Dance Plague

Event Details

Organic Theatre presents “Dance Plague with Flanker Origami”
– A Dopamine Dressed Danced Promenade

Saturday 22nd June 2024 – 2pm UK time
(find your local time:
on UpStage:

The performance is presented at the PSi#29 ASSEMBLE conference hosted by The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in collaboration with LIFT (London International Theatre Festival), in partnership with Hoxton Hall, The Africa Centre, and the University of London’s Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, and School of Advanced Studies.

Dance Plague with Flanker Origami


Dance Plague with Flanker Origami is a dopamine dressed danced promenade devised and performed between physical and digital stages by UK-based Organic Theatre, in collaboration with Damn Fine Dance, Pam Woods and Phil Smith.

It is streamed within a live event on the artist-built UpStage platform, a web-based venue for live online collaborative performance, where the promenade will be assembled with worldbuilding tools of cyberformance and online audience participation.

Captured as a moving selfie through the ‘banal technology’ of a smartphone at Wilton’s Music Hall and at the Barbican Centre in London, the promenade is performed by two extravagant characters – Flanker Origami – coming from a world of digital performance, who are trapped in ‘an ontological performance of characters in the face of existential threat; attempting to exist in fiction, emerging from a crisis of liveness in the backwash of a global epidemic’ (Smith 2023).

They are accompanied by the Interlopers (Damn Fine Dance and Pam Woods), a group of ‘followers’ who assemble themselves with the pulse and rhythms of the dance, as it drifts within the private and public spaces of cultural and theatrical sites. 

Conceived at the intersection between the material and immaterial, the promenade explores the entanglement between hybrid and heightened performance practices and the materiality of bodies and places. It experiments with how digital engagement can reconfigure our interactions with the world through acts of performative assemblage with city buildings, streets, humans and other-than-humans.

Who are Flanker Origami

As glitches of a global theatre world bamboozled by the Covid19 pandemic, Flanker Origami appeared online in a home-specific digital performance created by Organic Theatre in 2021 for the first hybrid edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In Dance Plague with Flanker Origami they become ghosts of a lost digital spectacle with little story, plot, dramaturgy or meaning to hang on to, seeking in-between spaces for survival and building artistic coalitions beyond the commercial infrastructures of theatre buildings.

Intersecting with the daily life of iconic cultural landmarks, Flanker Origami and their followers dance through and occupy the backstage whilst deserting the theatre auditorium. In so doing they actively (and ironically) challenge capitalistic notions of cultural consumption, urban surveillance and social control, reframing narratives of post-pandemic social spaces, both online and in presence.

Artistic Research

Dance Plague with Flanker OrigamiIn the wake of the ‘Outrage Era’ described and questioned by Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles (2020) alongside clicktivism, tribalism, mobocracy, collective yelling on social media – and the ‘Choir effect’ of public shame which ensues – Dance Plague with Flanker Origami aims to form a posthuman and postdigital ‘micro-social assemblage’ (Guattari 1979), which builds ‘collective micro-agency’ through hybrid and guerilla modes of positive representations of queer/ageing bodies and non-conforming identities.

Invoking ‘the lost performing of public arenas to cauterise collective trauma’ (Smith 2023), the promenade seeks to bypass neoliberal modes of gatekeeping cultural sites and to provoke alternative and affective ways of gathering and assembling between digital and in-person.

Within the private and public domain of physical theatre buildings, the dance manifests itself both as the metaphorical plague of a market-driven creative industry struggling to keep up with its own vulnerable economy, and a possible cure which can reclaim and release hybrid and heightened spaces of connectivity in conversation with and/or at the edges of the cultural and socio-economic agendas of arts organisations.

‘As Flanker, Origami and their fellow dancers become ‘interlopers’ in public spaces of cultural organisations, we collectively hint at a material world of the stage from which digital characters are excluded, and where they never really get to perform.

As we are promenading at the edges of theatre buildings, in between the digital and the physical space, we occupy a liminal and ghostly position of existence – the dance step is what moves us, makes us alive and keeps us together, alongside acts of assemblage with the architecture, artworks, posters, plants, places and people.

We frame ourselves in the world of Wilton’s and the Barbican, we assemble through dance, we make joyful statements of our bodies and energies in relation to our surroundings. We promenade and parade from a world of hybrid performance, and we open a new dimension in the physical realm, where the essence of joy can be contagious, like a plague.’

Bianca Mastrominico
Co-artistic Director, Organic Theatre

Dance Plague with Flanker Origami
Devised by Organic Theatre
Researched and developed with Phil Smith
Performed by Flanker Origami (Bianca Mastrominico and John Dean) with Damn Fine Dance (Karla Ptacek, Veronica Roberts, Silvana Desira, Jen Kahawatte, Surinder K Tamne, Robert Williamson) and Pam Woods.
Filmed by Bianca Mastrominico, John Dean, Chiara Menozzi, Francesco Dean
Video editing by Organic Theatre
Film documentation by Chiara Menozzi
Production Assistant: Toby Holloway

Thanks to Molly Wright, artistic director of Damn Fine Dance, Ariane Oiticica and Zena Sayers for facilitating the making and filming process at the Barbican and Wilton’s Music Hall, Helen Varley Jamieson and Vicki Smith for supporting the creative process on UpStage.

Supported by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Facebook: @organictheatrenews
Instagram: @organic_theatre
Threads: @organic_theatre @organictheatre