Darcey Bussell and the Mayor of London launch Big Dance 2014

02 July 2014

Big Dance Special Ambassador, Darcey Bussell, and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, launched Big Dance 2014 today, Wednesday 2 July, at City Hall in London, with a warm up for this year’s Big Dance, running from 5 – 13 July.

Big Dance, founded in 2006, is now the world’s largest celebration of dance and dancing, with literally hundreds of dance events across England and this year in Scotland and Australia, in a special Commonwealth edition. The Big Commonwealth Dance, entitled Beats for Peace, specially created for the Festival by the internationally acclaimed choreographer Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, will be one of the highlights of Big Dance Weekend, 12 and 13 July.

The Big Commonwealth Dance will performed by 6,000 dancers linked to a global audiences through film and broadcast from London’s Trafalgar Square, outside Sydney Opera House and Buchanan Street, Glasgow, as part of Get Scotland Dancing and the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme and Sydney Dance Company's 45th anniversary programme.

With the participation of the Big Dance Hubs and the Foundation for Community Dance, the Big Dance Weekend will spread right across England with mass performances and outdoor events. These will include: Bridlington Beach (choreographer: Susanne Thomas); Old Market Square, Nottingham (choreography: Jeanefer Jean-Charles); Birmingham Markets (choreography: David McKenna); Corn Exchange, Ipswich (choreography: Arthur Pita); the streets of Liverpool (choreography: Willi Dorner); Northumberland Street Newcastle (choreography: Nev Campbell); the Mayor’s Newham Show, East Ham, London (choreography: Natasha Gilmore); Southbank Centre Garden, London (choreography: Siobhan Davies Studios); and Spa Fields Park, London (choreography: Wayne McGregor|Random Dance).

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'I am delighted to support Big Dance, which has become an international dance phenomenon. More than 68,000 people in 24 countries have already been showing their moves and with events across the capital, the UK and globally, 2014 promises to be another exciting year for the largest celebration of dance in the world.'

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City's support would help the Sydney arts community showcase its skill on the world stage. 'The Big Dance project is a wonderful opportunity to expand the reach and impact of dance in a way that will involve our community and secure national and international exposure for Sydney and dance in Australia. 'In 2012, millions of people participated in the Big Dance project across the UK, India, Lebanon and Brazil, so this is a real opportunity to boost Sydney’s global reputation as a cultural and events destination,' the Lord Mayor said.

Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company, said, ‘It’s an honour to be invited to create the choreography for this incredible international event,’ says Bonachela, which has been previously choreographed. ‘Big Dance is an opportunity to share the joy of dance with the wider community. I just love to dance and I believe everyone can have that feeling, at whatever age. You don’t need to be a dancer to dance!’

The Big Dance Bus and Big Dance Pop Up Cinema will tour locations across the UK bringing a portable dance floor, inflatable screen, workshops and movies with an explosion of dance styles to every part of the community. Local youth dance groups and companies will be able to participate in free dance workshops and performance throughout London in the Big Dance Youth Platforms. A series of new films, the Big Dance Shorts, jointly funded by the British Council and Channel 4 in association with BAFTA, will be screened during Big Dance Week.

Jacqueline Rose, Big Dance Director, said: 'We are proud of the sustained support that Big Dance has provided over the last nine years to communities to get involved in dance of all kinds. Big Dance began in London in 2006 with the support of the Mayor. We are grateful to our partners, this country’s leading dance and community organisations, who have worked with us all the way through, to date reaching over 9 million people through the programme. This year, the Arts Councils, Creative Scotland, Get Scotland Dancing and the British Council’s global Schools Online programme are behind us for the XX Commonwealth edition of Big Dance. With their continued support we are aiming towards a collaboration for Rio 2016, marking ten years of Big Dance.'

www.bigdance.org.uk

Notes to editors

1. Big Dance is a biennial festival of dance and dancing led by the Mayor of London, the Foundation for Community Dance and a network of Big Dance Hubs. Big Dance 2012 was the UK’s largest ever celebration of dance as part of the London 2012 Festival. The Big Dance Weekend- 12-13 July 2014 - the finale of the 2014 festival includes exceptional performances and events by a range of international and UK choreographers in iconic public spaces. Big Dance is delivered through the England's leading dance organisations: Dance City, Pavilion Dance South West, Dance4, DanceEast, Dancefest, East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Sadler's Wells, Siobhan Davies Dance, South East Dance and Yorkshire Dance. www.bigdance.org.uk

2. The Foundation for Community Dance creates and develops opportunities for people to experience dance in all its diversity. Its vision is of a world where dance makes a positive difference; its mission is to make engagement with dance important and relevant to individuals, communities and society. The Foundation works across the UK and internationally with, and on behalf of, artists, organisations and teachers involved in leading, delivering or supporting opportunities for people to participate in dance. It promotes life-long engagement in dance, excellence in artistic practice, and places inclusion, equality and diversity at the heart of its work – believing that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in dance in the way that’s right for them. www.communitydance.org.uk.

3. The Get Scotland Dancing aims to encourage more people to get active and participate in dance. The 2014 Commonwealth Games provides an unparalleled opportunity to raise the profile of dance as a creative, participative and physical artform. In support of this Scottish Government policy, Creative Scotland has committed £1.5 million across a four-year period, towards the creation of this inclusive celebration of dance across Scotland. For more information on Get Scotland Dancing visit www.getscotlanddancing.org. Follow @GetDancin and www.facebook.com/GetScotlandDancing

4. The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a national celebration. Culture 2014 will showcase dance, theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and much more in the run up to and after the Commonwealth Games, with Festival 2014 transforming the Host City at Games time. The Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life, and Creative Scotland through National Lottery Funding. www.glasgow2014.com/culture

5. The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations set up to create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. The organisation works in more than 100 countries and the 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes. The organisation is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m. The rest is earned from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world. For further information please visit: www.britishcouncil.org.

6. Rafael Bonachela, born in Barcelona where he began his early dance training. In 1992, he joined the legendary Rambert Dance Company remaining as a dancer and Associate Choreographer until 2006 at which time he successfully established the Bonachela Dance Company to concentrate on his choreographic career. In 2008, Rafael Bonachela premiered his first full-length production for Sydney Dance Company. Less than six months later, he was appointed Artistic Director making headlines around the dance world. Rafael Bonachela’s internationally recognised talent has seen him work not only with contemporary dance at the highest level but also with artists from popular culture, such as Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner. Such collaborative efforts reflect the inspiration he finds and utilises from culture today. Rafael was named winner of the dance category for The Monthly’s 2013 Arts Awards and listed as one of the (sydney) magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2012 for his efforts to popularise dance since taking on the job of Artistic Director with Sydney Dance Company and as curator of Australia’s international festival of contemporary dance, Spring Dance at the Sydney Opera House. Rafael was named in the 2012 Dance Australia Critics Survey for the ‘Most Outstanding Choreographer’ and ‘Best New Work’ for 2 One Another. This work won the ‘Best Ensemble’ Award in the 2012 Green Room Awards and the 2013 Australian Dance Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Choreography’ and ‘Outstanding Performance by a Company’.

7. Sydney Dance Company is Australia’s leading contemporary dance company, employing a full-time ensemble of sixteen dancers from around Australia and overseas, led by Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela. In 2014, the Company celebrates its 45th year with three premiere seasons and an extensive touring programme, taking in five of the country’s capitals, in addition to regional centres across Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales. For more information go to www.sydneydancecompany.com.

8. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Media Enquiries: Jane Quinn, Bolton & Quinn + 44 (0)20 7221 5000 +44 (0) 7771 858 728 [email protected]

Ben McKnight, Senior Press Officer, Mayor of London +44 (0)20 7983 4071 +44 (0) 7881501920 [email protected]

Chris Stenton, Executive Director, the Foundation for Community Dance +44 (0) 116 25333453 +44 (0) 7816752330 [email protected]

Janet Glover, Publicist, Sydney Dance Company 0412 601 816 [email protected]