A new season of dance will light up the county this autumn. Arts correspondent Nick Ahad looks at what the region has to offer dance fans.
YORKSHIRE, in case you didn’t know, is something of a big name in dance.
Our county is increasingly gaining a reputation for the creation and curation of some genuinely exceptional dance. Northern Ballet, Phoenix Dance and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance are perhaps the tentpoles around which the reputation of dance has been built, but there are many others who are helping to lead the way. Not least of all the others is Yorkshire Dance, an organisation which sits at the heart of Leeds, but whose influence ripples out across the county.
Reflecting this important role, the Arts Council provided extra funding recently to allow Yorkshire Dance to work with Leeds University to create a website that will allow audience members to see works in the process of being created – and to get involved in the creation, by influencing the artists.
Given money through the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, it is hoped that the new website will continue the work of convincing more people to become involved with dance in the region.
The idea of being involved in the creation of a dance piece, while something that will appeal to some audience members, will not appeal to all – but Yorkshire Dance has all bases covered.
As well as developing artists and launching the website, the organisation has been at the forefront of bringing dance to the region, as well as creating it, for over two decades.
Yorkshire Dance has, in recent years, published a brochure that pulls together all the dance shows across the region. This autumn’s brochure is a rather bumper edition.
Antony Dunn, spokesperson for Yorkshire Dance, said: “From now until Christmas, in venues across Yorkshire, there are well over 100 performances by professional dance companies – which means you could be watching a dance performance almost every night until the new year.
“We believe Leeds is the dance capital of the North – the city is home to Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern Ballet, both of which are renowned across the world, and to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, England’s only dance conservatoire outside London, where the Riley Theatre hosts an extraordinary range of touring performances from around the globe.”
“One of our jobs is to champion the companies, choreographers, dancers and venues which make the Yorkshire region such a rich environment for dance. Publishing the brochure allows us to collaborate with the rest of the dance world to show off all that Yorkshire has to offer – from traditional Indian dance at Kala Sangam in Bradford, to hip hop dance in Barnsley and lavish ballet performances at Sheffield Lyceum, and all stops in between.
“We’re very fortunate to have so many venues, in every part of Yorkshire, doggedly determined to present dance of every kind, from every corner of the world, to our local audience, and this brochure is a good way to salute the wonderful work that they do.”
One of the venues hosting contemporary dance – of a seriously impressive nature – is Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre.
Under the leadership of Adam Renton, the theatre has made a commitment to bringing dance to the city over the past decade.
Next week it will host New York-based company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, which is touring the UK for the first time.
The company is presenting a characteristically innovative triple bill of works including two UK premieres. Indigo Rose, created by acclaimed Czech choreographer Jiri Kylián, opens the programme with a showcase for the company’s talented ensemble.
DANCE DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Cedar Lake, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, October 15 and 16, 01274 432000.
A Christmas Carol by Northern Ballet, Sheffield Lyceum (November 5-9) and Bradford Alhambra (November 13-16).
Cinderella by Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre, December and January.
Scottish Dance Theatre’s Innocence, William Blake- inspired performance for children, Riley Theatre, Leeds, November 8.
Departures: Mixed programme including a performance by Leeds’s Mad Dogs Theatre of acclaimed work Missing, Riley Theatre Leeds, December 7.
Yorkshire Dance: www.yorkshiredance.com