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Promotional image for LANGUAGE. A photo from the workshops.
Credit: Annie Pui Ling Lok
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A community performance project in Elephant and Castle for all ages and experience.

“Do you live, work or study in Elephant and Castle? 
Do you love to dance, move and meet new people? 
Do you want to be in a new performance that you’ve helped to create?

LANGUAGE was the first of four summer projects creating and dancing with our neighbours in Elephant and Castle. This work considers what local dance can be in the ongoing COVID-19 context and is a major feature of new Artistic Directors Annie Pui Ling Lok and Kat Bridge‘s programme.

The performance of LANGUAGE was the culmination of twelve dance sessions taking place across June and July 2022 at Siobhan Davies Studios and Charlotte Sharman Primary School. 

We invited those with a strong connection to Elephant and Castle to create a new dance performance with us. The theme was LANGUAGE – exploring different dance styles and languages, moving to express ourselves, the power of communication and the fun and frustration that comes with it. 

Some of the participants attended across the month, others joined us in the very last week – many of us met each other on the day of the performance! For lots of the performers it was their first experience of performing in front of an audience.

LANGUAGE was directed by Juan Ayala and SDS Co-Artistic Director Annie Pui Ling Lok in collaboration with guest artists Akeim Toussaint Buck, Carlos Maria Romero aka Atabey Mamasita, Emiko Ishii, Maiya Leeke and Josh Hawkins and performed by neighbours from Elephant and Castle and members of the SDS team.

Together we explored movement as a form of expression and shared our experiences of communicating, misunderstanding, longing and listening. We worked with a range of movement styles lots of which were a completely new experience for many, including Bhangra, Contemporary dance, Hip hop, Kathak, Karate and Vogue-chi.


Directed by

Annie Pui Ling Lok and Juan Ayala 

Guest artists

Akeim Toussaint Buck, Carlos Maria Romero aka Atabey Mamasita, Emiko Ishii, Maiya Leeke, Josh Hawkins 


Berrin Calik, Beth Tyson-Banks, Catherine Yong, DJ Hassan, Dorcas Megan Yabar, Eliz Diaz, Francis Majekudumi, Gabriel Yong-Wilson, Glen Leslie, Hattie Harding, Kavina Pound, Laura Grant, Lucia Fortune-Ely, Paloma Yong-Wilson, Paula Fajardo, Rohanne Udall, Samantha James, Selda Demir, Sophie Brassard and Young Choo.

Thank you

A huge thank you to Drew May and the staff at Charlotte Sharman Primary School, Roland Carline of Freestylers and to all the participants who have joined us for workshops on the way, Adam, Afshin, Alison, Amelia, Elisabeth, Farjana, Francesca, Gabriel, Gennaro, Gregory, Ingrid, Isha, Jamie, Joseph, Nina, Peace, Shimaz, Tatiana, Tulay and Vania.