Cumbria’s biggest dance festival

Published on 21st February 2019
Published 21 February 2019

Cumbria’s biggest festival of dance will mark its 15th anniversary with a series of spectacular shows in Kendal, next month.

Since its inception in 2004, the Brewery Art’s Centre’s Dance Platform has seen thousands of young people from schools and dance groups across the region perform on stage and take part in workshops run by top professional dancers.

On 18 March, the centre will mark the event’s major milestone with Brewery 15, four days of celebratory performances including a specially commissioned new piece by professional dance company Aboutime.

Entitled Outside the Box, the performance explores the history of the Dance Platform in a storage space. The dancers open boxes containing themes and ideas that have been explored through the years such as Shakespeare, Billy Elliott, Africa, the Industrial Revolution, Flooding, the Circus and more! The boxes transform into trees, boats, lorries as well as providing the dancers with props, wigs and costume.

As part of the event, Aboutime, and dancers from the Brewery’s own youth dance team, also ran outreach workshops in local schools and more than 600 young people will showcase their new-found skills in a variety of styles over the four days.

‘The children love developing a piece to perform and enjoy adding their ideas for choreography and costumes. Having the chance to perform on stage at such a venue is exciting for the children and they work enthusiastically in preparation every year and always want to take part again the next year!’ St Oswalds Primary School.

Brewery Dance Development officer Emma Thomas said: “Dance Platform has grown into one of the biggest celebrations of dance in the north west and over the last 15 years, it has seen more than 10,000 young people from schools, colleges and special needs schools take to the stage.

“Dance Platform gives young people the unique opportunity to perform in a professional venue and is a great way to help them develop confidence, self-awareness and social skills. It is also fantastic fun!”

The Brewery’s Youth Dance programme has helped inspire many young people forge a career in professional dance, including Josh Hawkins, founder of Hawk Dance Company which has performed new work at venues across the UK.

Dance Platform runs from 18-21 March.

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