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Cultural programmes run alongside Rugby League World Cup

  • Date: 3 October 2013
  • Area: North
Dancers jumping in the air

RLWC2013 Dance Programme. Credit: courtesy RLWC2013

The Rugby League World Cup (RLWC2013) takes place in 21 host venues across England, Wales, France and Ireland, 17 of which are in the North West and Yorkshire regions. The tournament aims to build on the Cultural Olympiad legacy extending its scope and scale while strengthening the links between sport and dance.

More than 3,000 dancers have been recruited for the RLWC2013 Dance Programme and will take part in spectacular celebrations across the UK for the tournament. Overall artistic direction will be led and inspired by Jeanefer Jean-Charles, who was part of the team who delivered the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and one of the country's most exciting emerging choreographers, James Wilton. Together they have created a new world class dance commission for 50 elite dancers and 500 dancers from communities across the UK, which will be unveiled at the Opening Ceremony in Cardiff on 26 October.

This video shows the dancers in rehearsals and features interviews with the choreographers and dancers, as well as the launch of the viral dance logo, created by Pete Shenton and Tom Roden from New Art Club, an award winning dance and physical comedy duo.  The viral dance logo is a RLWC choreographed routine for people of all ages and abilities and will be distributed virally across the tournament as part of pre-match participation and entertainment.

Artistic Director Jeanefer Jean-Charles said: 'I'm very familiar with getting non dancers to buy into projects. Someone will come along and say "I really want to be in this but I've got two left feet", and by the end of the project they find they've got a right and a left foot and they feel good about themselves. It will never happen again in this way and you'll always be able to say I was there, just like the Olympics.'

The RLWC2013 Dance Programme is supported by the Arts Council's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts programme.

Desiree Cherrington, Relationship Manager, Dance, Arts Council England commented, 'The RLWC2013 Dance Programme offers another exciting opportunity for dancers and local communities from across the country to engage in a high profile international  event, following the success of the Olympics and the UK's Big Dance 2012 programme, and will provide amazing opportunities for the UK dance sector. The national community dance engagement programme is focusing on areas of limited arts engagement and will hopefully encourage increased dance participation and attract new dance audiences. This project sees dance once again taking the artistic lead as part of sporting events and highlights the potential for dance and sport crossover, establishing further partnerships across both sectors that will ultimately benefit arts and culture in the future. I am pleased that we have been able to fund this project through our Grants for the arts programme and hope that it will continue to inspire the next generation of dancers long after the tournament has ended.' 

The Arts Council has also supported another RLWC2013 project, Try Reading, which celebrates and promotes the event through public libraries. Over 150 events, including author talks, writing workshops and drama events have been taking place across the North West, Yorkshire and Humber regions since April and will continue until November 2013. Libraries are working with local clubs and supporters' groups as well as schools. Try Reading has been funded with an award from the National Lottery supported £6 million Grants for the arts libraries fund by Arts Council England.