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Dance Creates Conference

Photograph © Jane Hobson

Anyone interested in or involved in dance for young people is invited to take part in ‘Dance Creates’, Yorkshire Dance’s sixth annual conference, on Thursday 26th October at Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax.

Presented in partnership with The Children & Young People’s Dance Network North, the conference aims to offer networking opportunities, co-ordinate training and professional development sessions, and share youth dance activity across the north. It will examine young people’s voice in dance choreography and performance through debates, practical workshops, talks and performances.

Practical and discussion sessions will be led by a variety of dance artists and companies, including One Dance UK, National Youth Dance Company and Vincent Dance Theatre. International guests include Michael Keegan-Dolan, Artistic Director of TeacDamsa and 2015-2016 Guest Artistic Director of National Youth Dance Company, and Dirk de Lathauwer of fABULEUS, the Belgium-based theatre and dance company that focuses on young audience and talent development.

Several dance films from Channel 4’s Random Acts North will be screened, each film being directed by a young artist or filmmaker between the ages of 16 and 24. These will include films by Lizzie Klotz, Josh Hawkins, Akeim Toussaint Buck and Alex Ayre.

The day will also feature a performance by Hull Youth Dance, whose members have been working with the National Youth Dance Company to create a curtain-raiser for the forthcoming NYDC tour.

“Dance Creates is one of our most exciting conferences to date, bringing together national and international perspectives and involving young people from across the North of England”, said Hannah Robertshaw, Projects Director, Yorkshire Dance. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Children and Young People’s Dance Network North and hosting the event in the newly renovated Square Chapel in Halifax which provides a beautiful location for what will be a thought-provoking and inspiring day.”

Tickets for Dance Creates are available now, priced £20 – £45, from Yorkshire Dance’s box office, 0113 243 8765 or online at


Early-bird booking discounts available until Thursday 31 August 2017.



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Choreographer Gary Clarke Brings LGBT History “Into the Light”


A spectacular new dance piece by award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke will present a fast-forward version of LGBT history, in a moving and riotous performance commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the start of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

Yorkshire Dance has produced ‘Into The Light’ for Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s week-long LGBT 50 programme. It will be a celebratory centrepiece to Duckie Summer Tea Party, taking place at Queen Victoria Square in Hull on Saturday 29th  July.

The piece looks back at landmark events in LGBT+ history over five decades: from a secret world in which homosexuality was illegal, through to the present day, as thousands of people join together for this vibrant, family-friendly performance in the open air.

Yorkshire Dance associate artist Gary Clarke (COAL) brings together a mixed cast of professional and non-professional dancers: uniting contemporary dance artists Harry Theaker, TC Howard, Eleanor Perry, Daniel Gordon, Tamar Draper, Patrick Ziza, Dom Coffey and Natali McCleary with 42 people from Hull, ranging from under 16s to over 60s, and first-time performers to those with a passion for dance. All 42 are taking part to have fun, raise awareness or support the LGBT+ community, feed-in experiences or memories from their own lifetimes, and be performers and collaborators in this unique dance piece.

The 30-minute performance will flow through the crowds at Duckie Summer Tea Party and will take place twice during the afternoon. At the very end of the performance, the thousands of people in the square will be invited to join in with a mass dance.

A video tutorial has been released for thousands of participants to take place in a mass dance [] Two public workshops will be held for people to drop-in and learn the moves from the team in advance of the performances (Wed 12 July, Kardomah, 94 Alfred Gelder St, Hull, HU1 2AN.6pm-7pm & Wed 19 July, Duckie’s Shop, 95 Jameson Street, Hull, HU1 3JJ. 6.30pm-7.30pm, both free.)

INTO THE LIGHT: Sat 29 Jul, 1pm Queen Victoria Square, Hull, part of Duckie Summer Tea Party, free.


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Mesh: Dance Project With Free Workshops Calls for Participants

Mesh, a dance research project by Vanessa Grasse, is looking for people to take part. The project begins at the end of June and takes place throughout July in Leeds and Wakefield.

In response to our current divisive political climate, Mesh looks at how a choreographic work for a large group can create a ritual of togetherness in different indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Working with a group of professional and non-professional dancers and collaborating with anthropologist Tim Ingold and science writer Philip Ball, Mesh engages people from different background through a series of workshops open to all. It also includes a public talk by Tim Ingold. The process culminates in 2 public performances in Leeds and Wakefield.


Workshops at Yorkshire Dance

Explore collaborative group movement and formations in response to each other, architecture and everyday urban choreographies.
Creating playful rituals of togetherness; mindfully navigating and getting lost through the city; re-imagining new forms of collective
presence in public spaces.

Saturday 24 June, 1 and 8 July Open Workshops 10:30am-2:30pm
Saturday 15 July Rehearsal 10:30am-2:30pm
Friday 21 July Rehearsal + Performance 12pm-5pm (exact times tbc)

Workshops at The Hepworth Wakefield

Explore collaborative movement and sculptural formations inspired by Barbara Hepworth’s artwork at the gallery. Responding to various indoor and outdoor spaces. By creating playful rituals of togetherness, you will question audience responses and pathways in the gallery exploring the figure and body, landscapes and their relationship to one and another.

Sunday 9 and 16 July Open Workshops 10:30am-1:30pm
Monday 17 and Tue 18 July Rehearsal 10am-1pm
Saturday 22 July Rehearsal 12:30pm-2:30pm + Performance 3pm

Open to adults of all ages with a good level of fitness and mobility. No dance experience required.
You can join either the Leeds or Wakefield workshops or both.

By attending two workshops you will be able to join the final rehearsals with the professional dancers
and take part in the final sharings.

(To take part in both the Leeds and Wakefield sharing you need to attend 2 workshops in each locality).

For more info and to sign up please contact

Please state if you would like to attend just the workshops or also take part in the final work in progress performances.

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Gillie Kleiman Presents New Dance Performance: Recreation


Experimental and humourous, Recreation is a new dance performance created by artist Gillie Kleiman exploring ideas around work, leisure, and pleasure. It’s about the things that we do that aren’t work, or that aren’t quite work. It’s a show about caring, about cooking, about sex, about gardening and meditating and singing in the kitchen and playing five-a-side, and, of course, about dancing.

Recreation has a core cast of three – Amanda Drago, Victoria Guy and Kit Haigh – who are joined on stage by two guest performers local to each new location where the show is presented. In addition, the project includes an open workshop in each location, offering the opportunity for local people to join the process.

Performed by professional, not-quite-professional and non-professional dancers, Recreation is a lamentation for leisure, a choreographed question of labour, a danced demand for seeing our value beyond our work.

Preview performance at Yorkshire Dance, 3 St Peter’s Buildings, St Peter’s Square,  LS9 8AH, Fri 9 June, 7.30pm,   £8/6, 0113 243 8765,




@GillieKleiman | #recreationdance |



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Junior ‘Stepping Out’ in his West End Debut


Junior Frood (12) from Meanwood recently got to perform on a London West End Stage.

The opportunity came about when the Leeds West Academy student contacted ITV This Morning in support of their ‘Be Kind’ anti-bullying campaign. Junior, who is on the Diana Award National Anti-bullying Youth Board for England was invited to chat on the famous sofa with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby and to tell his story of how he overcame the bullying that he suffered because of his love of dancing. Phillip Schofield asked “What’s the big dream?” to which Junior replied “to be in a West End Musical”.

Junior and Amanda Holden just before showtime

Following this, Britain’s Got Talent Judge Amanda Holden, who is currently starring in the musical ‘Stepping Out’ at the Vaudeville Theatre, contacted the show and offered to make his dream come true.

Junior spent the day with the show’s choreographer Tim Jackson, who taught Junior the finale dance that he would get to perform that night with the whole cast. Tim couldn’t believe how quickly he picked up the choreography. Junior was then introduced to the show’s costume designer Denny Evans who made Junior a costume to match the rest of the cast, complete with sparkly top hat and cane.

L-R: Choreographer Tim Jackson,Amanda Holden, Junior, his mum Kerry, and Maggie Paterson, Junior’s Principal from Pineapple Performing Arts.


The best moment came when he got to meet Amanda Holden, one of his idols. He got to rehearse with her and the rest of the cast and was interviewed with her by ITV This Morning, who were on hand to film Junior’s performance for a follow up story on the show.


Junior and his little brother Jake with Philip and Holly on This Morning


It was made all the more special as Maggie Paterson, principal of Pineapple Performing Arts School   where Junior has a full scholarship was in the audience to watch Junior’s West End debut.


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Rosie Kay Dance Co at Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre



Award-winning Rosie Kay Dance Company comes to Leeds this May with a thrilling new work, MK ULTRA. Performing at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on 9 May for one night only, this is an exploration of the bizarre realm of mind control conspiracies from the choreographer of the five star 5 SOLDIERS and hit film Sunshine on Leith.

Rosie Kay is one of the UK’s leading choreographers and is renowned for her athletic movement and intelligent theatricality. Inspired by pop culture, mind control and Illuminati imagery MK ULTRA brings a hypnotic, high energy, supercharged mash-up of dance and music to the stage. With a typically fearless eye, Kay delves deep into this world and conjures up something entirely new, subverting the subversive.

MK ULTRA features music composed by Annie Mahtani, set and video design by Louis Price, lighting design by Mike Gunning, and costume design by Gary Card. One of London’s most talked about talents, Card has previously worked with pop stars such as Lady Gaga, and MK ULTRA exhibits his first designs for contemporary dance.

“At a time when everything is fake, or at least we don’t trust what’s real any more, MK ULTRA looks at what this world really feels like and what affect it is having on us, whether we know it or not,” says Rosie Kay. “Be prepared for high-energy, high-octane dance, a mash up of dance styles, subliminal and secret messages, incredible video, light and costume visuals, music that wraps around your senses and a deeper, darker political edge”.

Tickets for MK ULTRA by Rosie Kay Dance Company at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds are on sale now and can be booked online at or by calling the box office on 0113 220 8008. Tickets are priced at £12.50.


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‘Nora Invites’ Dance Tour Comes to Yorkshire Dance



Dance duo Eleanor Sikorski and Flora Wellesley Wesley, aka Nora, bring their acclaimed triple bill Nora Invites to Yorkshire Dance on Friday 3rd March.

Nora Invites is a triple bill of work curated and performed by Eleanor Sikorski and Flora Wellesley Wesley. They bring to the stage a bold, hysterical and sublime programme of duets by renowned choreographers Liz Aggiss (BLOODY NORA!), Simon Tanguy (Digging), and Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion (Eleanor And Flora Music).

Burrows’ and Fargion’s piece, Eleanor And Flora Music, overflows with free-ranging, rhythmical dancing, their musical score translated into a playful landscape of touch and synchronicity.

Tanguy’s choreography, Digging, slips between subjects – road trips, plant biology and sexual desire – as dialogue and motion twist the stage into all corners of the imagination.

Aggiss’ finale, BLOODY NORA!, is fiery send up of all who dare patronise the menstruating woman. It is a riot of hormones, competitiveness and female solidarity.

Tickets £10/ £8 available from Yorkshire Dance

0113 243 8765

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Northern Ballet’s ‘1984’ a Winner at National Dance Awards



Northern Ballet was delighted to have been recognised at this year’s National Dance Awards after choreographer Jonathan Watkins won the award for Best Classical Choreography for 1984. Cathy Marston, choreographer of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre was nominated for the same award, alongside Anabelle Lopez Ochoa (Broken Wings for English National Ballet), Jean-Christophe Maillot (Taming of the Shrew for Bolshoi Ballet) and Will Tuckett (Elizabeth for The Royal Ballet).

Voted for by the dance section of the Critics’ Circle, Northern Ballet was also recognised in four further categories with nominations for Outstanding Company, Best Male Dancer and Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) for former Premier Dancer Tobias Batley and Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for former Premier Dancer Martha Leebolt.

This award underlines a highly successful year for Northern Ballet which also saw the Company win the Dance Award at the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Awards for 1984.

This year Northern Ballet also supported the National Dance Awards by sponsoring the award for Outstanding Female Performance (Modern) which was won by Ching-Ying Chien in Until the Lions for Akram Khan Company.

Looking ahead, 2017 is set to be one of the biggest in Northern Ballet’s history with an unprecedented three full-length World Premières; Casanova (March), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (May) and The Little Mermaid (September). See for details.

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Phoenix Dance Revives Nightlife at the Flamingo at WYP


Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

Phoenix Dance Theatre will open their Spring 2017 tour with a four-night run at West Yorkshire Playhouse. The thrilling programme which marks the end of the company’s 35th year anniversary celebrations features a new commission and a revival of one of the company’s earliest and most iconic works; Nightlife at the Flamingo.

Choreographed by Edward Lynch, who also danced in the original production, Nightlife at the Flamingo premiered in Leeds in 1983, under the Company’s first Artistic Director David Hamilton.

Originally set in an American nightclub, Nightlife at the Flamingo integrated popular culture and modern dance and was performed by five dancers. For this revived anniversary performance it has been re-imagined by Edward Lynch for an intergenerational cast which features ex-Phoenix dancers and current company dancers along with the company’s Youth Academy. Fusing Jazz, Soul and Lindy Hop this dazzling piece captures the atmosphere of a 1940’s American Dance Hall.

Nightlife at the Flamingo. Photography by Brian Slater

Alongside Nightlife at the Flamingo Phoenix present the premier of Calyx the company’s very first internal commission under the directorship of Sharon Watson. Calyx is choreographed by Company Dancer Sandrine Monin who was awarded the commission following the company’s inaugural Choreographers and Composers Lab in 2015. Sandrine’s appointment comes at a time when female choreographers are in the minority, often expressing difficulties in developing their careers as choreographers. Calyx is inspired by and based on the book of poems ‘The Flowers of Evil’ by Charles Baudelaire. The work explores the themes of beauty, desire and decadence.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater (1)

To complete the programme the company present Beast by Leeds based choreographer and ex company dancer Douglas Thorpe. Beast immerses the audience into the darkest reaches of the mind, using six dancers in a performance that is as powerful and brutal as it is beautiful. Exploring the darker side of the human psyche, Beast’s broken choreography requires extreme strength and articulation, giving the piece an often disjointed and fragmented look. Intimidating and uncompromising, this challenging piece is an unforgettable, captivating piece of theatre.

Beast. Photography by Brian Slater


“In 1989 I was one of the first female dancers to join the Company and it is a privilege to lead the Company in these challenging but artistically vibrant times.” said Sharon Watson. “Recommissioning NightLife at the Flamingo is a nod to the company spirit, and affirms the Phoenix Dance Theatre’s deserved place as prominent agents for change in the arts. It is right that we recognise just how revolutionary the Phoenix phenomenon is and the ground-breaking work the Company’s early members achieved. The commissioning of a new piece by a current Company Dancer is a continuation of this spirit. Many female choreographers have expressed difficulties and frustration as they find it more and more challenging to secure any form of investment to support their careers as choreographers. This is a significant commission, sending a clear message to the dance world that Phoenix is committed to driving diversity in the sector”.

Book online

Box office 0113 213 7700

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Open Days at the Academy of Northern Ballet




The Academy of Northern Ballet is holding Open Days on 22nd, 28th and 29th January for budding young dancers to explore the training programmes on offer at one of the UK’s leading ballet schools. Free to attend, the open days are aimed at children aged 9 -15 and offer the chance for prospective students to meet Academy staff, tour the facilities and take part in taster classes.

The Academy of Northern Ballet embodies a 21st century approach to ballet training, capturing the talent and imagination of individuals and nurturing their passion for dance. It offers a wide range of open classes for anyone from toddlers to adults as well as providing outstanding training for the professional dancers of the future through its Centre for Advanced Training Programme. The Academy of Northern Ballet is the only Centre for Advanced Training Centre in the UK specialising in Classical Ballet, and 100% of its graduates aining have gone on to secure places at top-vocational schools including the Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet School.

Open days for all training programmes will be held with two sessions on 22nd  January (9am -12.30pm & 1 – 4.40pm), and one session on 29th January  (9am – 12.30pm) for those aged 9-15.

The open day on 28th January (9.30am – 3.30pm) is dedicated to the Academy’s Centre for Advanced Training Programmes for students aged 9 -12 interested in pursuing dance as a career. It includes the opportunity to observe Northern Ballet dancers in their daily training class before themselves taking part in a technique class and sessions with teaching staff from the Centre for Advanced Training. There are also boy-only options available which include an energetic class led by former Northern Ballet Premier Dancer Christopher Hinton-Lewis.

The open days are free to attend but booking is essential. For more information and to reserve a place email or call 0113 220 8000.


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