Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Spotlight on Region's Dancers; DANCE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Spotlight on Region's Dancers; DANCE

Article excerpt

Some significant steps are being taken as the North East builds its reputation for dance. David Whetstone reports Two young North East dance companies are to perform at the UK's leading showcase for the art form and that, everyone agrees, is very good news.

Anthony Baker, artistic director of Dance City, says a key role of his organisation is "nurturing and developing a thriving dance ecology in Newcastle and the wider North East". This entails ensuring that there are opportunities in the region for young dance graduates to make a living out of what they have studied. It means growing an audience and, simultaneously, a profile for dance in the region. The MBE awarded to Liv Lorent, dedicated and highly-regarded founder of Newcastle-based balletLORENT, was a recent step in this direction.

There have been others. In November, Dance City announced that four young dancers were among the 30 nationwide whose auditions had earned them a coveted place in the National Youth Dance Company.

They are Hannah Mattinson, 17, from Richmond, Jordan McGowan, 18, from Blyth, Ryan Taylor, 17, from Consett, and Arran Green, also 17, from Hexham.

Dance City has also announced that it has joined forces with Teesside University to create a new MA course in dance professional practice - the only one in the region aimed at dance professionals who wish to develop their skills.

In addition to all this, the Newcastle-based dance agency has announced five new commissions, two of them going to North East choreographers Nadia Iftkhar and Kate Sagovsky whose work will be performed later in the year.

First, though, comes the appearance of those two fledgling dance companies at British Dance Edition, a biennial event being held this year from January 30 to February 2 in Edinburgh.

They are called Southpaw Dance Company and Mysteryskin and their founders - Robby Graham and Roberta Jean respectively - are choreographic associate artists at Dance City, meaning they are in receipt of professional support to develop their careers.

British Dance Edition is a big deal. Primarily it's a gathering of dance movers and shakers from Britain and overseas. …

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