The Pulse was a project to develop community content for the LOCOG stage show as part of the Olympic Torch Relay event in Norwich on 4th July 2012. It was commissioned by Norwich City Council, developed and delivered in partnership between NORCA and the Garage, and funded by the Geoffrey Watling Charity.
The Pulse aimed to combine movement and music into two, high energy, 10-minute performances that would begin and end the LOCOG stage show, drawing people from across Norwich and Norfolk to participate. Renowned choreographer and dancer, Aaron Sillis, acted as Artistic Director and choreographer, devising the movement piece and leading movement rehearsals. Aaron, originally from Norwich, has worked with Kylie Minogue, Take That and the acclaimed Matthew Bourne Dance Company. Marcus Patteson acted as Musical Director, leading on the musical development and producing music for the movement section.
80 people applied to participate in the project, going through an audition and boot camp process. As a result 42 people were selected, from all sorts of backgrounds, with an age range from 10 to 45 years old. This included people who played a range of instruments, singers, beat boxers, rappers, dancers, gymnasts, martial artists, body poppers and more. These people rehearsed every Sunday from the end of April to the event in July, performing on 4th July 2012 to 16,000 people in Chapelfield Gardens.
Limitations on numbers posed by the size of stage available, and advice on capacity from LOCOG, led us to separate the two performances into one focussed on music and one focussed on movement. The music piece was based around a composition specially for the event by local musician, Juliana Meyer, called Carry the Flame. As well as building on the talents of participating musicians, it also incorporated an arrangement by local Taiko drummers. The movement piece had Aaron’s wonderful choreography to a sound track of extracts of popular music.
Key objectives of the project were:
The project evaluation showed that it achieved all of the above and more. Participants fed back that they felt more confident, had been inspired to get involved in more activities and were more motivated. Norwich City Council were thrilled with the performances and reported that LOCOG had said it was one of the best local performances.