Latitude takeover

Latitude Festival has announced the line up for its twelfth edition, which takes place from 13–16 July in the grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk. Latitude Festival welcomes some of the biggest names in dance and performance, celebrating BalletBoyz on the Waterfront Stage in addition to Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, BBC Young Dancer 2017 finalists and the National Youth Dance Company.

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The Victorian Dance Festival

The Victorian Dance Festival, Australia’s premier dance event, took place last month, and broke a World Record for the most dancers en pointe for one minute in one place. Over 4,000 dancers were in attendance for the weekend of dance classes from Australian and international dance leaders, and breaking the record were over 300 pointe dancers. The previous pointe record was set in Orlando, Florida on 22 May 2011, with 245 dancers. It was achieved by Dr. Phillips High School Dance Magnet, the Orlando Ballet and area dance schools (all USA) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

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Sadler’s Wells Family Weekend

Family Weekend, Sadler’s Wells’ annual two-day festival of family-friendly events, was back on Friday 14 & Saturday 15 April, taking over the theatre building and offering something for all ages with fun activities, arts & crafts and workshops. These complemented Aracaladanza’s Vuelos on the Sadler’s Wells stage, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s quest to make man fly. Suitable for ages five and over, Family Weekend continued to see the theatre transformed into a magical space for children and their families as an unmissable jam-packed day out.

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Sadler’s Wells older dance festival

Established in 2014, Sadler’s Wells’ Elixir Festival is a unique celebration of lifelong creativity, which returns this year from 23–27 June. The festival will celebrate older dancers with this inspirational festival, which features five days of performances, workshops and events throughout the theatre. It was set up to recognise the contribution that older artists make, dissolve assumptions about what older people can and want to do, shine a spotlight on the diversity of dance practice and question what is next for the art form.

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Norfolk & Norwich Festival – full programme

As the flagship arts event for the East of England, Norfolk & Norwich Festival showcases some of the world’s most renowned international artists alongside regional talent, drawing audiences from across the UK. The full 2017 programme was recently announced, including five world premieres and large-scale free outdoor events.

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Hull City of Culture 2017 programme

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, starting with Made in Hull, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.
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The Theatreland Trail

Theatre ticket organisation TKTS, and annual ticket project Kids Week, have teamed up in order to bring theatre lovers a fun Theatreland Trail. Touted as perfect to do with the family, with a group of friends or even on your own, the Theatreland Trail will take participants on a journey throughout London’s Theatreland, where you can meet famous playwrights, see a whole host of theatres and enjoy the sights and smells of the West End.

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Taking The Next Step II

CBBC is offering young dancers aged 9-15 from across the UK a special opportunity – to audition for the chance to be part of a television show, performing with the cast of the hugely successful series, The Next Step. In order to apply, after gaining parental permission, all dancers need to do is complete an application form and send in a video of their best dance moves. Dancers must be aged between 9 and 15 years old on 1 April 2017.

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Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella Dreams

Cinderella Dreams, which premiered on 20 February, was the culmination of a six month quest by Birmingham Royal Ballet to find the perfect fit for Cinderella’s jewelled slipper, in a production that brought to life big ballet aspirations of both young and old. The company searched the midlands area in order to stage this new production, which brought together talent from across the generations. In its aim to inspire and develop dancers from across the region, the production adapted David Bintley’s classic choreography to create a new and vibrant version of Cinderella.

Cinderella Dreams worked to showcase emerging talent from those aged eight to 76, working alongside dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet. Over 150 dancers from the age of eight took part in open auditions in September 2016, and a final cast of 65 was selected, to experience the intensive training, rehearsal and eventually performance of a classical ballet. The production was in front of a full audience at the Birmingham Hippodrome, a hugely rewarding outcome for all involved.

The project was developed with the Department for Learning at Birmingham Royal Ballet, under the eye of Project Manager Rebecca Brookes. As a result, Cinderella Dreams has been an inspirational project for all involved, from the youngest to oldest dancers part of the production. There was a huge demonstration of talent, involving those who may not have ever had the chance to be involved in a professional ballet production. Whilst not without its challenges, Cinderella Dreams was a dream come true for many of the dancers involved.

Cinderella Dreams was the perfect production for all those who aspire to dance on the big stage; the benefits of dance are unbounded and this production was no different. As a charming and magnificent showcase, it demonstrated the breadth of dance talent across the area.

How to… improve your pirouettes

With a multitude of dance events and exhibitions taking place up and down the country this year, there is no end to the fun dancers can have attending and seeing what is on offer, be it shopping, browsing dance courses or taking part in pop-up classes.

This year Dance Direct will be present at the Can You Dance? conventions, taking place in a number of cities throughout 2017. It is the biggest touring dance convention in the UK and will be visiting 10 different venues this year. There will be the opportunity to shop the great range Dance Direct stocks, but most exciting is the chance to win big in a pirouette competition! Show us how many pirouettes you can do at our stand, or post it on social media and tag @dancedirect, to be in with a chance of winning a Dance Direct goodie bag, full of lots of freebies!

It’s never too late to start practising: pirouettes are not always a dancers’ favourite part of class, but with a few tweaks you can drastically improve your technique and ensure you are spinning across the studio.

Often pirouettes can go slightly AWOL if a dancer does not have the strength to maintain their turns. A strong relevé onto demi-pointe and using the core to control your centre of gravity can do wonders for the number of turns you can achieve, and your recovery too. Starting at the barre before moving into the centre, practice snatching your working leg onto demi-pointe, and your other leg to retiré. With strength running through your arms too you’ll create a solid base for your turns.

Perhaps the most vital part of succeeding in your pirouettes is the use of your head, and spotting using a point in space ahead of you. Not only does this help you achieve multiple turns by the body following, but it also helps to prevent dizziness – you can then turn some more! Before you turn, decide how many pirouettes you will achieve. If you need a double pirouette then don’t change your mind halfway through – commit to your turns and use your head to whip round twice.

Keep your head up and your shoulders back, and you’ll sail round. Looking at the floor will only mean you will end up down there, and unless it is choreographed, it’s best to stay standing!