of local communities, both as creators of events for the day and also as audeince.  It felt like a local affair with regional scope and world class elements..  The decision to do a big event in the vicinity of the Olympic Zone was the right one. The day ran smoothly, it felt integrated, it mixed a range of programme in ways which worked well for the range of audiences and interests that were undoubtedly here. It also pointed towards a future direction for The Quays – a home grown approach which mixes local, regional and national aims and skills to deliver something which can relate to all in what is an under utlised location for everyone.

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~ by Debbi Lander on June 27, 2012.

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