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British Dance Edition 2016 to Showcase UK Dance Sector

Scottish Dance Theatre. Photo: Brian Hartley 

For the first time in its 18-year history prestigious event in the international dance calendar and initiative of National Dance Network British Dance Edition is coming to Wales. Between 15 and 18 of March, over 750 artists, producers and presenters will descend on Cardiff and Newport to showcase and celebrate the British dance sector. In total 73 UK companies and independent artists, including 6 Scottish companies, will be presenting work, taking part in a trade show and pitching ideas to presenters from across the UK, Europe, Canada, USA, Africa, Russia and Asia. 

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said: “This event is another great example of how Wales’ performing arts organisations and creative industries are drawing global attention and taking centre stage. We want to establish Wales as an international centre of creative excellence and are committed to nurturing and further supporting environments from which more creative people, creative ideas and creative businesses can emerge and flourish. I am delighted that Wales has been chosen to host such a prestigious event and that our support has helped to make this possible.”

British Dance Edition Cymru 2016 is being led by Chapter and its creative producer programme Coreo Cymru, in partnership with Wales Millennium Centre, National Dance Company Wales and Newport Live. Generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government Major Events Unit, Arts Council of England and the National Lottery through the Creative Scotland Open Project Fund, it also includes partnerships with leading national organisations including British Council, One Dance UK and the Foundation for Community Dance – People Dancing.

Project Director, Carole Blade of Coreo Cymru said: “From the time we heard from National Dance Network that Wales had won the 2016 British Dance Edition bid, we have been carefully selecting and curating the programme to offer promoters a selection of high quality touring works. It has been a challenge narrowing down to the 36 artists and companies from such a vibrant, eclectic and vast field but we’re certain that, with the quality of dance we’re bringing to Wales, this Edition will leave a lasting legacy for the sector in Wales and the rest of the UK.”

Amongst the 36 companies and independent artists invited to perform by an international selection panel of experts, in a process spanning over 18 months, are 6 Wales based companies; National Dance Theatre Wales presenting, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Jo Fong, Gwyn Emberton Dance, Vertical Dance Kate Lawrence and Up & Over It. A further 11 companies have been invited to pitch their productions and ideas including Ballet Cymru and West Wales based artist Simon Whitehead.

David Alston, Arts Director, Arts Council of Wales said: “Wales will be extending its traditional warm welcome and embrace of delegates to British Dance Edition and hoping in the packed mix of the BDE days, they will have memorable dance experiences and encounters. Particularly we will be hoping that they go away with newly ignited ideas sparked by the Welsh dance scene. It’s been a long term ambition to host a showcase in Wales of this sort, selfishly to afford a platform and draw attention to talent and art characteristic of our contemporary culture. It’s been a major undertaking of the second phase of our Creative Producer initiative, Coreo Cymru and we are totally enthused by the partnerships and networks the team have created.”

National presentations of UK companies and artists is a key aim of the showcase and its diverse programme of works includes 16 Welsh companies, 7 Scottish companies, 2 from Northern Ireland and 49 companies from across England including North, midlands, South and West regions. Four Scottish companies and artists will perform (Scottish Dance Theatre, Joan Cleville Dance, Robbie Synge and Barrowland Ballet) while three more will take part in the trade-show (Room 2 Manoeuvre, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre and Indepen-dance). 

Anita Clark, Head of Dance at Creative Scotland said: “British Dance Edition is an important industry event bringing together a range of current and contemporary work by dance companies and choreographers working across the UK. Creative Scotland is delighted to support this event and the inclusion of companies and artists from Scotland (Scottish Dance Theatre, Robbie Synge, Joan Cleville Dance and Barrowland Ballet), giving them the opportunity to showcase work to leading venue and festival programmers from across the UK and internationally.”

Cate Canniffe, Director, Dance Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to be supporting British Dance Edition again this year, and are keen for artists to grasp the opportunity of presenting their work to a variety of international delegates, in the beautiful setting of Cardiff and Newport.  British Dance Edition is always a high point in the contemporary dance calendar, with some of the UK’s best artists and companies on display.  The event will extend opportunities for these artists to work more broadly in the UK and further afield.”

Bringing together key players in the industry today, the showcase will be opening up several performances to the public at The Riverfront, Newport and Wales Millennium Centre, offering a rare opportunity to see the latest work from some of the UK’s top dance companies.

Performances at The Riverfront included Gary Clarke Company on 16 March at 3pm, James Cousins Company and Aakash Odedra Company double bill on 16 March at 6pm and Gecko on 18 March at 3pm.

Wales Millennium Centre will be presenting two triple bills in the Donald Gordan Theatre including Scottish Dance Theatre, Russell Maliphant Company and Phoenix Dance Theatre on 16 March at 8pm and National Dance Company Wales, Candoco Dance Company and Hofesh Shechter Company on 17 March at 8pm. Tickets for the public shows can be booked through the venues.

Within the extensive showcase programme young audiences will be treated to three performances including a bouncy castle show at The Riverfront for invited local children and their guardians. One-day passes and sector gathering will be offered to local and UK based artists and producers providing them with opportunities to network with key players in the international dance industry.

An ambitious live streaming programme will provide viewers at home with opportunity to see 16 live performance companies, interviews with artists and presenters and behind the screens footage. The live streaming will be broadcast over the worldwide web on take place on 15 March from 7pm and 12pm 16 March link can be found on the website www.britishdanceedition.com along with further information about the programme and showcase.