The MyCharleston Speakeasy has been part of Brighton Fringe for three years, so this year we decided on a new theme, The Ragtime. We choose the title ‘Ragtime Razzle Dazzle’ and the creative planning began.
It was important for us that it remained an event for people who love to dress-up, party and dance. We thought rather than acts and performances we would create a series of happenings that draw people into a procession of dance and music.
Elena and I are big fans of New Orleans marching bands, it’s such infectious music you can’t help moving to it. This early jazz style was a development from ragtime, so we thought we would start with some simple stride piano and then get the party started with a New Orleans inspired walkabout.
As we continued to dig into the archives we discovered a tradition called “Dance Taxis” which dates back to 1906. At socials you could hire these dancers to show you the latest dance moves. The MyCharleston Troupe will be on hand at to show you the latest moves and any tips will be donated to the charity Mind.
If you’ve never been to the Spiegeltent it’s a truly magical venue - a circular tent with colored glass windows, seated booths and a dance floor at its centre. Being in the round makes it a very welcoming space to have a boogie with friends. As in previous year Elena and I will invite everyone onto the floor to learn the Charleston and a short fun routine.
The band will be keeping the dance floor stomping with our lively team of Charleston dancers. These cheeky ladies have a few surprises planned to keep everyone on their toes! I don't what’s going to happen but when it happens we’ll know it.
Re-inventing a successful event like the MyCharleston Speakeasy means taking risks. For Elena and I, the old saying “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” was in our minds as we decided what to keep and what to lose.
The Ragtime Razzle Dazzle definitely shifts the emphasis from performance to participation. Our biggest hope is that we create a space where people can just let go and dance.
See highlights from last years Speakeasy, Brighton Fringe 2018 and book now for next weeks event