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Big Dance

  • Date: 8 September 2009
  • Artform: Dance
  • Area: Midlands
Big Dance Big Dance, Adrian Burrows

The Big Dance, a biennial celebration of dance led by Arts Council England, was the inspiration for a successful week of events across the West Midlands between 5-13 July 2008.

With activities ranging from Bhangra-Cise to Elizabethan dance, the festival helped to highlight the benefit of dance to both personal health and social life, encouraging more people to take part, watch and enjoy the great dance opportunities that exist across England.

In Hanley, Frontline Dance organised A game of two arfs, two performances that took place across the town which included street theatre and break dancing. Says Rachael Line, Frontline Dance: ‘Even though the event was very small every single person joined in and enjoyed it.  They didn't want it to stop and demanded more for future events, which is great.’

Argy Bhaji organised two outdoor events in Birmingham and Stoke on Trent where school children, their families and passers-by found themselves dancing in the rain.

Shout, arranged by artistic director Gail Parmer, created a new dance piece for 10 local schools. After learning the dance in workshops, children gathered in Centenary Square, encouraging onlookers to join in. Despite an abrupt end due to heavy downpour, the event got an enthusiastic response from participants and local press.

And in Stoke on Trent, 300 young people from eight local schools were joined by Olympic gold medallist Lord Seb Coe when they performed a new dance specially choreographed by Rosie Kay. Argy Bhaji ran workshops in the run-up to the event to teach pupils the routine.

The event was partnered by Creative Partnerships, Stoke on Trent City Council, Victoria Halls, Birmingham City Council and Bright Space.

Visit the Big Dance website at www.bigdance.org.uk