Over 6,500 young people across the country set to participate

Over 6,500 young people aged 11-18 from schools and colleges across the country are preparing to take to the stage and manage behind the scenes as the heats of the popular Dance Live! contest presented by The Guildhall Trust commence at Portsmouth Guildhall from Tuesday 30th January.

Embracing an ever-evolving digital world and how this is changing the face of modern performance, Dance Live! sees those in KS2-4 and Further Education compete with choreographed routines to the backdrop of a giant digital screen with pupils showcasing a range of skills from dance, performance and off-stage technical skills to creative design.

With a focus on raising aspirations, strengthening health and wellbeing and developing skills for creative career choices, Dance Live! also delivers a range of supportive workshop opportunities for schools. This year the Dance Live! team has delivered over 20 workshop days in person and over 30 online group support sessions.

In the 5 years since its creation, Dance Live! has proven to be a point of stability for young people that has provided a safe haven, facilitated continuous engagement with education, developed new skills and nurtured social development, in essence it has been a propeller of mental well-being and a cultivator of resilience.

Following 9 days of heats in Portsmouth, Dance Live! will take to the road with further heats taking place in Guildford, High Wycombe, Poole and Blackpool before a grand final takes place back in Portsmouth in May.

The nationwide tour is made possible through public funding from Arts Council England. A National Lottery Project Grant of £29,938 will enable the Dance Live! team to replicate the success of Portsmouth-based events; developing community partnerships, engaging local practitioners and providing support to children and young people. In the classroom, Dance Live! will embed creative skills and deliver high quality learning experiences – leaving a legacy of engagement between pupils, families, schools and arts venues. The grant also supports the organisation’s commitment to better inclusivity and access, through staff training and judging resources.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, said, “We are proud to have awarded a National Lottery Project Grant to The Guildhall Trust in Portsmouth – a place of strategic importance to the Arts Council. Thanks to lottery players, this year Dance Live! will empower more children and young people than ever to experience the joy of movement. It’s great to see a project born in the South West provide access to talent development opportunities all over the country.”

Producer of Dance Live! Cherry Lambert said, “It is so wonderful to see the growth of Dance Live! with many new schools and colleges participating in 2024 as well as a large number that return each year. I am always astounded, as we watch the young people participating to see how they have grown in confidence, from the time we deliver workshops in the autumn term to the time of the heats. We are delighted to be adding Blackpool to our list of tour destinations and I’m excited to see how Dance Live! continues to develop in the future!”

Schools and colleges who are not currently participating in Dance Live! but keen to find out more, are able to access free tickets to attend the heats, as are businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities. Please get in touch at dancelive@portsmouthguildhall.org.uk or call 023 9387 0196.

Further information is available at: www.dancelive.co.uk

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