Blackpool’s Grand Theatre is to host a leading Brooklyn-based hip hop dance and theatre group as part of its recently acquired Arts Council National Portfolio funding.
Earlier this year, in a bid supported by Blackpool Council, the Grand Theatre secured £120,000 per year over the next three years to become a regional centre of excellence for contemporary dance.
The award-winning 2Faced Dance opened the programme earlier this month with a powerful performance of In The Dust.
Next up will be a celebration on Monday October 1, featuring a very special one night only performance from Decadancetheatre.
Since 2004, Brooklyn-based, Decadancetheatre has been re-defining the image of women in hip-hop. Through performances, workshops and creative commissions, Decadancetheatre has become a key ambassador of authentic, New York City hip-hop culture around the world.
Led by artistic director Jennifer Weber, the company represents a global vision of hip-hop with an international roster of dancers, taking female dancers out of the background of music videos and into the forefront of theatrical performance.
Although Blackpool is the world capital of ballroom dancing and has a vibrant variety and cabaret scene, in recent years the main contemporary dance company tours have moved to Manchester.
This regular funding will mean that local talent can be encouraged, and a new generation of audiences developed for contemporary dance.
As part of the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde Dance Network, The Grand is working in partnership with Dance Initiative Greater Manchester, Ludus Dance and Blackpool Council’s dance development officer, Sarah Hall, supporting the wider contemporary dance scene in Lancashire and the North West.
Together the organisations are supporting artistic innovations across the region.
The Grand is now able top attract the best contemporary dance companies to Blackpool to perform and run workshops for local performers and students.
2Faced Dance preceded their appearance with a week of workshops, collaborating with local schools and performers – and also worked with Lancaster’s award winning youth company, Ludus Dance, who performed a short piece before the main performance of their own In the Dust.
Celine Wyatt, creative learning manager for The Grand said: “We are delighted that the funding will offer exciting new opportunities to support emerging young dancers, giving them the opportunity to work with national and international companies.”
Two more award-winning dance companies visit the Grand Theatre before the end of the year.
David Hughes Dance’s Chinaski Sessions takes to the stage on Monday October 22 and on Sunday November 18 Champloo bring White Caps to Blackpool.
Phil Harrison, The Grand’s programme manager, said, “We have always attempted to offer our audience exciting and innovative companies presenting contemporary dance and the funding allows us to offer more presentations from the leading exponents of this genre.”
Neil Thomson, Grand Theatre general manager and chief executive, said: “The theatre was delighted to be awarded National Portfolio Organisation Status earlier this year and we are looking forward to what will be an exciting and diverse programme of contemporary dance for the next three years.”