News: Four become One Dance UK

Monday 7 December 2015 by Carmel Smith

One Dance launch, 7 December 2015. Photo: Elliott Franks

One Dance UK – the result of the merger of Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England – was launched this evening at an event at the Royal Society of Medicine attended by 450 dance professionals and live streamed online.

The formation of the new industry body for the dance sector has been funded by Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It will provides services for young people dancing, teachers and training institutions, as well as for professional dancers, choreographers, companies and producers. The aim is to create a single, ‘joined up’, more powerful voice for dance, a central knowledge hub, professional development opportunities and performance platforms to nurture talent, and strategic initiatives that will benefit the sector.

At the launch event a wide range of well-known people from the dance world and beyond spoke backing the initiaitve, including Arlene Phillips (who will become a Patron); Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, and Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Althea Efunshile.

The launch included presentations on some of the key programmes that One Dance UK will deliver in its first three years. The national youth dance festival – U.Dance – will be expanded and presented at The Lowry, Salford in July 2016; over £145,000 will be invested in leadership development benefiting dancers and teachers; a national conference for choreographers will take place in 2016; there will be professional development opportunities and performance platforms for artists working in dance of the African diaspora – and a new exhibition and digital platform celebrating the last 70 years of history of British dance will be launched in 2018.

The name One Dance UK was selected following extensive stakeholder, industry and staff consultation. It reflects the UK-wide reach of the new organisation, underlines the unity of its voice, and celebrates the synergy that more than 130 years of combined experience will bring to the future of dance in the UK.

Harlequin Dance Floors, who have given long term support to Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme and National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science since 2013, will become the Principal Sponsor of One Dance UK.

It was also announced that One Dance UK will eventually be moving out of London – possibly to Birmingham or Leeds.

Photo: Elliott Franks

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