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Leeds dance building wins Best Arts Project award

Posted on November 7, 2011


buildingphotobyjonathantaylorThe purpose-build headquarters of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre has won the National Lottery Award for Best Arts Project 2011. The award comes as the two companies celebrate a year in their new home.


The awards, which were announced in a ceremony broadcast live on BBC One, are chosen by public vote. The Leeds dance building was chosen from a shortlist of ten arts projects. Mark Skipper, Northern Ballet’s chief executive, said: “Our new powerhouse for inventive dance has transformed the lives of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre and the thousands of people who watch us and dance with us. We are extremely grateful for lottery funding and to everyone who supported us and voted for us.” Skipper attended the ceremony with Northern Ballet dancer Martha Leebolt, Phoenix Dance Theatre’s executive director Lesley Jackson and Phoenix dancer Azzura Ardovini.


The new building received £4 million of National Lottery funding through Arts Council England. The building officially opened in January 2011, when more than 2,500 people attended the opening celebrations. Since then, both companies have created new productions, which have toured around the UK. They have also provided professional dance training to more than 200 young people through their respective academies and welcomed thousands of people of all ages to classes and performances.


Photograph: Jonathan Taylor

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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