Where dance and tech collide

28 Feb 2024

Elise Phillips's work clearly demonstrates that technology can enhance the health and wellbeing impacts of dance work with neurologically disabled people.

Creative exchange: Dancing with MS

Dancers facing a mirror in the Clore Studio
13 Feb 2024

Continuing our series on the theme of arts, health and wellbeing, Ruby Wolk shares the success of a Royal Opera House Creative Exchange project in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Movement for wellbeing

Image shows two people seated, one in a wheelchair, touching hands
05 Feb 2024

Taking part in physical activity has proven health benefits but it remains elusive for many. Here Amy Knowles shares an innovative approach to engaging adults in moving more. 

Training the next generation: filming performance bootcamp

31 Aug 2022

Natalie Woolman explains how a bootcamp to develop a talent pipeline for the multicamera teams of the future will address a serious gap in skills training.

Royal Opera House announces name change

Exterior view of Royal Ballet and Opera
30 Apr 2024

Change of name to the Royal Ballet and Opera forms part of a series of measures designed to increase income for the organisation in the face of a decline in public subsidy levels.

Ballet supports children with arthritis

24 Apr 2024

Ballet Cymru is offering support to children and young people living with juvenile arthritis as part of a creative collaboration launched with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, funded by Arts Council Wales.

Dr Joanne May, a consultant at the Children's Hospital for Wales, who initiated the Dance to Move partnership, said: "We aim to deliver holistic care, but time in clinics is limited, which often means the focus is on condition management and treatment.

"Early on, we recognised that creative interventions would benefit children not only because dance elements would support movement, but also because they provided an opportunity to build confidence and support the wellbeing of children and their families."

The programme provides an immersive experience for children and families by offering dance, drawing, costume design and storytelling.

Movement 'improves classroom learning for children'

Children taking part in movement-based education
16 Apr 2024

Research led by a dance company found keeping pupils active in the classroom improved their maths and English learning.

Protesters occupy Barbican

Protesters inside the Barbican Centre
18 Mar 2024

'Guerilla' festival of Palestinian art and culture staged by protesters inside London's Barbican Centre.

A new kind of cultural destination

Auditorium section - architect image
12 Mar 2024

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance. Eimear Hanratty explains how O’Donnell+Tuomey architects went about ensuring its new building, Sadler’s Wells East, would make dance accessible to all.

Pressures on freelance mothers in dance 'at critical point'

A female dancer leaping through the air
29 Feb 2024

Concerns raised over female dancers returning to work too soon after giving birth, risking physical exhaustion and injury.

Northern Ballet confirms switch to recorded music

Northern Ballet's headquarters in Leeds
12 Feb 2024

The Musicians' Union 'rejects' Northern Ballet's decision to proceed with cutting the Sinfonia for some touring performances in 2024, labelling the move 'unacceptable'. 

Royal Ballet School announces regional training hub

Child dancers standing in line holding a barre
29 Jan 2024

Charity says it hopes to open more training hubs across the UK as part of efforts to improve access to dance and grow commercial revenue.

Dance not taught at one in three primary schools

19 Dec 2023

A third of UK primary schools are not teaching dance, despite it being part of the National Curriculum, a report has found.

Ofsted’s latest subject report on PE also found that in two-thirds of the schools, dance is not taught to all pupils or that the dance content is “not well organised”. 

In its recommendations, the regulator advised schools to include “carefully sequenced and taught” dance lessons in both primary and secondary schools.

Eve Murphy, Founder and CEO of Dance to School, said: “Dance is a statutory requirement of the National Curriculum at both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, yet a worrying proportion of primary school teachers identify dance as an area for development in their school."

A survey conducted by Dance to School has found that 83 per cent of teachers lack the confidence, subject knowledge, and resources to deliver dance as part of the curriculum.

“We know from research that dance is linked to and can impact wider cross-curricular themes, as well as helping children to build confidence, creativity, and relationships," said Murphy.

"I see some incredible examples of dance in practice and the joy it brings to children. However, in those schools that aren’t teaching dance, it’s a negative spiral with teacher confidence continuing to waver.”

Theatre and dance projects get £2m to tour Scotland

04 Dec 2023

A total of 14 theatre and dance projects have received funding to tour communities across Scotland.

Among those receiving a share of £2m National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance are Dogstar Theatre Company, based in the Scottish Highlands around Inverness, and Lyth Arts Centre, Scotland’s most northerly mainland arts centre based in Caithness.

Creative Scotland said the funding will enable a wide range of new and award-winning productions, such as modern adaptations of classic works, autobiographical pieces, musicals, physical theatre and spoken word performances, to visit small, mid and large-scale venues across 2024 and 2025. 

Paul Burns, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing recipients of the seventh round of funding to support makers and programmers of some of Scotland’s best theatre and dance. 

"Featuring new and familiar names, this stellar line-up of shows is ready to hit the road and weave their magic with first-time and seasoned audiences in a whole host of settings.”  

Unions protest live music cuts at Northern Ballet

10 Nov 2023

The Musicians' Union (MU) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) will participate in a joint demonstration against proposed cuts to live music accompanying Northern Ballet's touring productions.

The General Secretaries of both unions will protest outside Newcastle Theatre Royal from 6.30 pm today (10 November) alongside musicians performing in the company's current production of Beauty and the Beast.

The rally marks an escalation of action by the unions, who are calling for Northern Ballet to reconsider its decision to replace its live orchestra with pre-recorded music for some performances to save money.

Last month, the Leeds-based company announced it had entered into “emergency discussions” with its core funder, Arts Council England, to “reassess the amount of live music” accompanying its touring productions from April 2024 onward.
The MU and TUC say the decision puts the livelihoods of musicians in the orchestra at risk and is symptomatic of a "lack of funding in the arts in the North".

Naomi Pohl of the MU said: "Musicians and the magic they bring to live performances cannot be replaced by recordings without a great loss to the art form. We are protesting not just for the musicians and their families but for everyone who believes in the power of live music." 
TUC Northern Regional Secretary Liz Blackshaw added: "The arts are a cornerstone of our society, and live music is essential to the fabric of performing arts. We stand with the Musicians’ Union in demanding a stop to this short-sighted cultural vandalism.

"We must protect our cultural assets and the professionals who dedicate their lives to enriching ours." 

Bradford to benefit from Royal Opera House collaboration

02 Nov 2023

The Royal Opera House has announced a three-year programme of work in Bradford ahead of its tenure as City of Culture in 2025.

Beginning with a Christmas concert at Bradford Cathedral in December, the Covent Garden-based company will partner with organisations in West Yorkshire to provide a range of events, performances and activities for young people and local communities.

Working with schools across the region, the Royal Opera House will bring some of its existing educational initiatives to the city, including Create & Sing, Create & Dance, and Create & Design programmes, offering students and teachers free resources, workshops and shows.
It will also roll out its talent development program for aspiring ballet dancers, Chance to Dance, to local primary and dance schools. 

The Royal Opera House is the second Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation to announce a cultural collaboration this week after the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra unveiled a three-year programme of concerts, community events and educational activities in the Cumbrian port of Barrow-in-Furness.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “We believe the arts have the capacity to change lives, and I hope that this partnership and the many events, performances and activities that come out of it, alongside the work we will be doing with teachers and schools across the region, will inspire imaginations across this great city over the many years ahead.”

Ballet company resurrected after 30 years

Ballet dancers Alvaro Madrigal Arenilla and Ayca Anil
30 Oct 2023

Once the resident company at Sadler's Wells, London City Ballet has been shuttered since 1996, but thanks to private investment, the company will make a return to UK and international stages next year.

Dance as a catalyst for change?

Dance workship
24 Oct 2023

In devising a new Master’s degree in dance, Jo Parkes’s aim has been to interrogate the artform - not as a subject to be studied - but as a form of activism.

Greenwich Dance to close at the end of the year

23 Oct 2023

Decision to wind down the organisation follows the loss of regular local authority funding and an unsuccessful application to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Campaign to keep Northern Ballet’s music live

09 Oct 2023

Musicians from the Northern Ballet Sinfonia have begun campaigning against a proposal to replace them with recordings for some touring work.

Last week, it emerged Northern Ballet is in negotiations to replace its live orchestra with pre-recorded music for some performances in cost-saving efforts as it faces “serious financial trouble”.

In response, Musicians Union (MU) members leafletted outside the ballet’s performances of Beauty and the Beast in Nottingham last week.

An online petition was launched, which currently has over 6,200 signatures, calling on Arts Council England and Northern Ballet to keep the ballet’s music live.

The petition, created by musicians of the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, says orchestra members are “already on freelance contracts”, with some “using foodbanks to survive”.

It continues: “Arts Council England and Northern Ballet: we and the undersigned call on you to get round the table and agree a realistic funding package that will protect our jobs and keep Northern Ballet live”.


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