Fernando Montaño and friends present Dance for the Sea

Fernando Montaño, British-Columbian Soloist for the Royal Ballet, saw first-hand the impact of plastic on our oceans having grown up in the Columbian coastal town of Buenaventura. He decided to create his Dance for the Sea project, highlighting the ocean plastic problem and raising funds for our work to fight it.

Dance for the Sea - Fernando Montano

Fernando’s efforts culminated in an evening of music, song and dance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and with the help of his talented friends and performers he put together an incredible show for us. Featuring Fernando’s own dancing talents, along with stunning vocal performances from Justina Gringyte, mezzo-soprano and lead in the upcoming production of Carmen at the London Coliseum, and West End performer and star of musicals including Wicked, Oliver Tompsett. Musicians Reinis Zarins, Jonathan Hill and Yaroslava Trofymchuk entertained with beautiful violin, piano and cello pieces, while same-sex ballroom dancers Axel Zischka and Thorsten Dreyer showcased their dancing talents. All presented by one of the UK’s best-known TV presenters and meteorologists, Sian Lloyd.

Fernando show

The audience was invited to take part in an auction during the second half of the show. An underwater photoshoot, a dance lesson with Fernando himself, and afternoon tea with Ocean Ambassador, businesswoman and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden were all up for grabs. A fantastic £2,800 was raised and will go straight to MCS, helping to fund our vital work. Attendees got to take away goodie bags with items from our corporate supporters, which included a reusable bottle from Dopper, reef-friendly sun cream from Green People, a copy of Coast Magazine and a pack of loose leaf tea from High Teas.

Susie Rodgers Underwater exhibition

Following the Dance for the Sea event, a week-long underwater art exhibition took place at Kentish Town Sports Centre, featuring 10 original images of Fernando immersed under the water and surrounded by plastic waste, captured by photographer Robin Conway. During the week, swimmers were able to view the exhibition as an immersive experience with images weighted to the pool floor.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, former Paralympic swimmer and MCS Ocean Ambassador Susie Rodgers MBE, said: “This is a wonderfully unique way to communicate the devastating effect of plastic pollution in our seas. As a swimmer in training, it could become quite tedious just staring at black and white tiles, so I love the way this adds interest to a pool floor as well as helping to raise awareness of a very serious issue.”

Susie and Fernando

A huge thank you to everyone that was involved, and we hope that those who attended Fernando’s Dance for the Sea performance, or visited the underwater art exhibition had a spectacular time, and came away with a passion to fight ocean plastic with us. Thanks also to the huge support digital media specialists Ocean Outdoor and photographer Robin Conway gave to the project.