Newcastle's Dance City has a vision for an all-dancing city
PUBLISHED: 00:16 30 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:29 20 February 2013
The creative director of Newcastle's Dance City has a vision for an all-dancing city, as Sarah Louise Banner reports
The print version of this article appeared in the January 2012 issue of North East Life
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It worked for Billy Elliot and now its working for a whole city. Dance City aims to transform the lives of people across Newcastle through just about every style of dance.
For almost 25 years classes have been held at the city centre studios and creative director Anthony Baker also works to attract the best dance companies from across the world, as well as talented local performers.
In 2006, Dance City moved into a purpose-built dance centre and there are now plans to expand into the Tees Valley and to develop a conservatoire for dance which, it is hoped, will open before the end of the decade.
Dance City offers 80 classes a week, ranging from beginner to more advanced levels and County Durham-born Anthony, 37, said: We are committed to delivering a wide range of community focused classes for those who want to partake in dance as a pastime, to get fit or to learn and develop their skills.
Although Dance City focuses mainly on contemporary dance, they also cover a range of genres, from the Strictly Come Dancing-inspired ballroom to the more exotic Egyptian dance and aspiring professional dancers can receive regular professional training through Dance Citys Ignite programme, which includes daily dance classes and workshops.
Combining professional dance practice, education and community work will allow students to develop the skills they need for a dance career in the North East and beyond, Anthony added.
The state-of-the-art centre on Temple Street, complete with specialised dance studios and a 250-seat theatre, also has open social spaces, which are often filled with dancers practicing their latest moves and routines.
Dance City owes much of its success to its 68 freelance dance tutors, who are employed from across the North East the centre has recently, created a new dance degree in partnership with Gateshead College, which will launch in September this year and which will be validated by Northumbria University. Gateshead College are a fantastic partner for us, Anthony said.
We have a shared ethos of access and opportunity for all. Aspiring young dancers aged 16-18 undertake rigorous training and are emerging as amazing young dancers, ready to join national dance companies.
Dance City has recently been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status by the Arts Council, a stuts which will help their development plans.
Using the funding, we will be developing our work for children and young people, said Anthony. We have an ambitious business plan. Were currently investigating setting up a conservatoire for dance in the North East, which will hopefully launch in 2019.
We are also in discussions to open a second base in the Tees Valley, which is an area currently underserved in dance provision, particularly in education and community work.
For more information on performances or classes at Dance City, go online to dancecity.co.uk or call 0191 261 0505.