‘SOS’ from performers who need dozens of novice and experienced Hull dancers for a show like no other

Hull's Sync or Swim project requires around 60 novice and experienced dancers
-Credit: (Image: Vennie Venn)

Hull dancers of all abilities are being invited to throw their swimming hats in the ring to take part in a 90s-inspired show at this year’s Freedom Festival.

Sync or Swim is the latest community dance project by Hull company, Tamar & Jo, inspired by synchronised swimming and 90s pop anthems. It will feature up to 60 dancers, both novice and expert, in an uplifting, beautiful and colourful outdoor performance at Stage@TheDock at the end of August.

Tamar & Jo – they delivered the innovative lockdown project, Doorstep Dances - have partnered with St Mike’s Youth Project, Maxlife Youth Project and Child Dynamix to meet young dancers for the summer project. They are looking to recruit people aged 16 and over.


Choreographer Jo Ashbridge said: “Dance is so much more than a fun activity for children; it has proven benefits upon physical and mental health, self-esteem and social engagement. Moreover, we all deserve to remain playful and experience new things as adults, not just in our younger years.

“As a company we pride ourselves on working with anyone from complete beginner to professional dancer, and urge anyone to put their reservations aside and get involved. We guarantee it will be a lot of fun!”

Sync or Swim dancers at Hull Vista Festival 2023
Sync or Swim dancers at Hull Vista Festival 2023 -Credit:Ruby Deverell

Sync or Swim will feature contemporary and commercial dance and theatre, set to a brilliant soundtrack of 90s bangers, building on a smaller hit version created for last year’s Vista Festival Hull. One participant in that event was Janet, who said: “What a glorious self-affirming experience it was to find myself at 57 years of age, having never danced in a class or in public, dressed in brightly coloured costume dancing in the summer sunshine with a bunch of wonderful, welcoming, and generous people of all ages and abilities – it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Jo has choreographed the project to suit different levels of dance ability and experience for anyone aged 16+, bringing everyone together in a spectacular performance, where each participant is valued equally.

Rehearsals will be in a central location Tuesday or Wednesday evenings from early August, and participants can register their involvement right up until the start. Sync or Swim is funded by Arts Council England and Hull City Council, supported by Freedom Festival Hull, Back to Ours and Dance in Company CIC.

Tamar & Jo are committed to improving lives by using dance as a tonic to combat life’s stresses. Jo said: “At a time when Arts Council funding is so difficult to secure, we are incredibly proud to have been awarded this grant and pleased that the impact of our work is being recognised.”

More information about Sync or Swim and an application form can be found via Tamar & Jo’s Facebook or Instagram pages. Performances at the Freedom Festival will take place on Saturday, August 31, 1pm and 4.30pm, and Sunday, September 1, 1pm and 3.30pm.