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Published on: Tuesday July 19, 2022

Birmingham 2022 staged the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay and invited Critical Mass to be part of the epic journey!

The Relay began on 7 October 2021, with Her Majesty The Queen placing her Message to the Commonwealth into the Baton. The Baton traveled a 294-day long journey to every corner of the Commonwealth, visiting all 72 nations and territories.

Critical Mass took part in the Queens Baton Relay celebrations during July 2022, sharing who we are with fun performances in some of our participants’ local areas. On Monday 18 July 2022, the Shrewsbury Darwin Dancers, led by Dance Leader Anna Belyavin, took to the stage in the record-breaking heat as part of a festival of activity happening at Shrewsbury Quarry.

The group did a fantastic job coping with the heat. To dance on top of this was a credit to their professionalism, but also emphasised the enjoyment they get from being a part of Critical Mass and wanting to perform no matter what. The Quarry was completely prepared for the heat and the dancers particularly enjoyed the on-site mist tent. The crowd loved their performance, and we got some ice creams after to celebrate and watched the Baton Relay come through along the River! It was a glorious thing to be a part of.

Sophie Humphries, Participation Producer

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On Wednesday 20 July, Critical Mass group That!Dance, from Burton & Lichfield, led by Dance Leaders Catherine Clissett & Natalie Haslam, came at the National Memorial Arboretum to welcome the Baton, and better yet, participants Dan and Sebbie were Baton Bearers in the relay itself! Dan & Sebbie met the group and they all performed some of their favourite moves from Critical Mass in a mash up performance in the Arboretum Square.

On Friday 22 July, the final group from Worcester, led by Dance Leader Clare Wood from Dancefest, performed their own compilation of Critical Mass movements not once, but twice. They performed for a private event inside the Worcester Cathedral ahead of the Baton Relay’s arrival, and then again outside on the College Green for a community crowd, adapting their piece for indoor and outdoor use.