Posted on August 17, 2016
On October 9, a dazzling array of dancers take to the Novello Theatre in London’s West End to raise money for the UK’s dance industry support body. One Dance UK’s Together for Dance gala is directed by former Royal Ballet principal Mara Galeazzi and features a diverse range of performances, from contemporary to street dance and South East Asian.
“It’s hard to express how exciting it will be,” says Galeazzi. “I wanted a programme that would represent the wide spread of dance across the UK. There’s classical ballet from The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet and contemporary from the BalletBoyz, Company Wayne McGregor and New Adventures, plus hip hop, musical theatre, singing and even African drumming. We’ve also got Impact Youth and Urdang Academy representing young people.
“Galas usually focus on just one dance genre, so this is a rare opportunity to see so many different styles in one night. There’s a real variety that both reflects One Dance UK’s work and shows what makes the UK’s dance sector great. There’s so much on stage – I’m just not sure how we’re going to fit it in!”
Performers are scheduled to include leading names such as Gary Avis, Zenaida Yanowsky, Namron, Tommy Franzén, Xena Gusthart, Jaivant Patel and Sonia Sabri, with the full programme to be announced later this month. Galeazzi herself will also be making a very welcome return to the stage.
“I’ve got a big job with directing, but I couldn’t help wanting to support the cause even further by dancing myself,” she laughs. “One Dance UK is a fantastic organisation doing a wonderful job to support the dance industry.
“It’s actually been really easy getting people involved – everyone I’ve asked has said an immediate yes. These are all very busy people who are travelling the world, and they’re giving up their free time to help One Dance UK. There are so many people working behind the scenes too – everyone has been really keen to help this vital cause.”
One person who’s working hard in the background is Jim Fletcher, One Dance UK’s marketing and communications manager, who is producing the gala in his spare time. “As I neared the 30th anniversary of my professional life in dance, I wanted to tip my hat to the companies and people who have played a role on my journey,” he says. “Working towards this brilliant gala at the Novello – arguably the most beautiful theatre in the West End – feels like a way of saying thank you to the dance sector for a wonderfully fulfilling career.”
One Dance UK was formed in April 2016 from the merger of four leading dance organisations – Dance UK, the Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, the National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England. The organisation now supports more than 40,000 people working in the UK dance sector, from children dancing in and outside school to professional artists, dance teachers, choreographers, directors and medical professionals.
Funds raised will go towards projects including: performance and development opportunities for children and young people; research into and education in injury prevention and psychological wellbeing; professional development and resources for teachers; free treatment clinics for dancers; mentoring and artist development; and political advocacy, ensuring dance remains on the school curriculum and is adequately funded.
Galeazzi continues: “I want to tell everyone to come along because it’s such an important thing to fundraise for. My daughter is only four years old and she dances every morning; I don’t push her – she just dances! Dance is such an amazing universal language.
“Keeping the dance industry strong is essential. To do that, we need to give a lot of support and we also need to think about the future and help young people become the next generation of dancers and dance professionals. It’s ultimately about making great art, whether you take part in it or watch it. We all love dance and want to enjoy as much as possible. One Dance UK is doing so much to develop the UK’s dance sector and enable it to flourish.”
Considering the calibre of performers and diversity of repertoire, the gala is also likely to have an equally star-studded and diverse audience. “This event will really bring everyone together,” thinks Galeazzi. “It will be a wonderfully mixed audience and so an incredible opportunity to meet and chat to other dance supporters, artists and professionals. I just can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to be there!”
Tickets for One Dance UK’s Together for Dance gala start at £20 and are available from the Novello Theatre Box Office at bit.ly/TogetherForDance or by calling 0844 482 5172.
Photograph of Mara Galeazzi by TIM PODESTA.