Big Dance in the North West

Big Dance is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of dance. Taking place across the country as part of the London 2012 Festival, Big Dance features thousands of events inspired by dance. They have been taking place in all sorts of locations and in all dance styles and have included classes, workshops, flashmobs, film screenings, world record attempts and dancing in unusual spaces.

Big Dance is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of dance. Taking place across the country as part of the London 2012 Festival, Big Dance features thousands of events inspired by dance. They have been taking place in all sorts of locations and in all dance styles and have included classes, workshops, flashmobs, film screenings, world record attempts and dancing in unusual spaces.

On 5 July dancers from around the UK performed on the platforms of St Pancras International Station in London for the official launch of Big Dance 2012 and we have been celebrating Big Dance week from 7-15 July.

Merseyside Dance Initiative has led on Big Dance in the region, as the North West hub leader, with regional partners Ludus Dance (Lancashire), Dance Initiative Greater Manchester (DiGM), Dance Cumbria and DARE Dance recruiting people in their own areas for performances across the region, including for the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations. We have supported Big Dance in the North West with an award of £55,000 from our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme.

This Sunday, 15 July, in Liverpool thousands of people are expected to pack Church Street and Paradise Street for the city’s international dance festival City Steps, sponsored by Liverpool City Central BID which represents 630 city centre businesses. The finale of the festival will be the Big Dance NW Link Up, when 1,275 people from all over the North West will perform a mass dance on the steps of Chavasse Park in Liverpool One to bring Big Dance week to a close.

Groups from Merseyside, Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester will come together when dancers aged 6-86 will perform choreography representing the history and landmarks of their region.

The NW Link Up has brought together 25 dance artists from five counties to work with choreographic consultant Jeanefer Jean Charles and artistic director Lisi Perry to create a piece of dance. Each artist has shared the piece with participants from all over the North West and now they will all perform together in Liverpool’s city centre.

Karen Gallagher MBE, Director of Merseyside Dance Initiative said: ‘Big Dance 2012 in the North West is a chance to shine a light on our region and show the rest of the country and the world what wonderful dance activity goes on here. Along with our partner organisations we have brought dance into the heart of local communities, and bringing all the boroughs together in Liverpool ONE will unite the whole North West in dance.’

Commenting on Big Dance, Jane Beardsworth, Arts Council England’s Director for the North West, said: ‘Big Dance is providing a fantastic opportunity across the region for people to both watch and take part in dance, while at the same time joining in the celebrations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As well as producing some stunning performances, Big Dance is also a chance for those taking part to work with national and international dance artists to devise new work for unusual and outdoor spaces.’

Other highlights of Big Dance in the North West over the next couple of weeks include:

The Moment When…, a co-production between Cheshire Dance and Walk the Plank, will take place at Tatton Park in Cheshire on 15 July. Tatton Mere will provide a beautiful natural backdrop for the final performance of The Moment When… which was first performed when the Olympic Flame arrived in Chester on 29 May. The afternoon performance at Tatton promises to be a summer’s day delight for the whole family.

Urban Moves, presented by Dance Initiative Greater Manchester (DiGM), is Manchester’s outdoor international dance festival which will take place from 27-29 July. Celebrating all forms of dance in new exciting, accessible, outdoor spaces, the first part of the festival will start on Friday 27 July in Bolton, Bury and Salford. It will then continue with stunning and exciting international dance animating Castlefield in central Manchester over the weekend. Full details of the programme are available on the website.

As well as Big Dance, there are many more Cultural Olympiad activities taking place throughout the summer across the North West. Visit nwfor2012.com to find out more and to join the WE PLAY Challenge

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