Go Deeper dancing in the streets

Nomadic Dancing in the Streets with Úumbal

Posted May 31st, 2019

This Spring, we launched our latest public practice work, Úumbal: Nomadic Choreography for Inhabitants, which will be part of the 2019 Fringe Festival. Made possible by the William Penn Foundation, and following last year’s favorite Le Super Grand Continental, Úumbal is a dance piece that builds a nomadic choreography out of dance steps “donated” by Philadelphians that are then woven together to form a piece performed by 100 people through the streets of the city. Each phase of Úumbal involves Philadelphia residents to create a dance piece that is truly by, for, and of Philadelphia, and now we’re looking for people to participate in the final performance this September!

Choreographer Mariana Arteaga came to Philly from México City in April to collect dance steps from all of you for Phase One of the process: the Step Library. Below are some of our favorite moves collected at Mighty Writers El Futuro, Teatro Esperanza, and the Kensington Storefront:.

You can view all the donated steps on the Úumbal website.

Next, the Úumbal choreographic team met for Phase Two, stringing together these steps into larger choreographic sequences that were then tested out and further developed by a group of 25 people during multiple Knitters Laboratory workshop sessions.

Now we’ve arrived at Phase Three of Úumbal, and we’re looking for even more people to participate in the final iteration of the piece! We’ll be holding open auditions on June 11, 13, and 15, and invite all Philadelphians who like to dance to participate! From July to September, 100 people will rehearse the nomadic choreography to ultimately perform it in the streets of South Philly duringthe first two weekends of the Fringe Festival! If you came to see Le Super Grand Continental last year, you know just how exciting these kinds of public dance pieces can be. There is something so beautiful about a diverse collective of people moving through public space in a way that is definitively joyous and celebratory. Like last year, Úumbal will end in a big dance party with the audience!

Uumbal dancers rehearsing under a tree

If you’re interested in learning more about Úumbal, including the opportunity to participate in the final performances, please visit You can sign up to find out more updates, including audition and rehearsal dates!