The Foundation for Community Dance has been selected to receive an Exceptional Award of £344,780 from Arts Council England for The Big Dance Weekend, 12-13 July 2014 – an outstanding programme of specially commissioned dance performances and participation events that will animate and positively disrupt public spaces across England.

Commissioned by the Big Dance Hubs across England with the Foundation for Community Dance, these large-scale events will be created by professional choreographers and dance artists working with communities to provide opportunities for people to take part, watch spectacular dance up close and see unusual and iconic locations transformed by dance. The Big Dance Weekend is a highlight and the finale of Big Dance 2014, which runs for nine days from 5-13 July nationwide. Visit www.bigdance.org.uk for listings. Events include:

·       In Liverpool, MDI present We are the City, a moving installation and tapestry of Liverpool life, through the streets of Anfield and culminating in Stanley Park, created by choreographer Willi Dorner

·       Yorkshire Dance present Bodies on the Beach, a journey of 200 moving and dancing bodies in the striking landscape of Bridlington beach created by Susanne Thomas

·       In Nottingham’s Market Square and at the Corby Highland Gathering, Dance4 offer Live Bolero, a Torvill and Dean inspired mass performance created by Jeanefer Jean-Charles

·       Greenwich Dance present Through and Out: Skipping Extravaganza, a cross-over of dance and rope skipping devised by Jorge Crecis with an immersive audio soundtrack. Over 500 dance-skippers will unite in electrifying motion in Greenwich Park within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “The Exceptional Awards programme is an opportunity for us to recognise outstanding ideas of national importance. The Big Dance Weekend definitely falls into this category. It promises to be an exciting 48 hours of ambitious and entertaining events that give people all over the country the opportunity to experience dance in a way they haven’t done before. It will showcase world-class and emerging dancers and choreographers, as well as encouraging people from all walks of life and of all ages to take part in a host of different dance activities.”

Chris Stenton, Executive Director, Foundation for Community Dance, said: “Arts Council England’s support has enabled us to develop a diverse, large-scale programme of participatory dance, following on from the huge success of Big Dance 2012. With events taking place at over 30 locations across England, created by some of the most exciting and renowned international dance artists and companies from the UK and around the world, The Big Dance Weekend is an unmissable opportunity for people and communities to get involved in dance”.

Other events include: Sightseers at Bull Ring Markets in Birmingham, Telford Town Park, Malvern Carnival, Walsall Arboretum, FUSE Festival Lichfield, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Coventry city centre (choreography: David McKenna, with Dancefest); New Energy on Northumberland Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (choreography: Nev Campbell, with Dance City); The World’s Greatest Show, Ipswich (choreography: Arthur Pita, with DanceEast); Arts Party, Spa Fields Park, Islington (choreography: Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, with Sadler’s Wells); The River, East London (choreography: Natasha Gilmore, with East London Dance); The Giant’s Story with Libraries across South West England (choreography: Rosie Heafford of Second Hand Dance and 10 SW dance artists, with Pavilion Dance South West); Kinetic Echo – Our Dancing Selves, West London (choreography: Cameron McMillan, with English National Ballet); Big Dance in South East England (Reckless Sleepers, Protein Dance, Katie Green, Stopgap Dance Company, Loop Dance Company, Peut-être Theatre, Tavaziva Dance, with South East Dance) in Chatham, Woking, Oxford, Canterbury, Brighton and Guildford; and Routes to the River, a trail performance ending at the Southbank Centre Gardens (choreography: Henrietta Hale, with Siobhan Davies Dance).

A new outdoor film event – Big Commonwealth Dance: Beats for Peace – specially choreographed by Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, will be streamed from London’s Trafalgar Square, outside Sydney Opera House and from Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, as part of Get Scotland Dancing and the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. Other Big Dance events this year include Big Dance Shorts, the Big Dance Bus and a myriad of locally organised events.

Founded in 2006 by the Mayor of London, Big Dance is a biennial festival of dance and dancing led by the Mayor of London and the Foundation for Community Dance, and produced in partnership with a network of Big Dance Hubs. Big Dance 2014 builds on the success of Big Dance in 2012, when over 3,500 events took place reaching 5.6 million people. The Big Dance Hubs in England are: Dance4, DanceEast, Dancefest, Dance City, East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, MDI, Pavilion Dance South West, Sadler’s Wells, Siobhan Davies Dance, South East Dance and Yorkshire Dance. All of the Big Dance Hub partners are supported using public funding through Arts Council England.

www.communitydance.org.uk/bigdance  and www.bigdance.org.uk