Yesterday morning started like any other Sunday in central London, with the welcome exception of rays of sun instead of the usual driving rain. But at 7.30am exactly, the city's humdrum was broken as a series of dancers clad in red catsuits bungee jumped off the side of the Millennium Bridge accompanied by shocked gasps from on-looking joggers and early rising tourists.
Visionary choreographer Elizabeth Streb's contribution to the London Festival 2012, was billed as 'One Extraordinary Day', and as yesterday proved, the name couldn't have been more fitting. The Millennium Bridge stunt was the first in a series of seven secret events that happened across London throughout the day, with all performances conceived by 62-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Streb. She tells Crane.tv that the objective of the day, which took a year to plan and cost seven figures, "was to puncture the skyline of London in a way that people would not believe...to change their sense of wonder."
Following the Millennium Bridge bungee jump, Londoners looked on in awe at 'Skywalk' as Streb, flanked by two dancers, defied gravity and walked down City Hall, supported by a single cable. The rapturous applause as she reached the ground solidified Streb's aim - London was in awe. Similar gravity defying acrobatic feats followed at Paternoster Square, Trafalgar Square, the National Theatre and the London Eye, an awesome finale act of skill and bravery as Streb's dancers weaved their way between the spokes of the Eye.
Commissioned by the Mayor of London, One Extraordinary Day gave Londoners and the watching world alike a taste of what's to come in the following month. "Being here before the Olympian athletes arrive we are trying to, as best as we can, bless the air, the water, the sky, the earth, for their arrival. We wanted to put some action around so they'd enter into a non void based universe", Streb says. By all accounts, she succeeded.
Text by Holly Fraser for Crane.tv
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