London's biggest dance festival returns to Kingston this spring

By Nub News Reporter

15th Mar 2023 | Local News

Kingston is set to play host to London's biggest dance festival this spring as DanceWest Fest returns to the borough for the first time since 2018 (Credit: DanceWest)
Kingston is set to play host to London's biggest dance festival this spring as DanceWest Fest returns to the borough for the first time since 2018 (Credit: DanceWest)

Kingston is set to play host to London's biggest dance festival this spring as DanceWest Fest, formerly Ignition Dance Festival, returns to the borough for the first time since 2018.

DanceWest, is an independent charity that has been providing inclusive dance programmes since 2014 aiming to offer a creative response to issues of poor health, socio-economic disadvantages and unequal access to physical activity.

The organisations' festival works to support the creation of new choreography and the development of artists at every stage of their career.

This year's DanceWest Fest will see the event welcome four new commissions from world renowned artists Lea Anderson, Jamaal Burkma, Gerrard Martin and James Wilton Dance. It will also play host to emerging artist commissions from Emma Skyum Poulsen and Dani Harris Walters and include performances from 60 dance groups and schools.

Opening at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith from the 19 - 20 May 2023, the festival will begin with an evening of new commissions from some of the dance world's leading creative voices before making the trip to Kingston's Rose Theatre for the remaining festival celebration on June 17 2023.

Independent dance artist and co-founder of the iconic dance companies The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs, Lea Anderson MBE presents a new work that reunites her with two of the original members of The Cholmondeleys.

Throughout her 40-year career Lea has created over 100 works and collaborated with a range of designers, filmmakers, and artists - from Academy Award winning designer Sandy Powell to acclaimed director Todd Haynes on Velvet Goldmine - creating pioneering work in nontheatrical spaces. 

Presenting a piece for an ensemble of dancers, Jamaal Burkmar explores static movement in his latest creation. Upon graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Jamaal received Matthew Bourne's New Adventures Choreography Award and has gone on to create works for companies including Phoenix Dance Theatre, Motionhouse and Verve.

Dance artist Gerrard Martin's new work looks at the tenderness, intersectionality, and vulnerability of Black men. Having founded Gerrard Martin Dance in 2011 he has become known for creating emotive, socially relevant works that have been presented at The Place, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery.

Gerrard has also worked as assistant choreographer on English National Opera's Olivier Award winning production Porgy & Bess and One Love: The Bob Marley Musical.

Completing the programme is James Wilton Dance who explores what is left behind when we are gone through folklore, ritual, and tradition.

James Wilton Dance has toured extensively in the UK and internationally, winning numerous awards. Alongside works for their own company, James and Sarah Jane Taylor have created works for Scottish Dance Theatre, Konzert Theater Bern and ballet companies across Germany and Austria.

The festival will then make its way to Kingston as The Rose Theatre welcomes DanceWest Fest's two new commissions from contemporary dance artist Emma Skyum Poulsen and hip hop dance artist Dani Harris Walters.

The Rose will also host 60 dance groups and schools with the community dance platform set to showcase a wide range of performers from all backgrounds, ages and abilities in a renowned theatre setting.

Rose Whitney-Fish, Chief Executive and Founder of DanceWest said: "I am thrilled of our festivals return under its new identity as DanceWest Fest. Since 2014 the festival has grown to provide a range of opportunities for highly regarded established choreographers, exciting emerging artists and community dance groups. We are hugely grateful to Kathryn and the team at Kingston council and to Arts Council England for supporting the development of new work."

DanceWest Fest was co-founded as Ignition Dance Festival in 2013 by Kathryn Woodvine (Kingston Council) and Rosie Whitney-Fish (DanceWest) to provide an opportunity for West and South West London audiences to enjoy dance locally and to provide commissioning support for established, emerging and community dancers.

For information on DanceWest Fest and the independent charity DanceWest, visit the link here.

Tickets for the 2023 festival will go on sale from March 31st and can be purchased from the Rose Theatre website.


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