The Handbook
The Handbook

From prancing pirouettes to witnessing the perfect plié, heading to your nearest canal isn’t the first location that comes to mind when you picture The Royal Ballet, but while the ballet stages remain closed for the foreseeable, dancers from The Royal Ballet have taken to street performing.

Enter DistDancing, the group of ballet dancers from The Royal Ballet who are hosting free, intimate performances for Londoners along the canalside in Hoxton.

While the city has been busy oiling up the cogs and begun its reopening process after the coronavirus swept across the country and forced the closure of businesses, there are several who haven’t been able to reopen their doors to coincide with the government regulations. It’s hugely affected the cultural industry, including The Royal Ballet, who closed their doors on 17th March. But over the last few weeks, we’ve seen dancers from the company take actions into their own hands, performing outdoor routines along Regent’s Canal in Hackney. 

Set up by Royal Ballet performer Chisato Katsura, who like her fellow colleagues has been furloughed, but with a little push from her landlord, who conveniently owns the Hoxton Docks, begun performing regular routines with her fellow furloughed ballet dancers on the canalside and, well, DistDancing was soon born. 

Come rain or shine, you can guarantee you’ll find the dancers prancing along the canal to a soundtrack of orchestral instrumental music, beeping cars and the occasional police siren. 

It’s certainly not your typical ballet scenario but these weekly weekend performances have brought joy and a shared smile in a time of need, and will continue doing so for months to come. We imagine until The Royal Ballet reopens for business, whenever that may be. 

Performances usually run at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm on Saturday or Sundays, but keep up to date on their Instagram page for more details. 

If you fancy a canalside stroll this weekend, reignite your childhood passion as you catch The Royal Ballet’s free canalside performances in Hoxton.

Make sure you follow DistDancing’s Instagram page for regular updates and canalside show announcements