As if on cue, a beautiful sun emerged on Sunday morning from behind clouds over the Thames as seven “extreme action” dancers dangled off London’s Millennium Bridge to the delight of around 250 people.
Three hours later and a mile east, ten times that number watched the choreographer Elizabeth Streb, 62, and two of her dancers make their way – slowly – down the outside of City Hall. It was heart-stopping to watch.
The events were among seven guerrilla performances at London landmarks taking place as part of the London 2012 Festival. Each was shrouded in secrecy until the power of social media brought out crowds that increased in number throughout the day.
At City Hall, Streb and her two dancers performed Skywalk – an abseil down the outside of the Norman Foster-designed glass building on the Thames’ south bank.
Streb admitted she did not have to do it herself, but said she wanted to thank the mayor’s office for backing the London 2012 Festival and give something back to the project, which is her company’s biggest-ever. “I hope this doesn’t sound obnoxious but I wanted to pay tribute to the building and what it represents,” she said.
Streb spent two years combing London for the best locations for the festival. There were polite nos from some locations – the dome of St Paul’s, for example – while others were too expensive, wuch as Tower Bridge.
Some performance art sucks. Some is glorious. I would have loved to seen these in person.
Yeah – some of it is pretty silly, too. Bet everyone taking part had fun, though.